The Royal Gunpowder Mills at Ballincollig on the south bank of the River Lee in Cork have been restored and now are open to visitors.

From 1794 to 1903, black gunpowder was produced at the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Ballincollig, and shipped from there to all parts of the British Empire.  At its peak, the mills produced 16,000 barrels of gunpowder per year and employed 500 people. A demand for more modern types of ammunition at the start of the 20th century forced the mills to close, and it lay abandoned.

Cork County Council has found a new use for the old gunpowder mills. The restored buildings now house a visitor centre with a park and walking trails.  

But not recreated of course are the explosions which occurred during the history of the mills, sixteen in all, nine involving loss of life.

Even though the mills have only recently opened, the response from the public has been very positive, as manager Paula Cogan explains,

Already we have had a fantastic reaction from not only tourists, but also the people of Ballincollig, who never realised that this was sitting right on their doorstep.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 August 1993. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.