Bannatyne’s Mill, Limerick City – November 2012

After cracking Rank’s Silo, there was still another building in the Limerick docks which was part of the Limerick trio we were trying to access, Bannatyne’s Mill. Similarly to the silo, this building was locked up tight on the sides within the docks with floodlights, a dome security camera covering two sides and all access well closed off. Access was there on the road side albeit a good 15ft up with no good climbing holds. The amount of traffic on this road meant that SRT wasn’t an option so just like the silo, all that we could so was to wait patiently for our chance.

This chance came one year later when the Shannon Foynes Port Company decided to start renovation works on the building. Scaffolding was soon erected around the entire perimeter of the building reaching all the way up to the roof. Similarly to the silo, we knew this would be our only chance to access this building for the foreseeable future.

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A photo from 2007 taken during a trip out here at 5am in the morning after noticing that one of the boards had recently been removed. Typically it led to a dead end!

So, without further ado myself and Stellaluna (who had also accessed Rank’s Silo last year during the short window of opportunity, although she did it on a solo venture!) decided it needed to be hit soon. We arrived in the early hours of the morning and made out a quick plan. Unlike the silo, this time the ladders up through the scaffolding were located within the docks themselves. In addition to this, security had gone to the trouble of shining huge floodlights along the lengths of the ladders so that you would be completely visible to anyone passing on the road below. Both of these factors made for a good challenge.

There were two sets of ladders leading to the roof, one set at each end of the building. The end facing the main active portion of the docks was too risky as it was overlooking a docked ship, was covered by a security camera and if security left their hut they would be able to see it clearly. So we had no option but to climb the ladders at the other end which faced the less active portion of the docks. The main worry here would be the passing traffic.

With a bit of monkeying about we quickly gained access to the docks themselves and crouched down hidden in the shadows. Once we were certain we weren’t seen or heard we made our way across to the base of the ladders. After making sure the coast was clear we started our mad sprint up the 9 ladders to the top level of scaffolding. Halfway up a truck appeared on the road facing us. We stopped moving and kept close to the ground/ladders hoping we wouldn’t attract the drivers attention. We were lit up like Christmas trees up here but luckily he didn’t seem to notice us and once he had gone by we burst off again up the ladders and emerged at the top level hidden by the green netting.

Once up here, the only access to the roof itself was at the opposite end of the building (at the top of the other set of ladders) so we had no option but to sneak our way around the length of the building on the top level of scaffolding. Once at the other side we had to perform a slightly dodgy maneuver, climbing up the slats of the slanted roof and edging ourselves onto one more short higher level of scaffolding. We could have taken the ladder but would have exposed ourselves to yet another CCTV camera (which was perched on top of the silo) if we had done so. Once up here we were able to make a quick dash to the roof and down through some rotten wooden stairs into the top of the building.

We were careful with the light from our torches, narrowing the beam so the light couldn’t be seen by security. We quietly made our way through the building all the way down to the ground floor.

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The ground floor of the mill near the main entrance

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The bottom floor was converted into a gift shop at some stage after the mill closed. This gift shop used to sell different types of crystal, clothes and fabric to the tourists passing through. This then closed in the late 80s/early 90s and the building has remained abandoned ever since. Due to this, there were loads of bits and pieces left over from this shop on the ground floor which made for some interesting viewing.

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It seemed the builders who were currently renovating the roof had been looking around the mill as well and left some creepy messages on the mirrors scattered around the building. “Slenderman is behind you” being the best!

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We looked through the upper floors in a bit more detail and found some pretty cool machinery left over from the mill and some strange grotesque petrified animals that looked like they had lain there for way too many years.

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After spending a good two hours exploring the inside of the building, we headed back up to the roof. There wasn’t as much left to see inside the mill as we had anticipated but due to the fact we had finally made it inside after such a long wait we didn’t really care too much. Again we followed the tricky route back down to the scaffolding at the side of the building and traversed around to the top of our set of ladders. We took a few shots as we waited for the coast to clear, we then made another quick dash down the ladders to the ground unseen and then slipped quickly out of the docks and onto the road. This one took a bit of effort and a long wait to finally get in but it was well worth it in the end and made for an excellent night time explore.

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