Since its opening in 2003, Arigna Mining Experience has welcomed over 350,000 visitors. Our greatest form of advertisement “word of mouth” is proof that people are greatly impressed by their visit which appeals to both young and old. Accompany an ex-miner on a tour which is literally a journey through a miner’s life.
The dripping of water, the intensity of the darkness, the sight of the cramped areas in which the miners lay on their sides in pools of water, leaves visitors astounded that such working conditions existed until relatively recent times.
All tours given by ex-miners
- The total walking distance of the underground tour is approximately 475 meters and is all at one level.
- The walking surface of the mine is mostly tarmacadam and is suitable for any footwear
- The temperature underground is 10ºC / 52 F, so please wear an extra layer of clothing
- The visitor centre and underground tour are fully wheelchair accessible
- The tours last 45-55 minutes and are run on demand – usually every 30 minutes
- No dogs allowed inside our visitor centre or on tour except guide dogs
Our tour guides have over 150 years of mining experience between them!
The visitor experience
Before even reaching the impressive building, designed to emulate the slag heap remaining from the coal mining operations, the surrounding natural scenery of the area is the first aspect which strikes the visitor. The panoramic views across Lough Allen, onto Sliabh an Iarainn (The Iron Mountain) and the surrounding mountains and deep valleys are incredible. Regularly visitors will spend some time admiring this wonderful view, a totally unexpected jewel in their travels.Upon entering the building, the visitor is invited to explore the exhibit area which traces 400 years of mining history, and its impact on the culture and community of Arigna and the surrounding parishes.
The visitor then begins their tour underground, and an ex-miner acts as tour guide and takes the visitor into the mine. The tour underground is literally a journey through a way of life, which has been so authentically reborn through this amazing project that one cannot but leave without feeling they have had a totally unique experience. The tour is a fascinating journey through history which appeals to young and old, and leaves the visitor with an overwhelming sense of skill and dedication of generations of miners in conditions which were extremely difficult.
The crunch of the ground beneath the feet ,the dripping of water overhead, the intensity of the darkness in areas without lighting, the sheer sense of the incredible endurance of those men who worked here year after year, totally dependent on each other to stay out of danger or even to stay alive, appeals to all the senses. The sight of the cramped areas in which the miners lay on their sides in pools of water leaves the visitor amazed that such working conditions existed in relatively recent times. The underground tour takes about 40 minutes and feedback to date has been genuinely positive.