Buttevant Mill is located on the banks of the River Awbeg, between the town and the original castle grounds. The laneway that leads to the mill from the main street was called “MyInstrete” or Mill Street, suggesting a mill existed on or near this site at least from medieval times.
The flour mill was a focal point in the life of rural communities. This area of North Cork has very productive agricultural land and farmers brought their grain to the mill to be ground into flour. In North Cork there was enough grain for export to Europe and over the centuries this would have contributed to the Barry’s wealth. However, by the turn of the nineteenth century, the Barry fortunes had changed and Buttevant manor and castle were sold.
John Anderson purchased Buttevant manor and castle from the Barrys at the turn of the nineteenth century. In c1810, he extended and remodelled the existing mill. He created a substantial building, standing six storeys high. The turrets mirror those of Barry’s Castle, which Anderson had also remodelled to reflect contemporary taste. Anderson installed the most advanced milling machinery available. It was capable of producing over 20,000 barrels of flour annually.
Anderson became bankrupt following the Napoleonic wars and the mill passed to Brownings of Limerick. Brownings worked it until 1865. Over the next twenty years, it passed through several hands: Charles Corbett of Buttevant and William Walsh of Mallow. It was also idle for a while when the building and machinery were damaged.
In 1885 William Oliver of Kilfinane purchased the mill, restored the building and installed the Robinson Roller system instead of the grinding stones. The mill now ran on steam and a turbine water system and flour production soared. However, in 1930 the mill accidently burned.
Furney and McKay purchased the mill and began to restore the building. Half the building was restored by 1935 and full restoration was completed by 1947. They used local grains and imported grain to manufacture animal feed. When Furney and McKay left Buttevant in 1975, they were importers of coal and fuel oil. The mill passed briefly to Greens of Cork and then to Dairygold who used it to collect and classify grain from local farmers before sending it for milling. The mill was closed in 2000.