The vale of Glenmalure is one of the most remote, and arguably, one of the most beautiful of all of the glens of County Wicklow (Fig. GM1). In viewing its majestic tranquility from the starting point of this Mining Heritage Trail, off the “Wicklow Way”, it is perhaps hard to visualise the tides of events which have swept through this glen: from the time during the last Ice Age, to the periods of human occupation up to and beyond the time of the events of the 1798 rebellion, and 19th Century mining activity. This area and the Mining Heritage Trail are currently being developed by Coillte.
Even by Irish standards, the historic mines of Glenmalure, all lead mines (with or without silver), are relatively obscure, and none were substantial enterprises – even though the first of them was opened before those of the mines in Glendalough and Glendasan. There were a number of attempts to work visible lead, in the form of the mineral galena (lead sulphide)-quartz veins at various locations. Various sources note a total of six principal lead mines, with or without zinc and copper in the Glen. These mines were at Ballinafunshoge and Baravore, the two largest enterprises, Ballinagoneen, Clonkeen, Corrasillagh and Cullentragh Park, as well as other workings in Ballyboy, Camenabologue, and C(l)onavalla.
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