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History



In 1791 John Auchinleck advertised for "an architect, who perfectly
understands the construction of flour mills to be wrought by water".

Ballydugan Mill was built in 1792. It was an engineering marvel. The latest
technology and the best materials were employed to create a vibrant
economic venture: eight vast floors producing flour, bran and starch,
powered by water, wind and steam. The mill contained four pairs of stones,
two of them French burrs. The whole property was valued at £62.00.

An imposing structure, six storeys high with two attics, the Mill is built of
Silurian rubble masonry, roughcast, has a cut stone eves course, and is
roofed in Bangor blue slates. The main block is 66ft by 48ft and 58ft high.
Included in the structure is a walled forecourt which links the mill building with
a row of stores 96ft in length pierced by an entrance gateway. As the water
from Ballydugan lake was only sufficient for eight months in the year, the mill
had a 25h.p. Steam engine.

The Mill provided wealth for its owners and jobs for the community. These
were the all too brief glory days of Lecale's agricultural society prior to is
demise along with other industry in the area. By 1857, less than 70 years
later, the Ballydugan Mill, a deserted giant, lay desolate. For more than 125
years it was allowed to fall into ruin.

It took vision and commitment to restore the Mill to its former splendour. In
1987 the Mill was bought by Noel Killen, a local contractor renowned for his
love of traditional Irish buildings. After many years of hard work, the
restoration project was completed and the Old Mill was given a new lease of
life. The charm and majesty of the building led to it finally being given the
listed building status that it richly deserves.

It was always Noel's aim to open the mill to the public and allow others to
appreciate the beauty and majesty of the building. As a result of years of
work The Mill at Ballydugan now incorporates a ground floor Café (The
wheelhouse) First floor restaurant (The Lecale Restaurant), and 11 en suite
bedrooms now occupy the second and third floors, with unique, scalable, and
adaptable function facilities catering large parties, wedding receptions and
conferences.

The top floor of the Mill has been converted into a permanent exhibition
featuring a compilation of the history of Ballydugan Mill, the process of
reconstruction and the mill's place in the economy of South Down.

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