Sylvester Donlon (b. 1912)
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Sylvester Donlon (b. 1912)


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Sylvie Donlon begins by describing the art of brickmaking in Gallen, Co. Offaly and explains that 1,000 bricks were made from twelve barrows of clay. One day’s work by a team would produce 5,200 bricks. The brickmaking team would include the Sourer, the Shearer, the Bankeer, the Barrowman (or Wheeler), the Rolleer, the Duster (usually female) and Moulder and the Offbearers. The activities and the role of each person are described in detail. The building of the brick kiln which included the forming of the arches, a highly skilled job is described. The firing of the bricks using turf is also described. The bricks were laid out to dry for 3-4 days initially on the ground, afterwards built into a structure with arches(the kiln) and then turf was set alight inside it to fire them. The transportation of the bricks on the canal is described in detail, as is the utilisation of horses to grind the clay in earlier days.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

Heritage Collection 2016


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

57.7 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Brickmaking in Co. Offaly

Recorded by:

Michael Devery