We are well informed about these two furnaces during the 1690s as an important business archive, the Emmerton Papers, still survives in Nottingham. These papers have never been studied before and offer a unique insight into life and industry in western Ireland in this tumultuous period.
In the early 18th century, several new ironworks were built: at Bealkelly, Feakle, Coolcoosaun and Whitegate in Co. Clare and Derryoober in Co. Galway. We have very little documentary evidence for these late furnaces, but three of them are still preserved.
The furnace at Bealkelly near Tuamgraney is an imposing monument with buttressed sides and located next to a small ravine. Its inner casing has been removed and around the top of the furnace the slots for the beams which would have supported a wooden superstructure are still visible.
At Whitegate, in a townland called Furnace, are the substantial remains of a huge blast furnace, towering over the nearby bungalow. It has many unusual, and still unexplained, features: a tunnel built into the back of it and a peculiarly angled side wall, possibly for supporting the loading ramp.
The last furnace, at Derryoober, is the smallest and best preserved of the lot. This cute little thing is set in the middle of a green field with no apparent water supply. Paul and Gerard are still arguing if this furnace was ever worked or if its construction was even finished.
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