Ballinglen -The Lacey Brothers- PURE Mile


The Mile stretches from Ballinglen House to Ballybeg House.  It is a typical country road in South Wicklow and has commanding views of the valleys of Coise and Croghan. 

Landmarks and features include rounded locally sourced stone pillars at the entrance to Ballinglen House, a granite stone created to mark the centenary year, the Lacey Brothers Bridge, the old corn mill six stories high at Synges, iron gates at the entrance to the mill, the Byrmur Road built by the Fossettes during their residency at Ballybeg during the 2nd World War years.  There is also an old pump site and rebuilt stone walls. 

The Mill

The water powered six-story old corn mill was central to the local community during the 18th and 19th centuries. Local farmers and smallholders brought their grain, still on the straw and stacked it on capped granite pedestals to prevent access by rats and it was stored over the year. Customers would come to the mill regularly to draw supplies of oats for porridge and flour for bread making.  The buildings are constructed from local shale with cut granite corner stones and lintels. The roof was removed in 1948 to save paying rates.  A millrace is fed from a dam in the Derry Water River half a mile upstream which gave enough height for water to continuously drop onto the water wheels, which drove the horizontal millstones.  Original iron gates to the mill remain in place.

The Bridge

This is a freestanding tree-arch humpback bridge, which was built around 1780. The bridge is constructed in rubble fieldstone and has dressed granite voussoirs. 

The Lacey Bridge is so named because of the Lacey brothers, Philip and Patrick who were shot under this bridge while they, with others, were in hiding from the yeoman cavalry as they returned from the Battle of Vinegar Hill on 21st June, 1798.  This bridge has two plaques commemorating the shooting of the Lacey brothers.  The Taoiseach Mr Lemass unveiled the first plaque in 1960 and said “all sections of the people in these parts of Ireland came together – men of all classes and of all religions – to provide this memorial”. Among the people present at the Ballinglen Bridge in 1960 was Sean Mc Bride.  A Pageant was organised and included men from Coolboy and Crossbridge who actually fought in the Rising of 1916.

Mary Mc Aleese unveiled another plaque in 1998 and the Tinahely Variety and Folk Group performed a re-enactment of the shooting of the Lacey Brothers. The granite base of the memorial seat is in fact a rare shoeing stone dating back to 1798.  A local committee lights a Christmas tree up every year.

The Circus

The Fossetts circus returns every year to Patrick Walsh’s field; they were invited to their original home townland for the celebration of the Millennium and they have returned every year since. They lived in Ballybeg House in the 1940’s and they used the extensive farm buildings as their winter training quarters. The original house was levelled in 1948 and rebuilt in a colonial style.  The return of the circus annually is a major event for the community.  The Fossetts built the Burmur Road during their residency at Ballybeg. 

The pump

This was one of the first sources of running water in Ballinglen and it has recently been returned to its natural beauty. The Gullet is a narrow passage consisting of a stream running through it, which was used by farmers long ago.

The Stile

This allowed farmer access to fields in the past.


Ballybeg House

This house dates to the early 1700’s and was leased by Trinity College educated Clergymen from the Earl of Marlton. 



The Lacey Brother Mile were winners of the 2010 Pure Mile – Best Pure Mile and Best Natural Heritage Awards.

Comments about this page

  • When was the mill built and was it a flour mill ?

    By Tony Kelly (04/02/2014)

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