'Little Ireland' The Mining Town of Cleator Moor and its links with Wicklow

Organised by the Glens of Lead  this event explores the little known links between the people and heritage of Cleator Moor in Cumbria, North west England and County Wicklow.

There is a long tradition of metal mining in County Wicklow. In the Wicklow Mountains, lead was mined extensively until the late 1950s, whilst copper and pyrite mining also took place at Avoca, with the last mine closing in 1983. Strong migration networks between Wicklow and mining regions in Britain have always existed, and research by the Glens of Lead group has discovered that one of the most prominent migration networks was with the coal and iron mining area centred on Whitehaven and Cleator Moor in Cumbria (an area which was dubbed ‘Little Ireland’ in the 19th century).

Local historian and Egremont Borough Councillor, Dave Banks will give an illustrated presentation that will explore when and why people migrated to Cumbria,  where they lived and worked and what life was like in these Victorian mining settlements.  

This  Heritage Week event is a rare opportunity to find out more about this aspect of our heritage. It is free of charge and all are welcome to attend and to bring along any stories, photographs and other information that you might have on this theme.


Comments about this page

  • On my mother’s side were Gaffneys and Whalens from Wicklow. I am very interested in the mining links betweeen Wicklow and Cleator Moor and also the “secondary” links between the West Cumberland town and other metal mining areas. Cleator Moor Irish moved in large numbers to Butte, Montana; Leadville, Colorado; Bisbee, Arizona and other US sites as well as South Africa and Australia.

    By Francis McCrickard (15/05/2023)

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