15 – Perrott’s mill

Alas nothing of the mill remain, but 4 houses, workmen’s houses attached to that mill still remain. They are on the right as you cross over the bridge on your way to Wilton or Cork City. Once upon a time, in the field behind them, across the river from the Grotto, there was a shovel Mill. A stream ran along under the present day forest into a mill pond to turn the big Timber Mill Wheel, that set in motion the factories machines, and again the Dineen family of the forge feature in this Mill story, tragically in this case. The Great Grandfather of Gerard and Tom had a son who frequented the Mill on a regular basis, and in 1859 he got caught in the machinery and died a horrible death. Neighbours came and buried him, but without a coroner’s final legal judgement, he had to be exhumed and buried a second time with an official legal coroner’s judgement of death by accident and misadventure. The mill itself when it had to close down due to the arrival of tractors and mechanical machinery, fell into disuse, and became a hen house for Mr. Reid, who lived in the first house at the bridge. I can still see in my mind’s eye, the Watergate in the S bend of the river about 1 km upstream from the mill, where the river would be diverted to keep the mill pond full at all times to turn the big wheel. The only evidence of a mill being in Curraheen now is to see the name Perrott on manhole covers around Cork City. They were all manufactured in the Mill. It closed in 1898, but the forge still was in full production, and the village pump for fresh water came shortly after, a huge leap forward in economic terms. It was built below the four Mill houses in Pat Donovan’s property, owned now by his son Danny. My own opinion about that parish pump is this. Often I cursed it, because every day, as soon as I arrived in from Scoil Bhailenora, a bucket was put in to my hand, and I was told, “off with you now boy, fill that bucket and bring it home to me, we are running short of water “God Bless my mother, is all I can say now. those were the days before the River Lee Dam was built in Inniscarra. Flush toilets were the privilege of city folk, tap water was not spoken of, the primus and methylated spirits were in huge demand.