Local History by Seán Beattie


Scutch Mills 1867

There were 1,540 scutch mills for flax in Ireland in 1867, of which 1,418 were in Ulster, a good indication of the importance of the crop in the north of the country. Most were worked by water power from streams but others used steam, horse power, and eleven were driven by wind. Donegal had one steam mill but no wind mill. Inishowen had a total of 49 mills.

Burt – Ballyderowen 3, Bohillion 2, Bunnamayne, Burt level, Carrowreagh 2, Drumhaggart 2, Bundrean,

Fahan – Ardaravan, Ballymacarry, Tullyarvan

Fahan Upper – Carrontlieve, Crislaghmore, Garvary 3, Tieveban,

Inch – Baylet, Carickanee 2, Bohillion, Grange, Moness

Muff – Carnmoyle, Craig, Drumskillan 3, Three Trees 2, Ture.

Cloncha- Ballagh, Drumcarbit

Clonmany – Cleagh

Culdaff – Aughaturbrid

Carndonagh – Ballyloskey,  Churchland Quarters, Tulnaree

Moville – Bredagh Glen, Lecamy, Carrowkeel, Clare, Glencrow, Tullynavin 2

I remember the Lecamy scutch mill which is still standing with a fine slate roof but the wheel has been removed to Malin. The Tulnaree mill was intact until a few years ago until all the interior was sold off for scrap. The mill at Culdaff village is still standing near the primary school and the wheel is still visible but is is not listed as it may have been built later by the Young family. Wilkie was the engineer.

In Ulster alone in 1867, the total acreage of flax was 234,630 acres. Donegal had 24,731 acres. Last week I saw 2 acres of stooked flax in a field at Burt on my way to Letterkenny. I still recall the smell from Willie Beatty’s flax dam in Carrowmena in the 1960s when they grew flax for three thatched houses. The blue flower of the flax created a beautiful pattern of colour across the countryside. The last flax grown in Carrowmena was in the 1990s and Beatty’s dam is now swamp.


  1. don@knoxandknox.ie

    I’m enjoying these posts a lot. Keep them coming. Note. My new email address

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Ruairi Mac Leanachain

    My family are McBrearty and came from Corraine where they had a scotch mill according to the Griffiths Valuation. The mill is not there now but would you gave any information about that scutch mill.

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