Continuing from yesterday's post we are still on Sunday afternoon and doing our whirlwind tour. After leaving the Argory we headed of to a place I really wanted to see. While researching places to visit I had found a linen mill museum which I really really wanted to visit but sadly it was shut on the Sunday so instead we set off for Cookstown to see Wellbrook Beetling Mill. It is the last working water powered mill used in the manufacture of linen in Northern Ireland. Beetling is a process that involves linen being dampened and wound round a large roller. The roller is turned and the heavy wooden blocks drop onto the linen as it is turned. This produces a flat surface with a bit of a sheen to the fabric and makes the holes in the linen less apparent. Thankfully nothing to do with little beetles as in the insects!
Took this from the car park the mill is nestled into the countryside and looked quite dramatic against the dark skies.
Thankfully not a busy road as the mill entrance is right on the edge of the road.
The building is a NT property and is a working mill, it was amazing to see the beetling process in action. The trust are only allowed to run a couple of the rollers at a time due to noise levels and honestly the noise from just the two running was loud enough! The workers originally working in these mills must have been deaf by the end of their working lives.
The wheel that drives the beetling engines inside.
It could get a bit wet standing here when the wheel got going.
Up at the back of the mill there is a lovely riverside walk with the river flowing on one side and the diverted water for running the mill on the other side.
One of many small lock gates to help control the water.
Back down at the mill you can see where the water is diverted to run up to the mill and flow down to turn the wheel.
Wow what a racket! The wheel is turned on and off during tours as I think everyone would be deaf if it ran all day lol. The linen had to be carefully rolled onto the rollers to ensure absolutely no creases as any creases would be made permanent and would cost the mill dearly. We were standing in the loft space where the linen is hung to dry out to watch this a fabulous birds eye view.
We were the last tour of the day and it was sad to think that this mill is the last of what used to be hundreds dotted all round the landscape here. Time to head off.
Monday morning and our last day in Ireland. We only really had the morning as we had to be back at the airport early afternoon so it was an early rise and off we headed to our last stop of the trip. The Giants Causeway, ever since I was a geography student this has been on my bucket list and I finally made it yeah!
One of the bay's we passed on the walk down.
Irish folklore has it that the Ginats Causeway was formed by the giant Finn MacCool who had an ongoing feud with the Scottish giant Finn Gall from across the channel. On one occasion Finn MacCool was so annoyed with the taunting from Finn Gall he tore bits of rock from the cliff and hurled them into the sea to make a land bridge over to Scotland. However on sneaking up on Finn Gall he realised the giant was far bigger than him so he retreated and his wife hid him in a crib. The Scottish giant enraged came across to Ireland but upon seeing the giant baby in the crib thought if that was the size of the baby then how big is his dad? He made a hasty retreat!
However as much as I love the Irish legend the geographer in me knows the causeway was the result of volcanic activity and water. The causeway is made up from several lava flows that cooled in between flows. These rocks in the pic above were caused by the lava rapidly cooling due to gas escaping quickly they are aerated and crumbly looking easily broken up over time. The lava beneath this cooled much more slowly forming the basalt columns.
The cliff that Finn MacCool tore chunks from to make his land bridge.
As the lava cooled slowly it contracted causing cracks to appear on the surface and as it cooled and contracted further it caused the cracks to run vertically. This massive basalt cliff was amazing to look at.
We were told to avoid walking on the dark coloured rocks as they were lethally slippy!
It was extremely windy when we were there and the waves were huge!
That's me huddled up against the cold it was freezing!
Well that's the end of my trip to Ireland and what a high for me to end it on. The NT manage the causeway and have a fascinating exhibition centre full of information and they also do a brilliant coffee and coconut cake which was very much needed and welcomed when we came back up from the causeway. The hubster and I certainly got our money's worth out of our NT membership on this trip lol.
Normal services will shortly resume as I do have some stitchy stuff to share with you!