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Heritage Tour of Mullan.

National Heritage Week was celebrated from August the 19th to the 27th and Monaghan County Council had organised a very full, interesting and informative programme of events for Monaghan County. The programme was officially opened by Minister Heather Humphreys in the Clones Library and it contained activities and events for every part of the county. The one I was looking forward to was the Tour of Mullan and it turned out to be a wonderful day of nostalgia, chat, memories, stories and laughter for those attending. I would have expected more but then there are so many things going on it is difficult to get to them all.
The Tour began at Emyvale Leisure Centre from where a free bus took them to Mullan. Sandra McQuaid, who is standing in as the County Heritage Officer, introduced the event and gave a run-down on the day’s programme. The opening part was a showing of three DVD’s which were filmed at different times in the Mill history. The most aged was from the 1950’s and this brought back many memories especially of the people who have now gone to their eternal reward. Present at the tour were people like Joe McMahon, John Joe McCluskey, Seamus Mulligan, Ann Magee, nee Murphy, Pauline McGee, nee Molloy, Margaret Deery, nee McKenna, and Vincent McQuaid, all whom had personal memories of the Mill and its characters but the sharing of stories was led by Brian McKenna, Councillor, who spent a number of his early years as an employee of the factory and he told us of conditions prevailing at the time and what it was like to travel to work, work, lunchtime, more work and more craic and then travel home again and the amount in the pay package at the end of the week. It was all very interesting and nostalgic.
Edel Treanor then took the group on a Tour of the factory, now a very busy place for Mullan Lighting. This major supplier claims that they make ‘
Customised and bespoke lighting tailored to your requirements. Our comprehensive in-house design and manufacturing facilities provides our customers creative freedom to make their interior design truly unique. From large and distinctive statement pieces to a customised range of fittings, whatever size, shape, material and finish, we aim to achieve what you picture in your imagination’ and we witnessed this promise in action from start to finish. It was an eye-opener to see the various processes from design to packaged light and we wish them continued success with the business. Meanwhile as we moved from room to room Seamus Mulligan and the others kept us informed as to what went on there in their time as employees and this also brought back memories to me as I had a Summer job in the factory for two years when I was a second level student and some years later I did some work for them when needed.
After the factory Edel took us on a tour of Mullan Village and allowed us see inside the newly renovated houses in the White Row and again Seamus Mulligan, who was born and bred there and still lives there, gave us an idea of what it was like to live in Mullan when it was a bustling and crowded village situated less than a mile from the border with its own Entertainment Hall and dancing deck. On the way back to the factory we travelled via the Red Row and it was in one of those that Malachy Columb lived as a young man. Of course this entire territory was base camp for Vincent McQuaid, whose family lived there and were very involved in economic and social life of the community there.
A visit to Brenda’s Busy Bee Ceramics is a must if you go to Mullan village and all had a viewing of her work there. All were then taken to the Village Kitchen in Emyvale for a very tasty and welcome lunch after which the tour went to Brian McKenna’s, where he demonstrated how a boot was made from start to finish. Brian, assisted by Vincent, carried out every process in the making of a shoe/boot and this had every mind captivated with the basics of a boot. I noticed how the very young people present were totally immersed in how it was done and it was a terrific learning experience for them and indeed many of the adults too. It was a marvel to see a master craftsman, Brian, at work and it all looked so simple yet talent was needed to get such a fine finished product. Thanks Brian, and Mary, for a wonderful demonstration. Joining us for this part of the tour were two nieces and a nephew of the Late James Boylan, who had developed the industry there back in the ‘40’s.
This was a fantastic day and thanks to Sandra McQuaid and her helpers for making this available to the public and it was an excellent manner in which to celebrate at least one aspect of our heritage.

On Laft is Village Seat made by Vincie McQuaid, Vincent's grandfather, for the people of Mullan. Above is Margaret Deery and Seamus Mulligan at the Red Row and above right is Vincent McQuaid and Malachy Columb outside the hosue on Red Row where Malachy lived and the tall grey house at the end of the Row was Vincie's family home.

To the Left here is Seamus Mulligan, standing in the exact corner of the room where he began work in Mullan Mills seventy three years ago next month.

Above Left is the group with Brian and Mary McKenna and on the left we have Brian McKenna, Hannah Boylan, Seamus Boylan, Niamh Boylan, Vincent McQuaid and Sandra McQuaid, Heritage Officer.