Arigna Mining Experience - Arigna
Arigna Mining Experience is located in Carrick-on Shannon in County Roscommon, on the top of a mountain and has the most fantastic views of the surrounding unspoilt countryside. The centre was established in 2003, to preserve the energy heritage of the Arigna Valley and to forge and continue links with energy sources for the past, present and future. During a visit you will be introduced to what coal mining was like in the Arigna Valley, from its conception in the 1700's to its eventual closure in 1990.
The tour comprises of two elements the Underground Experience and the Exhibition Space. The guided tour takes about forty to forty five minutes and visitors typically spend about an hour and a half here.
For the Underground Experience, visitors get to experience first hand what it was like to be a miner working in an extremely cramped, dark and dangerous environment. Miners here worked in some of the narrowest coal seams in the western world. At the face of a disused mine the guide, an ex-miner will explain and show the methods used to extract coal as well as the practice's adopted by the miners on entering the mine each day, it really adds to the authenticity of the experience. The guides are all engaging and happy to impart their knowledge, stories and answer questions. It is hard to comprehend that up until relatively recently that people still worked in these conditions. Lighting and added sound effects in the mine, further corroborate the underground experience. The total walking distance is about 300 metres and is all on one level, so suitable for everyone. The temperature underground is 10 degrees celcius so it is advisable to take an additional layer of clothing.
In the Exhibition Space, local geology and the composition of coal deposits are described, as well as the history of energy production. You can watch documentaries on the mining process from start to finish, look at the fascinating photos, read all about the history of the mine, and see many mining exhibits on display.
Also explained here are the ideas and operation of varying renewable energy systems. It is possible to see some of these systems at work both here in the Energy Centre Building or at the nearby wind farms.
There is a cosy and friendly cafe on the premises as well as a small gift shop. On the grounds is a scenic picnic area where you can sit and admire the stunning views.