Posts by Little Ireland

Capturing what I can't put into words for posterity. I'm content with the silence, as it has so much to say.
The River Ehen

The River Ehen

The River Ehen is located at Wath Brow. Locally, it is known as Hen Beck. The River Ehen supports the largest freshwater pearl mussel population in England. This may be the last sustainable breeding population.

Exceptionally high densities (greater than 100 m2) are found at some locations, with population estimates for the entire river exceeding 100,000. The conservation importance of the site is further enhanced by the presence of juvenile pearl mussels.

The freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) is an extremely long-lived species of mollusc (a 134 year old mussel was found in Estonia in 1993), found in fast flowing rivers and streams across Europe. The pearl mussel produces small, beautiful pearls inside its thick shell which is anchored to the riverbed. However, freshwater pearl mussels are subject to increasing pressure, and their populations across Europe are listed as threatened by the IUCN due to habitat loss, declining water quality and illegal harvesting to provide pearls for jewellery.

The river Ehen was designated a Special Area of Conservation in 2005. The section of the coast into which it flows was designated as the Cumbria Coast Marine Conservation Zone in 2013.

The River Ehen
The River Ehen
Looking towards Cleator Moor

Week In Focus #48

This is #48 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This weeks photo looks over the West Cumbria town of Cleator Moor, towards the fells of Ennerdale.
Looking towards Cleator Moor
Looking towards Cleator Moor

Week In Focus #47

This is #47 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This weeks photo is of a typical West Cumbrian street – this is Trumpet Terrace, at Cleator.

Trumpet Terrace stretches for at least a quarter of a mile. These were built by eminent mine owner, John Stirling, who was responsible for many other public buildings in the area. The name is borrowed from a field name of adjacent farms.

Trumpet Terrace
Trumpet Terrace

For more images from this shoot, please visit Little Ireland.

Cleator Moor Revealed

Having spent the best part of last month rewriting my Dad’s old book, and adding new content, I’m pleased to be able to announce that it is now available to buy from Amazon. It is bigger, and better than before. You can GET IT HERE.

  • Cleator Moor Revealed is available worldwide from Amazon.

When my Dad’s book was released in 2003, it was the first to have been written about the former Cumbrian mining town in half a century. A limited print run of 1,000 copies quickly cleared the shelves.

During the first six months of its release, the book was constantly listed in the top 10 books of Cumbria. That accolade highlighted how popular local history and my Dad’s book in particular were. His old book is still proving just as popular today, with some book sellers charging in excess of £250 for second hand copies.

Cleator Moor Revealed will make an ideal addition to the collections of local history buffs; for those wanting to learn more about their roots; or simply as a gift for those that love the town, which is also known as Little Ireland.

Cleator Moor Revealed
Cleator Moor Revealed

Tom Duffy said:

Those that were living at Cleator Moor during the war years, will reminisce over the descriptions and old photographs of the town. The younger generation of today, will marvel at how Cleator Moor used to be one of the richest towns in the world due to incredibly pure iron ore deposits beneath the ground. This is a book for all to enjoy.

This is a fascinating book; combining a potted history with imagery of past times. It is sure to be a big seller once more.

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

This revised and updated version of Cleator Moor Revealed brings to you more content, and images of past times. Tom Duffy discloses the ‘highs and lows’ of a town which was once at the heart of British Industry, feeding the Industrial Revolution of Great Britain.

Cleator Moor, or Little Ireland, as the local residents affectionately know it, came into being during the 12th Century, with Monks working the land. The town grew from a few farmhouses into an important industrialised centre due to very pure Iron Ore that was held in huge quantities beneath the ground.

From a settlement of 330 in 1688, Cleator Moor grew to house 10,420 souls by 1871 – thirty six percent of whom were Irish. The Irish in Cleator Moor were predominantly Roman Catholic but the general influx into the mines and industry of West Cumbria also brought others of a different persuasion from the same country and with them a particular sectarianism to add to the anti-Catholicism of Victorian England.

For a short period, between 1860 and 1880, West Cumberland haematite held a monopoly control of the market. At that time, Cleator Moor became one of the richest mining areas in the world.

Through the pages of this book, you’ll discover important past events that help to preserve an Irish heritage, which is so important to the people and town of Cleator Moor. From the origins of its name through its development as a prosperous mining town, Tom Duffy has searched out all the kind of details that make this a fascinating read.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1687094950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1687094957
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Tom Duffy was born in 1937, raised and educated in Cleator Moor. Like many from the town, he has the obligatory Irish lineage; with a mix of Manx thrown in for good measure.

Following his school years, he worked for a short period of time at Brannons Thermometers, before gaining employment at the Miller shoe factory in nearby Egremont.

In 1955, Tom carried out his National Service with the Border Regiment, and then returned to Millers in 1957. In 1975, during a great depression, he was made redundant.

Tom secured employment with British Nuclear Fuels Ltd in 1976. Then, when he retired in 1999, Tom began to research the history of his home town, and released his first book in June of 2003.

Tom is married to Margaret, has three children and five grandchildren.

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Week In Focus #46

This is #46 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of a Victorian Verandah at Cleator Moor in West Cumbria.

The veranda outside of the former Co-op at Cleator Moor is an interesting feature and much loved by the locals. The Victorian Veranda was added to the Co-operative building in 1876. The verandah is glazed, carried on 13 cast-iron fluted Gothic columns with pierced spandrels and antefixe.

The verandah was restored 1984.

The building itself is topped with welsh roof, with stone coping to south end; brick mid and end chimneys. It has 3 storeys, 13 bays. The ground floor has a C20 shop front divided by original fluted and panelled pilasters carrying cornice on which verandah rests. Sashes without glazing bars in stone surrounds to upper floors.

Cleator Moor Victorian Verandah

A Portrait Of My Dad

A Portrait Of My Dad

I don’t normally do portrait shots. Maybe it’s a nervousness that has kept me away from doing them. However, I’m more than happy around family and this one was necessary for a project that I’ve been working on, in conjunction with my Dad.

In 2003, I helped my Dad publish his first book ‘Cleator Moor Revealed’. It was all about the history of a small town that came to prominence during the Industrial Revolution due to incredibly pure deposits of Iron Ore beneath the ground. As a result, the town became one of the richest in the world. But, due to advances in the Bessemer steel making process, hard earned successes went into decline.

Portrait Of My Dad
Portrait Of My Dad

Having seen old copies of my Dad’s book for sale on the internet at a ridiculous price of £250, I decided it was time to revisit it, and set about rewriting. When his book was first released, it had a limited print run of 1,000 copies. During the first six months of its release, the book was constantly listed in the top 10 books of Cumbria. That accolade highlighted how popular local history and my Dad’s book in particular were.

  • So, here we are. Sixteen years after it was first published, Cleator Moor Revealed is to be republished.

Cleator Moor Revealed will be available worldwide from Amazon. The book will make an ideal addition to the collections of local history buffs; for those wanting to learn more about their roots; or simply as a gift for those that love the town, which is also known as Little Ireland.

Those that were living at Cleator Moor during the war years, will reminisce over the descriptions and old photographs of the town. The younger generation of today will marvel at how Cleator Moor used to be one of the richest towns in the world due to the Iron Ore – with labourers living in slums and land owners emulating Kings.

Cleator Moor Revealed - ISBN 9781687094957
Cleator Moor Revealed – ISBN 9781687094957

A side project to the book has been the creation of a website which is dedicated to the town of Cleator Moor. The website is still in its infancy, but has attracted over 3,500 page views in the first week.

  • Locally, Cleator Moor is known as Little Ireland. During the early years when Iron Ore was dug beneath the town, hundreds of labourers fleeing the Irish potato famine came looking for work. By 1871, over thirty-six percent of the town was Irish.

Little Ireland, the website, will bring local history, news, and other snippets of information to the folk of Cleator Moor. It will also act as an advertising platform for the book, helping people to find their way through the jungle, which is otherwise known as Amazon.

  • Cleator Moor Revealed will be published on 20th September 2019.

About My Dad

Tom Duffy was born in 1937, raised and educated in Cleator Moor. Like many from the town, he has the obligatory Irish lineage; with a mix of Manx thrown in for good measure.

Following his school years, he worked for a short period of time at Brannons Thermometers, before gaining employment at the Miller shoe factory in nearby Egremont.

In 1955, Tom carried out his National Service with the Border Regiment, and then returned to Millers in 1957. In 1975, during a great depression, he was made redundant.

Tom secured employment with British Nuclear Fuels Ltd in 1976. Then, when he retired in 1999, Tom began to research the history of his home town, and released his first book in June of 2003.

Tom is married to Margaret, has three children and five grandchildren.

Week In Focus #45

This is #45 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of Carlisle Castle.

Carlisle Castle is situated in Carlisle, in the English county of Cumbria, near the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall. The castle is over 900 years old and has been the scene of many historical episodes in British history. Given the proximity of Carlisle to the border between England and Scotland, it has been the centre of many wars and invasions. Today the castle is managed by English Heritage and is open to the public. The castle until recently was the administrative headquarters of the former King’s Own Royal Border Regiment now county headquarters to the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and a museum to the regiment is within the castle walls.

  • I do apologise for the delay in providing this week’s photo. I’ve been incredibly busy with a project that I’ve been working on. I’ll update you on that later on next week. It’s worth the wait!
Carlisle Castle
Looking out, from within
Big guns protected the castle from marauding Scots
Barracks of The Kings Own Border Regiment
Quivers required
Leading to the Battlements
Inner Gatehouse
Fabulous Portcullis
Whitehaven Golf Course

Week In Focus #44

This is #44 of a weekly Photo Challenge that I set myself – there is no particular theme. The idea behind the challenge is to get myself outside into the Cumbrian countryside, at least once a week.

  • This week’s photo is of Whitehaven Golf Course.

The course was founded in the year 2000. It is a challenging course with many varied holes. Coupled with the spectacular views of Ennerdale and the surrounding fells. The course is 6246 yards, and features 9 ponds and 3 woodland areas.

For more information on playing a round, please visit:

Whitehaven Golf Course
Whitehaven Golf Course
The Fawn Cross

The Fawn Cross

On Jacktrees Road, between Cleator and Cleator Moor, and near the long gone south level crossing, there formerly stood a farmhouse, which collapsed years ago owing to the subsidence of the ground. There, the ancient Fawn Cross stood. It too plunged to the depths, but was recovered following an excavation. Despite the cross crashing down, it was found to be in remarkable condition.

The cross is of red sandstone, cut with a broad chisel, and of good workmanship. The head measures 19 inches across the arms, all three limbs expanding slightly and chamfered on their edges, with a small cockspur at the outer end of each chamfer. The ends are plain, flat, and un-chamfered, and the intersection of the arms is filled by a plain shield in relief on one of the faces. The shaft is broken short.

The Fawn Cross is believed to be medieval in nature, and perhaps pinpointed the direction of a local corpse road, for when a body was being taken to St. Bees for interment.

  • The Fawn Cross can now be found in the gardens of the Ennerdale Country House Hotel in Cleator.
  • Fawn Cross is a corruption of Fallen Cross.
  • Crossfield may take its name from the cross. It is believed the cross originated there.
The Fawn Cross
The Fawn Cross