Thursday 2nd August 2018 outside the Parish Hall
Friday 1st June St Brigid’s National School, 54 students participated.
Up on the eastern section of the Castlecomer plateau, midway between Castlecomer and Bilboa, Coon (or Coan) is the smallest of the towns covered by this project. A nineteenth-century butter churning machine and culm grinder take pride of place at the centre of the village. These were particularly common on the plateau, where poor land for tillage led to local farmers concentrating their efforts on dairy, and on butter-making in particular. This would have been a communal facility, with a horse or donkey used to drive the gears that turned both the culm grinder and the butter churn. A culm grinder mixed coal slack – something else that was in plentiful supply on the plateau – with clay and water to form culm balls, which were used for burning. The communal butter churn likely fell out of use with the construction of the Coon Co-op
Creamery in 1925. Along with Ballyfoyle and Castlewarren, Coon was a collection point for milk, and the butter was then made in Muckalee Co-op – which was one of the original founders of Avonmore. In the early 1970s there were 153 suppliers to the Coon Co-op alone. Coon also has a strong tradition of blacksmithing and a plaque marks the location of the old forge in the village. A particular style of wrought-iron gate – incorporating the metal hoops from old mining buckets – can be observed around the locality. Coon gained national attention in early 2018 when the ‘Beast from the East’ rendered it isolated from all supply chains for 3 days. During the heavy snow the town located in Eastern County Kilkenny supplies had to be airlifted while the 200 residents were left without water and electricity.