Years ago when we lived in Dublin, my friend, Sheena and I made it our New Year’s Resolution one year to be tourists in the city for a year! How often do we live someplace and never go visit what’s in the locality? That year was fun – one Saturday a month we took off and did something touristy! Have you ever done that?
How well do you know your own area? Throughout this country of ours there are such beautiful hidden places…. just slightly off the beaten track waiting to be discovered.
Over the past summer I have been extremely lucky to meet with some people in our area who have restored and are running some beautiful properties. I’ve shared with you before the delights of Bellefield House & Gardens.
Well last Sunday, we were delighted to be asked to a private tour at Fancroft Mill & Gardens. I had been once before, but A had never been and I knew he would just love the place.
Marcus and Irene who have undertaken the mammoth task of restoring the Mill are just so incredibly passionate about what they do. The roof had to be replaced. All windows had to be replaced – and you can see there are an awful lot of them – and nearly every window is a different size!
They have gone to endless trouble to ensure that whatever restoration work they undertake is utterly in keeping with the original. They have been working tirelessly on the project since 2006 and you can see how the Mill has responded to such TLC.
There were just 8 of us there on Sunday afternoon, and Marcus answered all of our questions with great enthusiasm and delighted in showing us how everything worked.
These are the wooden teeth for one of the giant wheels… the top one – all worn away is 300 years old and had to be replaced with the carefully hand carved lower one. This tooth is just one of hundreds that had to be replaced.
The Mill wheel was whooshing at an incredible rate as 40 mm of rain had fallen on Saturday! The power of that water going through is phenomenal. Marcus does have plans to try to harvest some of the power to feed electricity through to the house.
Take a look at all this beautiful timber craftmanship. All lovingly restored…. and yes, the grinding bits all work…. so you can have white flour, semolina and wholegrain flour… just all different grades of the same process. (I never knew that semolina was just ‘semi-milled’ flour!).
Next time you are in the Roscrea area between March and October…. definitely include a trip to Fancroft Mill. And I haven’t even mentioned the magnificent gardens that accompany the house and mill!
Do you ever become a tourist in your neighbourhood?