Avoca is a small town near Arklow, in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is situated on the River Avoca and has used as a filming location for several films and television series including the BBC's Ballykissangel.
Image: Avoca river at Avoca village
The Avoca area has been associated with its famous copper mines for many years and the valley has been celebrated by Thomas Moore in the famous song "The Meeting of the Waters". The name of the song derives from the meeting of the Avonmore and Avonbeg rivers, about two miles from the village of Avoca. The song is said to have been written under a tree, the stump of which remains by the Meetings.
Copper mining is reported to have begun in the Avoca River valley around 1720 and it continued, with interruptions, until 1982. Earlier mining, perhaps dating back to the Bronze Age, may have occurred. The East Avoca site, today, is composed mainly of a number of rock waste spoil heaps, abandoned quarries (Cronebane and East Avoca open pits) and disused roads.
The Mill at Avoca Village
Avoca Handweavers - this is a famous tourist destination, as well as a long time favourite among the Dublin and Wicklow communities. Built on the banks of the Avoca River from where it used to draw its power, you'll find a large Avoca store and cafe, and a working handweaving mill.
The mill itself dates from 1723, and is said to be the oldest extant manufacturer in Ireland. Many of the throws, rugs and scarves you'll find in their stores are woven here at the family mill. Initially the mill took the raw wool from the sheep of the surrounding valleys and through a process of carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving transformed it into clothing and blankets for barter and sale.
Visitors are welcome to see the whole weaving process at first hand with a tour. Admission is free and it is a great opportunity to see a working mill and to view the finished product in the store afterwards. The original whitewashed buildings of the old mill now house the store which carries an extensive selection of Avoca favourites - clothing, soft furnishing, gifts, food from the Avoca Pantry range and, as with all their shops, much more besides. And, of course, a café too, which is famous for its delicious lunches and home baking.