Our Joyce family heritage marble quarry is based in Ballynahinch in the heart of Connemara. It was first opened commercially around 1815 by local landlord, Richard Martin of Ballynahinch Castle. Richard Martin was an Irish politician who campaigned successfully against the cruel treatment of animals. He was also known as "Humanity Dick", a nickname bestowed on him by King George IV. In 1817 Richard Martin presented two tables to Ann O’Hara on her marriage to James Bourke, these are the first known pieces made from our decorative Irish stone. It is fitting that they are part of the Irish national collection and are now held in the ‘National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History’ at Collins barracks in Dublin.
When the quarry first opened it would have employed between 150 and 170 men, who were engaged in extracting and sawing the stone. In fact much of the marble utilised during the early nineteenth century was obtained from the famous ‘Ballynahinch quarries’. Buildings that feature our marble include the National Museum of Ireland, The National Gallery of Scotland, Emo court and the Museum building in Trinity College Dublin. In the 1870’s Richard Berridge purchased the Ballynahinch estate, including the quarries. By the late nineteenth century the marble was being used extensively in jewelry. Names like Shipton & Co, Grant, Joseph Cook & Son also William Johnson made pieces in both silver and gold. These vintage pieces are still highly valued and are increasingly difficult to attain. Connemara Green Marble jewelry has never gone out of fashion and can now be considered a classic. In the early 1900’s my gg grandfather bought the quarry and under his ownership Connemara Marble became ‘Irelands National Gem’