This picturesque small-scale corn/oat mill complex is an important element of the built heritage of the Cill Chártha/Kilcar region, and of the industrial archaeology of Donegal.  It has received funding under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme (BHIS) and retains much of its early fabric including natural slate roofs, timber windows and sheet doors.  The rubble limestone construction and the irregular spacing of the openings give it a distinctly vernacular appearance. Of particular importance is the survival of the iron breastshot water wheel and sluice mechanism, which provides an insight into historical industrial methods. This waterwheel was powered using water stored in an adjoining mill pond, which was filled with water diverted from the Glenaddragh River along a headrace.

Much of the original machinery apparently survives to the interior. One of the millstones is inscribed ‘Kay and Hilton, Fleet Street, Liverpool, 1863’. This complex probably originally dates to the late-eighteenth or the early-nineteenth century, a period that saw a great boom in the Irish corn milling industry. The modest scale of the complex indicates that it was a vernacular corn mill, rather than a large-scale merchant corn mill as found more commonly in east Donegal. It provided a basic service to local farmers in grinding and milling their corn or oats, and was an important source of employment. This mill was in the ownership of a John Mullan or McMullan in 1881 and may have been in the ownership of a Robert Hanna in 1894, and it apparently remained in use until about 1954.

The ongoing works carried out to Leitir Corn Mill is part of an extensive project to refurbish the entire mill lead by the Kilcar Heritage Committee. The intention is to conserve Leitir Corn Mill with the ultimate aim of restoring the mill to full working order and for the redevelopment of the site as a visitor attraction.  This ambitious restoration project consists of the restoration of the mill and drying kiln, mill dam, mill wheel and mill race.  The renovation of the miller’s house will include refreshment facilities.  A new visitor’s car park will also be added.  The landscaping of the mill lands will include a new riverside walk.

Leitir Corn Mill