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Windmill volunteers head to Ireland to learn about mills

Published: Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
Pam VanZuiden, a volunteer educator in Fulton, presents a program to the school children at St. Patrick's School in Skerries, Ireland. Photo submitted by Heather Bennett.

FULTON – Volunteers from De Immigrant Windmill and the Windmill Cultural Center journeyed to Ireland in October.

The purpose of the trip was to learn about the history of Irish mills, the way mills are operated in Ireland and how millers and volunteers interact with each other. Much of the funding for the trip was from a grant from the D.S. Flikkema Foundation. Additional funding was from donations from the windmill volunteer groups, as well as personal commitments from the travelers. 

Volunteer educators Betty Wiebenga and Pam VanZuiden were joined by volunteer millers Judy Holesinger and Heidi Kolk on the trip. The visit began in Skerries, Ireland.

They spent a portion of 4 days at the mill complex in Skerries, home to two windmills and one watermill.

The four travelers were treated to a tour of Martry watermill near Kells, Ireland, Oct. 13.

Miller James Tallon showed the new German-made paddles on his waterwheel.

The group was given a tour of the inside of the working mill and watched as corn was ground.

VanZuiden and Hol-esinger continued to explore Ireland’s mill history visiting both windmills and watermills in Enniscorthy, Tacumshane, Midleton, Tralee and Bective. They also spoke at the annual autumn meeting of the Mills and Millers ore Reland organization in Cavan. The meeting included tours of two local watermills. 

To contact the travelers, call the Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 815-589-4545 or email to contact Wiebenga.

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