We had no idea where exactly this Green was, though we believed it was near Belfast.
Please read through the comments below for an absolute tour de force of virtual and in-person detective work - we now know this photo was taken near Kilbroney, Rostrevor, Co. Down!
Date: Circa 1890???
NLI Ref.: L_ROY_02416

Comments

Bwana_Samaki
The extensive enclosures by dry stone walls extending right up into the hills, and the nature of the hills themselves would make me think more of a large estate in County Tyrone or County Londonderry near the Sperrins. Is there a building of some sort behind the trees centre right in the picture I wonder? (and by the way why am I first, I am never first)
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
@16693700@N03 It's almost biblical! The last being first, and the first being last, and all that...
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Had a look at earlier images (though negative number sequences are not always to be trusted, and it's Beck's Linen Factory in Belfast...
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
There's a model bleach green in Cultra, but I doubt this is it. It's on a steeper hill for a start.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
www.geolocation.ws/v/W/File:The%20Ulster%20Folk%20Museum%20(5)%20-%20geograph.org.uk%20-%20440126.jpg/-/en
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Bwana_Samaki
If it is near Belfast then it is likely to be North of Lisburn/West Belfast in that case, Glenavy, Ballinderry or Hannahstown direction. The hills are too irregular for North Down.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@8468254@N02 That link didn't seem to work;-( A very interesting image Carol, you would imagine that spreading lovely white linen out on the ground in Ireland was a recipe for getting it covered in muck and grass stains. He looks like he's just turning out the hay rather than spreading expensive linen cloth!
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Niall McAuley
Those hills look a bit Castlewellan-ish
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
www.babcockancestry.com/books/babcock/113beck1stgeneratio... "...That the Beck family of Greyabbey are direct descendants of Adam Beck, the second of two brothers who settled in Ulster, some of the Becks of Greyabbey were engaged in the Linen trade and moved to Lisburn, County Antrim, and established a large Linen firm in that town..."
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
@swordscookie Oh, but think of the whitening from the sun! Assuming summers were not marshy, soggy, wet seasons back in the day...
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@nlireland SUN? Sun? What Sun???
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
@nlireland OK I better 'fess up here. I am a "Beck" and have some connection to things. My great gand father and grand father ran "James A Beck &Son" which was a chemical firm in Belfast that supplied many mills and other industry thorughout Ireland. Another Great Uncle was involved in Jennymount spinning mill. But I know from granddad's account of the firm that there were mills absolutely everywhere.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
 
Swordscookie
@vab2009 Ha, Ha! I knew there'd be skeletons in a closet somewhere;-) Good for you Viv, confession is good for the soul after all.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@8468254@N02 Yep, that worked!
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
The stone walls and the hills make me think of the Slieve Croob area or the Dromara Hills. The stone walk in the background looks rather fancy - more like a boundary to an estate and the trees look estate like too. The bleaching greens had watch towers for guards to prevent linen theft.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
Lisburn would have been the centre of the linen business; I think Barbour's Mills were the big one there. There were a load of mills in Hilden and in the town centre. I'll have to see what I can dig up. It's years since I've been there.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Bwana_Samaki
Then this is where it may have come from
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
Wherever you were, if you wanted linen bleach green expertise, Belfast was the place to look. Belfast News-letter March 12th 1870: bleach
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
@swordscookie I thing the 'fess up bit is that I remember so little of what grandad wrote :-( ..sort of went over my head .. and I was lousy at chemistry!
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
@vab2009 There you go. My mother's cousin was Larmer, and I know bugger all about sub-atomic physics. I can't remember if his precession is to do with orbial electron spin or if it's the bus seat rule.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
Google "bleach green" and you come up with a railway junction in Co antrim, and a railway viaduct in Co. Down and dozens of streets in every town with that name now. There was a bleach green around every corner. Not much help :-)
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
@8468254@N02 Lol!! Maybe you were good at Chemistry - I liked Physics :-)
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
This wee link talks about the linen theft and the towers. www.nmni.com/uftm/Collections/buildings/Rural-Buildings/T...
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
It looks like the view I remember of the antrim hills from down the belsize road in Lisburn, but google streetview is not being helpful in this regard.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
 
John Spooner
@nlireland The linen industry was boosted by shortages caused by the American civil war, and the Saxon linen industry (particularly in Oberlausitz) modernised from being a cottage industry to using big weaving halls and modern machinery, and led to the building of railways. Or so I've just read (I knew that German degree would come in useful one day).
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
The London Times reported in 1913 that "the Irish bleach, because of the suitability of the climate for the purpose, is admittedly the best, if not in practice without a formidable competitor." and "Linen is still sent from Belgium, France - where better and more rapid methods are gaining ground - and Germany to be bleached on Irish greens and then returned."
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Scadán Dearg
Learned something new today!
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
Some of the bleaching firms from my grandad's acount written in 1949 "Amongst the Bleachers may be mentioned - John Adams & Co., Dunadry; J. W. Charley of Dunmurry (still existing but no longer Bleachers); Coolsalagh Bleaching Co. of Dromore; Joseph Firth & Son of Springfield. Other works still in existence who at one time carried on bleaching on their premises were John Elliott & Co. now Springfield Factory; John Shaw Brown & Co. Edenderry; Robert Stewart & Son Ltd. Lisburn; James & Samuel Johnston, Highfield (now Beltex Ltd); Lindsay Thompson & Co. Ltd. Flax Street; Brookfield Linen Co. Ltd. Cambria Street; Rosebank Weaving Co. Ltd. Flax Street; George Gray & Son, Glenanne (now John Compton Ltd.). In the dyeing end or for the sake of consolidation, The Bleaching, Dyeing and Finishing end, the number of those who were, but now are not, is much larger. The following large concerns have disappeared - the Lisnafillan Bleaching, Dyeing & Finishing Co. managed by the renowned Mr Parker who was a warrior as far as prices were concerned; Arthur & Co. of Kells; Wm. Kirk & Partners Ltd. of Annvale; Dromona Works owned by Stewart J. Robinson, Glenalina Bleaching, Dyeing & Finishing Co. the site of which is now covered by an extension of the City Cemetery; Others in the Dyeing and Finishing end now gone were Tannybrake Dye Works, Kells, owned by Harry Kirk afterwards a man called Moody; John McIlroy, Duneoin; Robert Hanna, Dunminning; Moorfields Dyeing & Finishing Co.; Islandreagh Dyeing & Finishing Co. Dunadry; D & J Smith of Hollbrook, Randalstown; R.C. Ross Of Kildrum and Larne (two works), the former now a beetling Mill; Thomas Wynne & Co. of Lislea, Armagh; McKean, Sons & Co. Castleblayney; Thos. Adair & Son Ltd. of Cookstown Brown's afterwards Maybins of Tullylagan; John Henderson (Tapes) of Sherrygroom; Richardson & Niven, Lambeg, afterwards Factory Dyeworks; Suffolk Linen Co. Ltd., Dunmurry; Newforge Finishing Co., Newforge; Carnmeen Bleaching, Dyeing & Finishing Co. Newry; John Cowan & Co. Dunadry; Finaghy Finishing Co., Cullybackey."
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
If you're going to skulk about a bleach green at night, you'd better have a better excuse than John Harris of Castleblaney in 1833 bleach2 times jul27 1833
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
@johnspooner "... an appointment with some nameless fair one..." ! And what the hell had the 14 Orangemen been up to??
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@johnspooner Or at least have the nameless fair one nearby as a character witness!
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
@nlireland Freeman's the following Tuesday (July 30th) has several column inches devoted to the Orangemen's hearing. It has a familiar ring to it. In summary, "The prisoners were charged with assembling and walking in procession on 12th July inst. at Lurgan, for the purpose of celebrating the Battle of Aughrim, or the Battle of the Boyne.". Three were found guilty, and the rest acquitted. The final line of the report states "The trial excited great interest." John Harris's assailants were each given one year's hard labour.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
blackpoolbeach
@vab2009 I found 3 places called "Bleach Green" to the west of Durham City, England. Here is one of them on the 1861 map. www.british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx?compid=55116&...
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
There's a load of bleaching mills marked along the lagan canal on the OSNI maps. Could be outside one of them.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
Looks like it might be somewhere in Andersonstown/falls road area looking northwest, but no guarantees.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
robinparkes
I was thinking of the Sperrins for the landscape is not windswept and I haven't seen too many stone hedges that close to Belfast. Dunamore near Cookstown was one idea. The Glens of Antrim was another. I would expect that to be roughly a south facing slope so the Glens is a bit tenuous.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
The sun is from behind the cameraman, so we know that we're not looking south. Other than that, it could be anywhere. The cartload of stuff suggests that it's either near Belfast, near the canal or near the railway. You wouldn't schlepp that lot from Belfast to (for example) Banbridge on a horse and cart.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Reconstructing Light
Are they washing and recyling toilet rolls? Apparently the smell of the linen pits(not this photo) was utterly revolting and could be smelled from miles away.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
Sean Barden
Very interesting photo. The stone ditches would suggest to me that it was taken in a hilly upland region and the amount of exposed rocky scree on the hills in the background remind me of the Mournes or the Slieve Gullion area but more likely the hills around Slieve Croob in mid Down. The well constructed wall surrounded by trees in the background is intriguing and a closer look has convinced me it is a graveyard boundary wall. I can make out what look like several tall gravestones on the right and perhaps a tall white cross between the trees further left. Does anyone else think there is a graveyard behind that wall or am I seeing things?
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
robinparkes
@8468254@N02 That's why I'm thinking it's a south facing slope in that the photographer is facing roughly north. That landscape is not familiar to me and I've not strayed more than 10 miles from Belfast in my 65 years. I don't think the hills bear any resemblance to the hills around Belfast.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
BeachcomberAustralia
@fairviewdesign Yes, I too thought that was a graveyard in the middle distance. No sign of a church tower - possibly behind those trees?
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
Looks like a lot of places; maybe ravensdale or carlingford peninsula?
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
@fairviewdesign Good call. It's a graveyard alright.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
DavidK-Oregon
What an odd looking picture. Wish the true stories were always available on old shots like this one. Nice sharing though and lots of nice comments.
Posted: 07.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
More possibilities: Looking north out of Rostrevor from behind the graveyard on the Kilbroney road. I can't get streetview into the field so It's pretty speculative...
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
BeachcomberAustralia
@8468254@N02 I think you could well be right. The "V" of the overlapping hills behind is right if you jiggle around with the GoogleEARTH plugin. The field seems to have strange strips in it now from the GoogleMapsSatelliteView. What would they be? There is a ruined church in the graveyard which shows on the OSI Historic 6" map (apologies, I don't know how to link to that).
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
BeachcomberAustralia
" KILBRONEY, a parish, in the barony of UPPER IVEAGH, county of DOWN, and province of ULSTER on the road from Newry to Kilkeel ; containing, with the town of Rosstrevor, 4257 inhabitants. According to Ordnance survey it comprises 13,2058.25 statute acres of which 275 are woodland, about 5,000 arable and the remainder bog and mountain, the latter of which affords excellent pasture. Here are some large bleach-greens and some lead mines. ... "
From - www.from-ireland.net/lewis-topographical-dictionary-artic...
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
In terms of hill character, it looks more like Lislea from Vab's list, but I can't find an angle with both a bleaching green and a churchyard.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
I've located everything on the OSI 6-inch and checked in streetview and the only ones from @vab2009 that look halfway plausible are the ones around Andersonstown/Springfield area of Belfast, and @13073434@N03 is ruling those ones out.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
If I have too much time on my hands I may continue my policy of following every river in the country back from the sea and streetviewing every bleaching green that's marked on the 6-inch.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
 
Sean Barden
If I get time tomorrow I'll take a drive down and try and photograph the graveyard from the field.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
ccferrie
This has got to be one of the most amazing pieces of detective work to date on NLIreland. Well done derangedlemur and others for pinpointing the location so accurately (and I'm sure it's right) with so little info to go on.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
robinparkes
@8468254@N02 Stands back in amazement! That looks very plausible. What sent you in that direction?
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
@13073434@N03 The OSI 6-inch map. It has bleaching mills and greens marked. Once I noticed that they're all on bends or loops in rivers of roughly the same width I just trawled the map for suitable spots with a churchyard at the north end. There's only about half a dozen. I'll reserve judgement on amazing until @fairviewdesign confirms it though. I might just look like a spanner.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
Thank you for your votes of confidence, btw. I feel all clever now.
Posted: 08.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
While @fairviewdesign is out confirming the location, here are some goings-on at or near bleach greens, mostly as reported in the Belfast News-letter. WIlliam Hunter was caught red-handed in 1830 bleach green aug3 1830 This one got away, but the public were encouraged to take 'active and spirited measures' to bring the transgresser to justice: bleach jan 29 1830 The standard punishment for stealing in the 1830s and 1840s seems to have been seven years transportation, but compared to other punishments it doesn't sound too bad. Just don't come home before your time is done. 1832: bleach green jul 27 1832 and 1843: bleach green 1843 Working at a bleach green was not without its dangers. 2 men were struck by lightning in 1846 bleach green lightening  1846 and there is the very sad case of Michael McAleece in 1833. Not for the squeamish. Carol, you have been warned beach green death nov22 1833
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
Sean Barden
I think this is confirmation of derangedlemur's proposed location at Kilbroney near Rostrevor. Former bleach green - Kilbroney
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
Sean Barden
Griffith_Martin_Bleach_kilbroneymap
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
Sean Barden
Griffith_Martin_Bleach_kilbroney
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
@fairviewdesign I may be amazing but you are amazinger! Derangedlemur strikes again. Thanks a million or taking this. Above and beyond, and all that.
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
BeachcomberAustralia
@fairviewdesign @8468254@N02 Great work, well done! That would have been fun to do, if slightly spooky - the Ghosts of Photographers Past etc. I was concerned that the dry-stone wall had gone (from the satellite image), but there it is, under all that vegetation. Do we have a firm date yet?
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
robinparkes
@8468254@N02 Nothing short of brilliant! Congratulations. That's the best piece of detective work ever.
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@8468254@N02 Congratulations on your detective work,fantastic is the word!
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
robinparkes
@fairviewdesign Great work. Way above and beyond the call of duty.
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
Brilliant stuff!
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
In 1896 Kilbroney had a football team, known, believe it or not, as the 'Bleachgreens'. The local derby against Rostrevor Rovers sounds as if it was a rumbustuous affair. klibroney bleachgreens It was reported later that Sloan made a complete recovery, and at Warrenpoint Petty Sessions Martin was discharged with a caution.
Posted: 09.12.2012  
 
DannyM8
Well done @8468254@N02 fantastic work.
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
@johnspooner Adding great character there. In fairness, there was a big element to luck to this. It took me about fifteen minutes because I happened to start my search at Ravensdale and headed north. If I'd started at Moville and gone east I doubt my trifling attention span would have lasted.
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
The big question now is, have we startled Carol into some sort of fit or where is today's picture? (And my prize).
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
Congrats @8468254@N02 and @fairviewdesign - that is one super bit of detective work!
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
derangedlemur
@vab2009 Especially since I wasted the best part of an hour checking out your epic bit of misdirection.
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@8468254@N02 Carol gets a bit annoyed when the impossible is achieved and takes a while then to warm up on Mondays. It will probably be Tuesday before we hear from her after your work over the weekend. I didn't compliment @fairviewdesign for his part in confirming the location, well done and thank you for taking the trouble!
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
Vab2009
@8468254@N02 Sorry....snifle....I was just...snifle..trying my best........excuse me while crawl under my duvet... :-) I needed an excuse to go back to back to bed :-)
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
John Spooner
Lots of information and description of Kilbroney mill, bleach green and Kilbroney House in this notice of sale from March 1896 www.flickr.com/photos/89773100@N02/8259991595/sizes/l/in/...
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
@8468254@N02 Sorry for slow reply! Minor library emergency took me away from my dungeon, and then I obviously had to put some time into trying to come up with a suitable virtual prize for you and your detective partner @fairviewdesign. Thank you both so much! There have been mentions of "above and beyond the call of duty", and I wholeheartedly agree. There's a phrase used on Twitter that seems to sum you up (and by that I mean all of you) - Amazeballs!
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
billh35
Awesome piece of work everyone! The BBC should be making a programme about this....just as fascinating as "Heir Hunters" or "Who Do You Think You Are" etc...... I'm just off to make a phone call.... (By the way for anyone who follows WDYTYA it seems the programme about John Bishop (aired last week) had to be changed because they went looking for a relative in Ireland and found a "paramilitary" element and had to quickly change their search) "Hello.....is that BBC Norn Irun........yeah, it's me the Joker....yeah...the guy who found the founders of Primark....well wait to you hear what an idea I have for you........."
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
Swordscookie
@nlireland So the lads @8468254@N02 and @fairviewdesign are getting Amazeballs in their Christmas stockings as a prize?
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
Sean Barden
I don't think I deserve much of the credit. The tedious work of trawling the OS maps and knowing what to look for was all done by derangedlemur. Its always a pleasure to take me camera into the Mournes and it was an enjoyable challenge. By the way the little graveyard surrounding the ruined church at Kilbroney is fascinating in its own right and I spent a good hour wandering around it. The NIEA's on-line files are a wealth of info if anyone is interested... apps.ehsni.gov.uk/ambit/Details.aspx?MonID=8879 What they don't reveal though is that it is also the last resting place of Patrick Murphy known as "The Irish Giant" and was regarded during his lifetime as the tallest man in the world. For those with an idle curiosity for such things - follow the link below. www.thetallestman.com/patrickmurphy.htm
Posted: 10.12.2012  
 
BeachcomberAustralia
@fairviewdesign Fascinating stuff about the Irish Giant - thanks!
Posted: 11.12.2012  
 
Niall McAuley
From the nli archive: The Giant's Grave and an ancient headstone
Posted: 12.12.2012