An insight into the lives of coal miners, the coal mining industry and its relationship with East Tyrone.

There is a significant coal field in the area of Drumglass and Coalisland in the barony of Dungannon, County Tyrone. The civil parishes in which this coal field exists are Dungannon, Tullyniskan to the northeast of Dungannon, and Donaghenry to the northeast of Tullyniskan.

The town of Coalisland is located in Tullyniskan and Donaghenry A canal from the coal field to the Blackwater river, which in turn enters Lough Neagh to the east, was dug through Tullyniskan parish and Clonoe parish, which is to the west of Tullyniskan and southwest of Donaghenry. The coal was plentiful, but difficult to mine economically because of the many breaks in the coal seams.

The landscape around Coalisland is still scarred by coal mining and the industrial activity that stemmed from it. The coal seam, exploited from the 17C onwards, was abandoned because faults were present, and the last mine closed in 1970.

Spinning and flour mills operated nearby, and refractory clay was produced. The Coalisland Canal was the first British canal to be dug which incorporated inclined planes.

Produced & Presented by Proinsias O' Conluain

First broadcast 20th October 1979

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