From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
COALISLAND, a post-town, partly in the parishes of DONOGHENRY and CLONOE, but chiefly in that of TULLYNISKAN, barony of DUNGANNON, county of TYRONE, and province of ULSTER, 3 miles (N. E.) from Dungannon: the population is returned with the respective parishes. This flourishing trading village is situated in the centre of the Tyrone coal field, on the roads from Dungannon to Ballinderry, and from Lurgan to Stewartstown: it comprises 184 houses, which are generally well built with stone and covered with slate, and has a sub-post-office to Dungannon. The coal district extends from Mullaghmoyle, on the north, to Dungannon on the south, a distance of six miles, with an average breadth of two. Great difficulty is found in working it, owing to the softness of the bed on which it rests, and the dangerous state of the roof, unless expensively propped.
At present the mining operations are confined to Drumglass, in the neighbourhood of Dungannon, and the vicinity of Coal Island: the collieries at the latter place are on a small scale, and principally worked by manual labour, but are moderately profitable. Coal Island originated in the formation of the Tyrone canal, which was begun by Government in 1744, and was intended to intersect the entire coal field of Tyrone, but was not carried beyond this place. The canal is not more than three miles in length from the river Blackwater, which it joins near Lough Neagh, to Coal Island, but it has been commenced and partially completed in several places westward; bridges have been erected over the line; an aqueduct of three large arches was to have conveyed it over the Terren; and a rail-road was to have connected it with some of the minor collieries, for which purpose a viaduct, here called "the Dry Hurry," was thrown over the Cooks-town road, two miles from Dungannon. All these edifices are of hewn freestone, handsomely finished and in good preservation; but in many places the canal is filled up and cultivated, so that in a few years the line will not be traceable.
This is now a place of considerable trade, and has 35 large lighters, or barges, which frequently make coasting voyages to Dublin, and sometimes across the channel to Scotland. Extensive ironworks, forges, and plating-mills were erected here in 1831, and there are others at Oghran and New Mills for the manufacture of spades, edge-tools, &c. Here is also an extensive establishment for the manufacture of fire-bricks and crucibles, commenced in 1834 by two gentlemen from Stourbridge, in Worcestershire. Most of the manufactured articles are sent to London or Liverpool. Near this is a pottery, and there is also a flour-mill, where 2000 tons of wheat are annually ground for the Belfast market. Bleach-greens have been established at Derryvale, Terren Hill, and New Mills, where 20,000 pieces of linen are annually finished for the English market.
Several warehouses, granaries, yards, and other conveniences for carrying on an extensive trade are placed round a small but convenient basin, and in the village and its vicinity are the residences of several wealthy merchants. The exports are coal, spades, shovels, fire-bricks, fire-clay, crucibles, earthenware, linen cloth, wheat, oats, flour, &c.: the imports are timber, deals, iron, salt, slates, glass, &c. The village being in three parishes, has three churches within two miles of it, and a district church is about to be erected for its use. The R. C. chapel for the parish of Donoghenry is not far distant.
Charlotte Milligan Fox, sister of the poet Alice Milligan, was a founding member of the Irish Folk Song Society and an indefatigable field collector of Irish traditional music. Her singularly important work on Irish haprers is here presented for the twenty-first century reader. This edition of Annals offers a much greater number of illustrations than were included in the original 1911 publication, a full biographical introduction, an extensive bibliography of the writings of Milligan Fox and an appendix discussing the variant texts of Arthur O’Neills Memoirs.
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