The Waterford coast between Fenor and Stradbally has been sporadically mined since ancient times. When the commercial exploitation of copper deposits near Bunmahon began in 1824, the tiny village grew into a town of 2,000 people with shops and 20 pubs.
The copper seams at Knockmahon were once described as “the most important in the (British) empire”. When they became exhausted in 1850 a new mine was sunk at nearby Tankardstown, where the deepest mine shaft, was over 1,000 feet below ground level with galleries extending inland and under the sea. It was initially powered by water wheels until steam engines were installed in the engine house to pump water out of the mine and raise the copper ore from below.
The mining heritage, along with the geology of ancient desert sandstone, fossil bearing limestone and seams of copper twisted together by volcanic activity, have enabled the area to be designated as the first European Geopark in the Irish Republic. The chimney and engine house have been adapted as the symbol for the Copper Coast
The above passage is an excerpt from my book, if you would like to see more, just click on the title…. Waterford – A County Revealed.