Ballyknockan the Granite Stonecutters Village

Upcoming Events and Links

Hillbilly Tractor Run 26th June 2011

Poulaphuca Reservoir web site...

Local Pub web site...

Local B & B web site

Stone Mason at work

Introducing Ballyknockan Co.Wicklow

Ballyknockan Village nestles on the north west side of the Wicklow mountains overlooking the Blessington Lakes. Although only 25 miles or so from Dublin City centre, and seven miles from Blessington, the village retains an air of old world remoteness, unique charm, and scenic beauty to rival anywhere in Ireland. The village has a rich history based on the granite quarried for almost two centuries, and can be seen all around in the farmhouses and cottages of stone, the quiltwork of granite walls surrounding curiously shaped fields with large boulders protruding from them, some standing like statues. Ballyknockan is the rockery in the Garden of Ireland.

For over 170 years Ballyknockan has provided granite for many of Dublin's best known buildings. The village grew around the craft of stonecutting and this is reflected in many buildings in the area. The tradition of stonecutting is still carried on but on a much smaller scale than during the famine period when over 400 people were directly involved with the quarries, and the village was known as Granite City. Farming has a strong tradition here too, sheep mostly grazing the large expanse of the mountains rising steeply behind while cattle graze on the lower slopes.

From Ballyknockan the views over the lakes are breathtaking. The flooding of the valley in 1940 to create Poulaphuca Resevoir also known as The Blessington Lakes dramatically changed the landscape. With circa 20 sq. km. of water covering some 76 farmhouses and labourers cottages. The lakes are fed by the Liffey and Kings rivers. The water is held back by the poulaphuca dam 31 meters high and 79 meters wide at the crest. Three bridges were built ensuring access to Ballyknockan and surrounding areas. Today, not only does the lake hold 148 million cubic meters of water supplying thousands of Dublin homes and creating electricity, it also offers many water pursuits such as fishing, sailing, windsurfing, boating, leisure cruising and canoeing.

 

A view of ballyknockan pre 1939 and today

A view of Ballyknockan pre 1939 and today

 

Ballyknockan, Blessington, Co. Wicklow