Tankardstown Engine House – Waterford, Ireland - Atlas Obscura

Tankardstown Engine House

Waterford, Ireland

Impressive mining ruins overlook a spectacular view of Ireland's Copper Coast.  


Ireland is known for its stunning coastlines, where craggy cliffs dip into the wind-whipped waters far below. The Copper Coast, which wraps around County Waterford, offers a particularly fascinating blend of geological beauty and mining history.

From their grassy perch high above the beach below, the ruins of the Tankardstown Engine House add an industrial flair to a stretch of scenery otherwise dominated by clifftop views of the Celtic Sea. The site was once part of a Victorian mining site that thrived in the nearby village, thanks to the area’s rich abundance of available minerals.

In the 19th century, the Tankardstown Engine House was a hotspot of industrial activity. During the height of the mining boom, roughly 1,200 worked within the hub. Those who worked at the site were responsible for pumping water out of the copper mines and winding ore up from deep within the earth.

Since the mine closed in 1877, the old buildings have become architectural relics of the village’s mining past. Now, the site is part of the Copper Coast Geopark, one of three UNESCO Global Geoparks in Ireland. While exploring it, you can get an up-close look at the ruins as well as the old mine workings and mineral veins that streak the ground.

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