page-template-default,page,page-id-15782,bridge-core-1.0.5,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,hide_top_bar_on_mobile_header,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-18.1,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.7.0,vc_responsive





The Annual General Meeting of The Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland is scheduled to take place at Fancroft Mill & Gardens, Roscrea, Co.Tipperary on
Saturday 11th September 2021, commencing at 11.00a.m.
[Covid-19 restrictions will apply]

Following the meeting, there will be a light lunch, a talk about the mill and a tour of the mill and gardens.

Papers for the AGM, including Agenda and Programme have been circulated to IHAI members in advance of the meeting






The business of the AGM was completed on 13th June 2020. Board members for 2020-2021 listed elsewhere on the website..

A Board meeting was held on 16th June using Zoom. Future events are being planned in the context of the government restrictions.

Wishing all our members a safe passage through the present COVID-19 crisis.




Offaly’s Fancroft Mill wins out at prestigious Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland Awards 2019 

  • Other winners include Limerick team for restoration of the ‘Ilen’ 1920s boat and Cork author Kieran McCarthy for his book on Cork Harbour
  • ESB’s Archive and Heritage Manager and Dublin native Brendan Delany honoured with lifetime achievement award
  • Awards took place in ESB’s new Archive building last night (11 December)

 Fancroft Mill and Gardens in South Offaly has won the Norman Campion Award Best Museum/Industrial Heritage Site at the prestigious Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland (IHAI) Awards 2019.

The award recognises the professional and sympathetic restoration work of this significant historical site from dereliction, located on the Little Brosna river 4km north of Roscrea, that was first started by Marcus and Irene Sweeney in 2006. The award is named in honour of Offaly native and miller Norman Campion, a founding member of the IHAI, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Other awards went to a team in Limerick, led by Gary MacMahon, for rebuilding the The Ilen, a 1920s 50ft timber- and Baltimore- built ketch, which was deployed around the Falklands in the South Atlantic for 70 years. Much of the reconstruction of what is the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden built shops has been by volunteers in Limerick and Baltimore, with the help of professional boat builders.

Another maritime-flavoured project also received an award. Kieran McCarthy author of The Little Book of Cork Harbour won the Mary Mulvihill Media Award of Best Publication.

Rounding off the award winners on the evening, fittingly hosted at ESB’s new archive building in Finglas is Brendan Delany, ESB Archives & Heritage Manager for a life-long and central role in development of ESB’s archive into a digital, interactive resources for all to cherish.

Nicholas Tarrant, ESB Executive Director Engineering and Major Projects hosted the evening. Welcoming guests and congratulating the award winners, he says:

“The Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland was created by people of vision and commitment and the fruits of earlier efforts have served to create a notable increase in awareness of our rich industrial past.  The Association recognises that we should not only have a sense of shared ownership for our past, but it is something we strive to safeguard and celebrate. It is also ESB’s pleasure to host the awards in our new Archive. A landmark development for ESB, it represents a tangible delivery to both celebrate and safeguard our history and heritage which forms part of the story of the industrial, commercial and social development of Ireland.”

Paul McMahon President of IHAI adds: “IHAI are delighted with the continued and invaluable sponsorship of these Awards from ESB which seek to give recognition to individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding contribution to promoting and safeguarding industrial heritage on an all-Ireland basis. It is important that we both recognise and celebrate achievement. We also wish to congratulate ESB on the development of their new Archive as it will be a wonderful resource for all those interested in the social development of this country and more particularly those interested in industrial history.”

The recipients of the Awards were: 

Norman Campion Award Best Museum/Industrial Heritage Site: Fancroft Mill.

Fancroft Mill & Gardens are located about 4 km North of the town of Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. An extensive conservation project, commenced in 2006 by Marcus & Irene Sweeney, has resulted in the rescue from dereliction of this mill complex which is of noted industrial heritage importance. A set of new mill stones were installed in 2010. Milling capability is now restored for domestic purposes. A recently installed generator contributes to the household heating system. All of the buildings at Fancroft are included on the Offaly County Council list of Protected Structures. The restored mill is a handsome, even beautiful, structure with the stone work now cleaned, conserved and repaired, 90 new sash windows installed, the four-storey bay reroofed and graceful ogee details over the doors sensitively enhanced.

The interior work, less obvious, is equally fascinating. The restoration work carried out has been done professionally and sympathetically and has not only created a very fine visitor amenity, but it has preserved and safeguarded a very significant industrial site in County Offaly.

 Special Recognition Award:  Restoration of the “Ilen”.

Ak Ilen Company was set up in 2005 with a mission to ensure that anyone who can handle a sail or a shipwright’s maul, or who wishes to learn or would prefer to let others do so. The organisation is both a school and a network, based in Limerick with a national and international theatre of operations. Their goal is to rebuild the cultural interface between Limerick and its surroundings, realising the munificence of our natural and built marine inheritance.

The Ilen is a 50ft. timber-built ketch, weighing 45 tonnes’ which was originally built in Baltimore for Conor O’Brien. O’Brien sailed around the world 1924/25 and when he stopped in the Falklands en route, the islanders admired his boat, the Saoirse, and asked if he could design and build a bigger and better one for them. When he returned to Cork he designed and built with the Baltimore Fishery School the ketch, Ilen, named after a local river. The price was £1,500 including delivery. He delivered the Ilen in January 1927 to Port Stanley with the help of two Claire island boatmen, named Con and Denis Cadogan.

After seventy years of inter-island trading work it was bought back by a group of Limerick people, led by Gary McMahon and returned to Baltimore in 1998. During the past twenty years it has been beautifully restored in the Hegarty Boatyard near Baltimore and in the Ilen boat building school in Limerick. Much of the reconstruction has been by volunteers in Limerick and Baltimore with the help of professional boat builders.  The Ilen is currently back in Kinsale where it is to be based for sail training and helping people sail back into wellness.

This restoration project is a celebration of the heritage of wooden boat building of Limerick and West Cork alongside the history of the fishing industry of late 19th and early 20th Cork coastline.

 Mary Mulvihill Media Award Best Publication: The Little Book of Cork Harbour Author Kieran McCarthy (Publisher: The History Press UK 2019)

This book presents a myriad of stories within the second largest natural harbour in the world. This is book number 22 for Kieran and it follows on from a series of Kieran’s publications on the River Lee Valley, Cork City and complements his Little Book of Cork (History Press, Ireland, 2015). It is not meant to be a full history of the harbour region but does attempt to bring some of the multitudes of historical threads under one publication. However, each thread is connected to other narratives and each thread here is recorded to perhaps bring about future research on a site, person or the heritage of the wider harbour.

Kieran McCarthy is a born and bred Cork City man. He has devoted his working life to promoting the past, present and future of Cork and its environs. He was elected to Cork City Council in June 2009, May 2014 and May 2019 as an Independent City Councilor. In January 2015, Kieran was appointed by the Minister for the Environment and Local Government to be an Irish member on the European Committee of the Regions (an opinion body of local authorities and regional assemblies) to the European Parliament. Kieran’s extensive list of publications have been meticulously well researched and well presented and have made a very significant contribution to providing a better understanding of Cork’s industrial past and history.

Lifetime Achievement Award:  Brendan Delany

Brendan has had a life-long interest in history and heritage. In his role as ESB Archives & Heritage Manager he has responsibility for the development and management of ESB’s Archive & Heritage facilities and for the delivery of the related services. He has played a very central role in the development of ESB’s Multi-Media Archive Collection. The collection now comprises over 11,000 archival boxes of documentation, over 15,000, photographs, 46,000 digital images, 6,000 VHS/DVD’s, 1,000 cine reels and over 2,000 oral interviews.  It is not only the volume but the quality of the archival material that makes this a collection of national importance.

Brendan has been a member of the Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland for many years. He was IHAI’s Newsletter Editor from 2012 to 2015 and has been a member on the Executive Board from 2004 to the present. He has also completed a term as President from 2012 – 2015.  Brendan is regarded by his peers in IHAI as a person “who likes to get things done”. He has provided advice on many aspects of industrial history and heritage, is generous in sharing his knowledge, expertise and experience.

]Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland Awards for 2018 were held on the 26th February 2019 – a summary and award recipients details can be read by clicking here.

Details of other past events may be found in the various issues of the Newsletter.