Newmills Corn & Flax Mills, County Donegal

Newmills Corn & Flax Mills, County Donegal

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Newmills Corn and Flax Mills features one of the largest, still working, waterwheels in the country. The millrace is 1 km long and powers two separate millheels, one for grinding oats and barley and the other for flax.
 
Corn and flax mills have been located there since the early 19th century when the Joseph Hunter. This combination of corn and flax mills is found mainly in Ulster where both types of mill were intimately linked to the surrounding farming economy. In 1861, Joseph Hunter sold the mills to John Devine and when Patrick Gallagher moved to Newmills in 1892, he bought the complex from William Devine, John's son. In addition to the mills, Gallagher purchased a residence, public house, grocery and ancillary buildings, including a scutcher's cottage This was located in a field beside the mill pond. The complex also included a forge on the opposite side of the road as well as a sizable farm of land. The business at Newmills was continued by his son, P.F. Gallagher until his death in 1980.
 
The importance of Newmills was recognised in a 1978 An Foras Forbatha inventory of industrial archaeological monuments which identified it as by far the best example of a mill complex in County Donegal. In 1986, the mills were purchased by the state for preservation as a national monument. Under the direction of the Office of Public Works, a group of Irish and international volunteers restored the mills and millrace in 1989.

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