Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bunratty Mills, Ireland

Bunratty Folk Park features two mills, both fed by the same small stream flowing out of the pond just above them.

The first to use the water power is the Vertical Mill. The name comes from the orientation of the water wheel. This mill has an undershot wheel, meaning the water pushes on the bottom of the wheel to turn it. As we approached the mill, we saw the chute sending the water to the other mill. It was interesting to the kids because a small waterfall (the drop is about an inch or two) caught their eyes and ears.

Vertical Mill

Behold! The power of water!

Inside the mill we saw the gear that changed the vertical motion into grain-grinding work.

Mill gears

Upstairs is the grain feeder that puts the coarse grain into the hole in the top stone, allowing the two stones to grind down the grain to a fine flour.

The millstone

A window from here let us see the pond that feeds water into the system. Downstairs, we could see the warning about the pond.

View of the pond

Beware! Deep water!

Down the path and into the woods is the Horizontal Mill. This mill is a recreation of one excavated in County Cork and runs with a horizontal water wheel at the bottom of the mill.

Horizontal Mill

The horizontal wheel

The entrance to the mill shows where the grain (most likely corn) would have been ground to flour.

Mill entrance

Inside the mill

L was interested in the pond that formed after the water flowed out of the mill. Several visitors had tossed pennies into the water. My pocket was full of one and two Euro coins, which we were not about to throw into the pond. L was satisfied with throwing rocks in, though mostly we found just pebbles. J joined in the fun. It was a pleasantly shady spot to spend a few moments enjoying the simple things in life.

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