Clinker manufacture operational: 1881-1914: 8/1919-1924
Approximate total clinker production: 230,000 tonnes
Raw materials: Carboniferous Limestone (Wexford Limestone Formation: 326-331 Ma) from adjacent pits. It appears that dredgings from Wexford harbour were used at one time.
Also known as Wexford works. It was started as a lime works by Henry Joseph Cooper in 1871. In 1881, with consultancy from Henry Reid, he converted it for Portland cement. Between the closure of Rialto in 1904 and the foundation of Magheramorne in 1914, it was Ireland's only cement plant. It had a dry process with a bottle kiln, soon increased to four, making 100 t/week. Three more larger kilns with a stack were added around 1890, yielding a further 90 t/week. Plant output is said to have peaked in the late 1890s. Major competition was from “marine” English plants (notably Vectis) that could ship into Wexford. The building of Rosslare Harbour nearby (1906) greatly facilitated this, as did the formation of APCM in 1900, and the plant declined in the 1900s. It became inactive in 1914 when fuel was no longer available. Cooper sold out to APCM in 1919 and the plant was restarted. The registered output in 1924 was only 120 t/week. However, operating costs were greater than the cost of shipping in, and a proposed upgrade to modern plant was blocked by the Free State government, which subsequently sponsored the establishment of the Drogheda and Limerick plants. The establishment of the plant corresponded with the building of the Wexford-Rosslare branch railway, with which it connected by tramways. This could in theory have allowed shipping from Wexford harbour, but it is unlikely that the small output went other than by rail, mainly to Dublin (150 km). Some of the plant is still in place, much overgrown, including four lime kilns, the three larger bottle kilns and the stack.
No rotary kilns were installed.
Sources: Hilary Murphy, “The Drinagh cement works: compiled from references in the files of The People, 1874-1936” in Journal of the Old Wexford Society, Vol 6, pp 38-44 (1976-1977)