WHEN Eamonn Madden, a local resident and keen historian, looks around at Feltrim these days, one feels it’s with a degree of disappointment but sprinkled with great hope.He lives within yards of Feltrim Hill, perhaps the most gripping location in all of Fingal.
WHEN Eamonn Madden, a local resident and keen historian, looks around at Feltrim these days, one feels it’s with a degree of disappointment but sprinkled with great hope.
He lives within yards of Feltrim Hill, perhaps the most gripping location in all of Fingal.
A short walk anywhere around the hill will send you back in time – to King James, the Earl of Desmond, the era when wolves ran wild in Fingal or to a time when St Werburgh, a Saxon princess ruled, 689 A.D. and had a local well dedicated to her.
It is frustrating then for people like Eamonn Madden to see the area being eroded away but the quarrying that exists at the location is nothing new. Now he wants to work hand in hand with all those concerned, be it those that run the business and the County Council, to ensure what remains stays in tact and we learn from the past.
‘People need to accept that Feltrim Hill is part of our history and needs to be properly cared for as a heritage location,’ he states. ‘We have worked hard with the people in the quarry to protect the hill and we hope to continue that into the future.’
They also made submissions to the County Development Plan – urging action.
The likes of Samuel Beckett climbed to the top of Feltrim Hill once and wrote of its beauty while Nathanial Hone of St Doulagh’s painted glowing portraits of its remarkable views of Lambay right around to Ireland’s Eye.
Feltrim was very much a victim of its own natural resources many decades ago.
Even as far back as the 1880s, its limestone rocks were being used in road construction and that industry only grew as the years passed. By the 60s it had really taken off and down the years even aided the completion of airport runways.
‘At one stage there were 14 beech trees on the hill which led to the holy well. During the penal times it was a place where people came to hear Mass while there was also a mound, likely to be a passage grave but all destroyed by the council 60 years ago which was a terrible shame,’ Eamonn adds.
Still standing, thankfully, is the limekiln. The stories that surround Feltrim go on and on and Eamonn’s belief is simple.
‘At a time when this area is changing so rapidly let’s start putting our heritage to the fore. We want to see the windmill restored and the hill allowed to flourish as it has in the past and as it did for centuries.’
THE story of the Feltrim windmill is one of the most dramatic in terms of Fingal’s heritage. Had it stood today, it would have matched Skerries for one of the most beautiful sights in the region.
All that remains of the structure is part of the interior but even that is striking in its design. It should be noted that the structure is fenced off and on private property.
The Feltrim windmill was built in the late 1600s from red Dutch bricks (still there) and by Dutch workers.
It was used as a woolen mill to start and then a corn mill for up to 100 years, ending in the great storm of 1839 when the giant sails were blown off.
It still stood magnificently for many decades later until 1973 when it was demolished on a Saturday night, ending centuries of dominance of the Feltrim skyline.