Rahillion/Carr’s/McAllister’s Windmill

Discussion for Donabate/Portrane Local History
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Ken
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I thought I’d do a piece on the Rahillion windmill now that it’s accessible via the Rahillion walkway and most people are familiar with it. If you refer to it as “the tower”, then you’re definitely a blow in 😊. In fairness, it is easy to mistake the ruins as the remains of a round tower or tower house. However, it is well documented to be a windmill and is not dissimilar to the small windmill which has been restored in Skerries. If you look at the photo of the Skerries windmill below, you will notice a very similar shape in the stonework. However, the wooden parts such as the roof, floors and sails are long gone from Rahillion.

Looking at the various historic maps on the Ordinance Survey of Ireland GeoHive site, you will see that all but the oldest map shows the windmill as being “in ruins”. Only the Historic 6" which dates from 1837-1842 appears to show the windmill as operational. It also shows two buildings to the west of the windmill. It’s unclear whether these are barns or a house or even associated with the windmill. The maps therefore suggest that the windmill ceased operation sometime in the latter part of the 19th century.

The windmill dates back to 1741. If you look inside the front entrance (the west entrance facing the pathway), on the left of the doorway you will see the date carved into the stone. There is also another inscription “love God above all”, but I’ve yet to find that.
It has had several names over the years – McAllister’s Mill and Carr’s Mill (hence the name of the nearby estate) with the names coming from those who owned or leased the land. Rahillion relates to the name of the townland.

Local historian, Peadar Bates, recounts an interesting story in his book, Donabate & Portrane – A History – There was a miller associated with the windmill who reared a pet stag. They became almost inseparable. The miller, on being presented with a pet dog, tended to neglect the stag which became jealous. One day, on finding the miller dozing outside the mill with the dog on his lap, the stag plunged his horns into the dog, but in doing so, penetrated the miller’s bowels. The miller died from his injuries (not sure the dog faired out too well either). That same evening, the stag was found dead at the foot of the cliffs at the Chink Well (Portrane cliffs) from which he had apparently thrown himself in a fit of remorse.

In the book, a History of the Parish of Donabate which is a collection of talks held in 1983 in the Senior Citizens Day Centre, the mill is described as follows – a windmill close to the estuary stood on an elevated and exposed location in Rahillion. This was reached from the Bridal path along the estuary and also from the Portrane Road. The owners were Carr, Doherty and Keeling. The mill crushed corn for local farmers and also for farmers who crossed the estuary at Raheen Point. On the east door of the ruin is a date 1851 and a small cross – also a lettering C.D. 1743 probably referring to Doherty the owner. On another stone higher up is a date 1741 with a cutting in the stone “Love God above all”. The mill was known as Carr’s Mill. This man also owned Longstone in 1778. On one occasion he sent his daughter to repair one of the sails. While she was at work, he mistakenly pulled the wrong rope and set the sails in motion, severely injuring the girl. He cased to operate the mill after that. A large tar barrell burned on the top to celebrate the victory of Sinn Fein in the 1918 general election.

It's interesting that the above article mentions that farmers from Rush accessed the windmill via Raheen Point. Raheen Point is the point at the Estuary at the very top of Beaverstown Road. As well as the railway bridge, there was also a ford across the estuary to Rush which allowed crossing at low tide.

If you have any other information regarding the windmill, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Below is a section from the Historic First Edition map which appear to show the windmill as being operational (at least it doesn't say it's in ruins. Buildings can also be seen on the west side although not clear if these are associated with the mill or not.
RahillionHistoricFirstEdition.jpg

This is a later map showing the windmill in ruins. The ford from Raheen Point can also be seen.
RahillionHistoric6LastEdition.jpg
Below are a few photos I took back in 2016 when the ruins were in the middle of a field so not very accessible. It was possible to go inside the windmill at that time.
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Lastly, a picture of the restored small windmill in Skerries for what an idea of what the Rahillion windmill would have looked like back in the day.
SkerriesWindmill.jpg
SkerriesWindmill.jpg (6.7 KiB) Viewed 839 times
Regards,

Ken.
Ann O
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Interesting post Ken, thanks.

I remember seeing the ruins 30 odd years ago, and traipsing across the fields to to investigate :lol:

It's many years since I've been back to them, must have a look now it's been made more accessible.
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I'm definitely a blow in. I walk up there regularly and never knew that was a windmill. Very interesting post Ken, thanks for the education!
link3
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As a fully fledged blow in and 100% non local, I found this thread extremely interesting. Thank you for posting about the history of the area Ken.

It has me wondering if the books you mentioned in the post are easily found in the library or similar. I must enquire next time I am there.


More of this type of post anyway please! Intriging all the same.
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Ken
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Hi,

Thanks link3.

Someone was looking for Peadar Bates' book a while back and it was mentioned that the shop at Newbridge House have it for sale. I'm not sure about the other one, but I'm guessing it was for sale locally in SuperValu at some stage.

I'll pick another subject and put something else up over the next couple of weeks.
Regards,

Ken.
idaok
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Thanks so much for writing all this out; it was read out to the whole family at dinner time and all very interested. If ever there was some walking history tour, count me in!

Thanks again!
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