The Skehana Pit

SCIENTIFIC analysis proves that anthracite coal  from the Skehana seam at Castlecomer, Co.  Kilkenny, is equal to the very best produced anywhere  in the world. Anthracite is produced in Ireland at present (circa -1940) from  four main seams, differing in character. The Skehana  seam is worked only by Castlecomer Collieries, Ltd. The four main characteristics of anthracite coal, as  judged by the user, are:

  • Ash-content,

  • Sulphur-content, 

  • Size

  • Heating power.

As it leaves the colliery, Skehana  coal cannot be surpassed in Ireland  or elsewhere for industrial and  domestic heating.


Skehana Pit 1908

Our School - "Holy Cross School" or "Firoda School" as it is better known is actually in the townsland of Skehana. It is known as Firoda School because the original school (pre-1962) was in the townsland of Firoda. The Skehana pit was just a few hundred yards from our school. The coal from that pit was the best coal in Europe and we are very proud of that fact. You could travel underground from Skehana to the mine at the "Deerpark" - a distance of about two miles "as the crow flies". Close to the Skehana pit -and it is still there today- was an air shaft for the Deerpark mine. This shaft was also an escape route for any miners that may have been cut off from the Deerpark mouth due to a rockfall or collapse.

Quotations from an advertising leaflet in the 1930's

  •  Coalmining has been continuously carried on by  Castlecomer Collieries -from 1638 to the present day - 1932

  • The Skehana seam is only 19" thick and the present  workings are 500 feet below ground.  

  • There are 475 employees, of whom 370 work under-  ground.   

  • The annual output is 100,000 tons.  

  • 59 electric motors of a combined horse-power of  1,464 are in use for hauling, pumping, coal -cutting,  coal conveying, drilling, ventilating, screening,  crushing and washing.  

  • Fresh-air is continuously circulated through the  mine at the rate of 14,500 cubic feet per minute,  for seven days each week, to enable the miners to  breathe comfortably and to remove noxious gases.  

  • Fifteen miles of steel haulage rope are in daily use.   

  • The water pumps move 500 gallons per minute,  seven days a week, equal to a weight of 22 tons of  water for each ton of coal.    

The Skehana Coal was so important that the owners of the mine - the "Wandesforde" family published a number of booklets or leaflets advertising the coal. These leaflets were very interesting. They described the different uses of coal, the different sizes, a scientific analyses of the coal and even instructions on how to light the fire. We borrowed some of these leaflets and have reproduced them in the following pages.

Irish Anthracite Coal -1932

Skehana Coal -1932


The Coal was dug from the heart of the earth!

Cooked dinners in Rayburns all over the world!

Interesting Photographs

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