Leitir Corn Mill

Image of side of mill

Important plans have been drawn up to re-develop the 200 year-old Leitir Corn Mill on the Glenaddragh River in Kilcar and thus, the recent launch of the 'Leitir Corn Mill Conservation and Restoration Project' took place at the Kilcar Fleadh Heritage day in the Áislann Chill Chartha. Members of the Kilcar Heritage Committee have put in a lot of hard work and produced a Conservation and Development Plan with a view to establishing a working heritage mill.

Building owner Michael Ward has generously donated the mill and miller’s house on a long-term lease to the community along with a field to develop into a car park. The primary aim of the Conservation and Development Plan is to conserve the mill with a view towards re-developing it as a working heritage mill in the future.

This site is brimming with local history. The two-storey mill is built of stone from southwest Donegal. Taken as a building on its own merits, the corn-drying kiln and corn mill at Leitir is undoubtedly of regional significance. However when one considers (a) the rich assembly and excellent state of preservation of authentic artefacts/machinery, (b) the associated miller’s house (little changed from its nineteenth-century state) and (c) the still functional condition of the millrace and millpond, it does not seem unreasonable to argue the entire complex is of national importance.

Few of Ireland’s traditional corn mills have survived to the present day with this level of preservation and intactness. This site is an important part of the 19th century industrial heritage of not alone Kilcar, but of the county and entire northwest region. The grain milled was grown throughout this locality and served to provide for some of the food needs of Kilcar, Carrick and Killybegs. It also catered for the corn corps of small farmers in Glencolmcille, Killybegs and Teelin. Self-sufficient farmers brought their cut corn to the mill. They also supplied turf for the kilns used to dry the corn. This is really an outstanding reminder of the industrial/agricultural heritage of the area.

Patrick McBrearty from the Heritage Committee said the old stone building had stood the test of time very well. He said this demonstrated the care and maintenance the mill had been given over the years. Although the last milling took place in 1954, Mr McBrearty said it looked as if that last miller Peter McMullan had literally just closed the door behind him.

The committee are now welcoming donations ftom groups, companies and individuals in order to undertake urgent remedial work.  Cheques can be made payable to 'Coiste Oidhreachta Chill Chartha'. The committee also welcome offers of voluntary help with this worthwhile community project.