Europe’s first Industrial Farmyard is at Curraghmore Estate
Did you know that Europe’s first industrial farmyard can be found right here at Curraghmore estate? Here you’ll find 5 remarkable buildings that remain in immaculate condition, that form Europe’s first industrial farmyard. Our plan is to convert these five buildings to the Curraghmore Whiskey distillery and visitor centre. These buildings are of great historical importance – and so we will treat them with kid gloves! They are in incredible condition for their age, and we know they will provide the perfect setting for our distillery. So read on to find out more about their significance…
What exactly is an Industrial Farmyard?
Industrial agriculture is a form of modern farming that refers to the industrialised production of crops and animals and animal products like eggs or milk. The methods of industrial agriculture include innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, to achieve consistent and reliable scale in production.
Industrial agriculture arose hand in hand with the Industrial Revolution (1760 – 1840) and in particular, when the discovery of plant fertilisers such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphate led to increases in crop yields, and the discovery of the role of vitamins in animal nutrition, as well as the discovery of antibiotics and vaccines, led to huge increases in animal outputs.
The industrial revolution also brought with it the design of the ‘factory floor’ or ‘assembly line’ in manufacturing processes – a method of optimising the space and processes involved in production to ensure maximum outputs with minimal inputs – I.e. products came off the line quickly and were handled only minimally – ensuring maximum efficiency. This mode of thinking was then applied to the modern farm yard – and the industrial farmyard was born.
The farmyard at Curraghmore is the earliest example of one such industrial farmyard, and so it has crucial historic significance.
So who built it, and when?
The farmyard was started in 1838, and the project was spearheaded by Henry, the 3rd Marquess of Waterford, and his wife, Lady Louisa – both of whom were progressive thinkers for the time. They saw how streamlining the farmyard buildings in this way could increase outputs on their farm. They appointed a Clonmel architect, William Tinsley, to oversee the design and build of this farmyard, and he did with gusto, creating a blueprint of the modern farmyard. (William eventually emigrated to the United States in 1851 and is credited with designing such famous buildings as the original Ohio State School for the Blind, at Columbus, Ohio and Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. More information on William Tinsley can be found here)
A water-wheel pump system was designed and built to generate power for the yard. This was fed by a water stream on the estate, ensuring the farmyard would be completely self-sufficient/ off the grid. The power generated would turn the wheat mills, grinding the wheat down to fine flour. Steam Engines were also used to generate power – heating the meal that would in turn feed the cattle and pigs, and at the same time using this heat to help dry farm workers’ clothes in a modern-day ‘drying room’.
A ‘model’ modern farmyard that was self-powered, ensured optimal efficiency and minimal waste – and provided employment and supplies to hundreds of people in the local area and ensured the continued prosperity of the estate.
The Future of the Farmyard
We look forward to taking this farmyard into its next era – by repurposing these buildings to create the Curraghmore Whiskey Distillery and Visitor Centre. We commit to honouring the historical importance of these buildings and will ensure every effort is made to preserve their integrity.
We want the distillery site to be sustainable and environmentally aware, so we are including ground-mounted solar panels, an integrated constructed wetlands treatment system and a production water well in the design. The existing water wheel pump will also be adapted to generate hydroelectricity. This ties in with our target of achieving organic and carbon-neutral status within 10 years – A first for any distillery in Ireland!
Developing such a distillery at Curraghmore Estate means that Curraghmore Whiskey will be the only truly organic, carbon neutral single-estate pot still/ single malt Irish whiskey distillery in the country, with Irish-made pot stills, that is truly independent across every aspect of its production process.