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Local History

Ballykerogue Lime Kiln


Kiln at Ballykerogue

This is the lime kiln at Ballykerogue and is very well preserved. It is over twenty feet in height and has two openings or eyes which look like large chimneys.The lime kiln was used for burning lime which was used as fertilizer on the land. It was also used for lime washing the walls of houses before paint became more widely used.Outhouses were also lime washed.Some farmers were also known to dip seed potatoes in lime before planting to give a better yield as lime or Calcium Carbonate is needed for acid soil. Lime was used to make mortar for building also.
The Ballykerogue kiln dates from around 1800 and was built by the Murphy family. The limestone boulders were brought from a quarry in Granagh Co. Kilkenny which is  about three miles from Waterford City.The Hook Head also had limestone quarries and the limestone was transported to other parts of County Wexford. Back at the kiln the lime stones had to be broken down to much smaller pieces so that they would burn . These slabs were about an inch thick and were broken by a stone expert.
Next the kiln was fired.The fuel to burn the lime was elm and culm which is a coal dust. The coal came from Castlecomer in Co.Kilkenny.Coal was better than wood as it produced more heat. A layer of dry elm wood would be placed on the bottom of the pot. Sometimes straw was used. The pot is the large circular part of the kiln with its opening on the top. It was also known as the 'oven'. Next a layer of the broken limestone was added and then a layer of culm followed by more stone and so on until the pot was filled to the top.Then the kiln was lit or fired. Sometimes diesel was added to the timber as it would burn quicker. This was then set alight through the opening or the eye of the kiln.The kiln could burn for up to five days.As each layer of stones burned it fell to the bottom of the pot. Finally the snow white lime was brought out through the eye of the kiln. Stones which didn't burn were called 'scalders'.Turf, which was hand cut with a sleŠn, was used as the fuel in other areas.


Eoin M. stands in the 'eye' of the kiln

The larger eye (opening) measures ten feet across and the smaller one nearly eight feet. The two arches look very impressive. The inside of the pot was built with firestone.The kiln was built so that a horse and cart could load and unload the coal and stones at the top.These carts had large iron band wheels. The opening of the pot in Ballykerogue kiln is filled in with bushes for safety to both humans and animals.
Hart's in Campile used to burn lime and this was bought by local farmers. The lime was delivered on the River Pill by boat.
Lime is no longer burnt in kilns but is still used as a fertilizer. It's important that we preserve kilns as they remind us of our past and the hard ship people suffered doing this hard work to make their and our lives better.


This kiln is at Priesthaggard and a ramp was build to allow carts access to the 'pot' of the kiln or the 'oven' on top.

Erin and Bille-Jean at the Limekiln in Whitechurch. Here limestones were burned to make lime for the local farmers. This kiln has 3 openings. Lime was also used to white wash the farmersí houses. The River Barrow flows nearby and barges used bring in the coal and other goods. It is known as Piltown Stage.

Dunbrody Kiln with its double opening is to be seen alongside  the railway line

Thanks to Eoin M. and Gavin M. (4th class-03/04 Ballykerogue) for some of the research on this topic

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