Introduction

Not much is known about some old copper mines in County Donegal, which have some   unusual links to the past, but a typical example of such mysterious mines are those named as The Sudley Copper Mines, recorded by title only whilst their actual location has baffled many researchers, archaeologists and scholars for two centuries or more.

Their undiscovered existence in the landscape can be identified positively at last with the history of the site remaining as work in progress.  They have been mentioned previously in various texts and related documents belonging to the Earl of Arran, (Arthur Saunders Gore 1761-1837), but were never seen although named after a descendant of Gore, most likely his son.

This Gore family held their ancestral seat at Gore Castle near the town of Crossmolina in County Mayo. The castle was originally named Deel Castle but was changed when the occupancy reverted to the Gore family.

The Evidence

After studying documentary evidence, in the form of a rare manuscript map in the collection, dated 1811, it has proved once and for all their unusual location. The traditional belief that they were situated in a townland close to Barnesmore Gap, where the Lowerymore River meanders peacefully, was finally substantiated through map identification which was obtainable solely from the primary available source of 1811.

The insertion, in this unique survey map of the town-land of Mullinalauphy (now called Mullanalamphry), pinpointed the exact location.  Some years ago a group visited the site to attest the accuracy of the old survey.  The visit concluded by a full appraisal of the   unquestionable skill of the surveyor. No further investigation followed, only the desire to excavate the entire site, abandoned due to most inclement weather.

The Location

The position of these ancient pits in the town-land of Mullin-alauphy can be verified, with a little bit of challenging footwork.  Certainly today, the site merits a more thorough investigation if only for historical or possibly safety reasons. According to the map insert the location appears fairly accessible but the specific area is quite dangerous because of the sharp angle of the slope.

The field boundary, as indicated on the map, on which they are enclosed, was at that period of time in the tenancy of Widow Mary Devlin and Son. For identification purposes they are in the proximity of the fish-shaped island. (Refer map extract).