By: Bill Martin
In 1824 the Mining Company of Ireland was formed by an Act of Parliament. In 1826 the Mining Company opened extensive collieries at Mardyke, in the parish of Killenaule. The Company leased the land for 21 years from three landowners, Palliser, Tighe and Ponsonby. At this time a steam engine was providing power for the workings and the company built an engine house and 9 dwellings for workmen. In 1829, 10 additional houses were built for workers. In 1831 the lease was extended for 41 years and in 1832, 6 more houses were built for the miners. Offices, a police barracks and a school, were also built and Mardyke became the first mining village in Ireland.
The Primary Valuation of Tenements for the area reports, that, by 1848 there were 33 houses in this village, three were vacant at the time of the survey. The families who occupied the houses were: – Alice Rochford, William Hunt, William Gleeson, Patrick Walsh and James Walsh, Thomas Stapleton, Eliza Hogan, Richard Morris, John Carroll, Patrick Hackett, Patrick Condon, Michael Gleeson, James Sweeney, John Pemberty, Thomas Gorman, Thomas Morris, Edward St. John, John Hogan, Timothy Gleeson, Thomas Heffernan, Thomas Sweeney, James Delaney, Charles Power, Michael Power, Tomas Morris, Edward Russell, John Brien, Patrick Power and Richard Power.
All the houses had slate roof, the village was divided into three streets: Puddle Street also known as River Street, Middle Street and High Street. The area was then known as “The Found” and still is today.
In 1833 mining ceased in Mardyke, uneconomic due ti the natural crushing of the seams resulting in a production ratio of 30% coal to 70% duff (clum) the Company extended its’ operation to Foilacamin and The Commons. In 1844 the Company leased the Earlshill and Ballyphilip collieries from Mr. Going. “This would place in the company’s possession the best anthracite coalfield in Ireland.”