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Gunpowder Mills

Bridging the past and future

About the Mills

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The Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills commenced operation in 1794 and production ceased in 1903. Ballincollig Royal Gunpowder Mills was one of three Royal gunpowder mills that manufactured gunpowder for the British Government. Located in Ballincollig near Cork city in Ireland, the powder mills were originally opened in 1794 as a private enterprise, before being taken over by the British Government during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Origins of the Powdermills

© 2023 by David Haskett.

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The Royal Gunpowder Mills were first established in Ballincollig in 1794, by Corkman, Charles Henry Leslie. He chose Ballincollig as a site for the gunpowder factory because of its proximity to Cork city, and because of the flat valley and its water-power potential. Leslie built a weir to produce a head of water and a canal, one and a half miles long which was fed by the River Lee and which powered his two mills at the eastern end of the site.

Heritage and Community

Some of the site (at the Innishmore end) was used for community development. The rest of the site was developed into a regional park. The canals were cleaned out and bridges built and greenery cleared off the surviving buildings. With the aid of a European Community grant, the County Council opened a Heritage Centre in the incorporating mills area in 1993 and a working mill was reconstructed. However, in 2002, the Centre closed on financial grounds. This Heritage Centre remains closed - but Ballincollig Regional Park is open to the public every day of the year and many of the other ruins associated with the gunpowder manufacture can be seen.

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Download our Kids Activity Sheet!

Click the PDF below to download our free kids activity sheet!Lots of activities to keep the kids entertained while they learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Ballincollig Gunpowder Mills!