Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Allihies Ireland and Montana Ancestors

Entering Allihies
Entering Allihies
Situated on the extreme western tip of the Beara Peninsula, Allihies takes pride in being the farthest from Dublin of any village in Ireland.  It even celebrates the fact that the Allihies Copper Mining Museum is ‘the most inaccessible museum in Ireland.’ Yet it still keeps vigil, on a daily basis, for relatives who emigrated to Butte more than a century ago.

Sullivan Family Headstone in Allihies
Sullivan Family Headstone in Allihies
Enveloped by rippling mountains, deep green hills, and the beckoning fingers of its rocky Atlantic coastline,  the streets and structures of Alllihies village are bright and pristine.

Adding an unexpected touch of magic is the sub-tropical vegetation.  Fuchsia, bamboo and, especially, palm trees are everywhere thanks to the warm flow of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. It is a remote, independent, and stunningly beautiful place.

Only the Man Engine House stands as a visual reminder of its hard rock history. Without visiting the Copper Museum, it would be nearly impossible to imagine the tragedy of daily life for those men, women and children who worked the mines in Allihies.


The Allihies Copper Mining Museum

Allihies Copper Mining Museum Displays
Allihies Copper Mining Museum Displays
From the Allihies Copper Museum Website
In the mid-nineties a group of Allihies residents came together to discuss how they might preserve and present the local copper mining heritage of this unique area. The idea of Allihies Copper Mine Museum (ACMM) was born and hard work and dedication on the part of the local community brought it to fruition. 
Attended by then-president Mary McAleese, the museum finally opened its doors in May, 2007.
Butte Story - Allihies Mining Museum
Butte Story
The Museum is housed in an old Methodist church which once served the Cornish miners of Allihies. Now filled with displays and historic artifacts, it is a reverent tribute to those who got little or no recognition while alive. Notable throughout the stories is the mention of Butte, Montana. No wonder it is still thought of, "as a village down the road."