This book, by Kevin J. O’Hagan tells how iron ore mining began in Co. Antrim 150 years ago, how the mines were worked and how small farmers became skilled miners, toiling in cramped conditions beneath the Antrim hills. The industry gave birth to the Irish Narrow Gauge railway system.
The mines transformed the bleak hills of the Antrim Plateau into a hive of industry. Today the red spoil heaps, disused railway cuttings and the Drum Brae are reminders of a once thriving industry – a story that had to be told.
Author Kevin J O’Hagan is a retired civil servant who was born in the heart of the mining area. His father and grandfather were iron ore miners. Educated St MacNissi’s College, Garron Tower and St Joseph’s Training College, Trench House, he took up caving in 1970 and was part of Irish Speleological Expedition to the French Alps in 1975. From that experience he became interested in mines in Mid-Antrim and has been researching their history and recording and exploring them since. He is a former chairperson Glens of Antrim Historical Society, a founding member of Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland (1996) and Glenravel Historical Society (2010). Kevin has also given talks about the mines to many groups, societies and universities and contributed articles to various history-based journals.