Gypsum Mining and the Shirley Estate in South Monaghan, 1800-1936

By Mícheál McDermott

In the early 1800s, a fruitless pursuit of coal on the Shirley estate in south Monaghan led to the discovery and the intermittent exploitation of gypsum on the estate lands. In portraying the inter-related fortunes of the Shirley family, the mines, and their community, this book places this trinity on a journey which is signposted by significant political, social, and economic developments. The changing balance of power between landlord and tenant, as crystallised by the Land Acts and a growing nationalist democracy, had profound implications for this industry. The establishment of the Farney Development Company (1921-27) at Lisnabo, Co. Meath, in the southern section of the gypsum field, was the major result of these changes. Despite the collapse of this company and further initial setbacks, the gypsum enterprise, Gypsum and Bricks, was eventually relaunched in the 1930s. This book owes its compilation to a broad range of sources but it is chiefly indebted to the estate papers of the Shirley family, the records of the Geological Survey of Ireland, and the National Archives, Dublin.

64 pages

Publication Date: 10/15/2009
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846820595