Underground tunnel rediscovered under Camlough mountain

November 8, 2011

By Bronagh Murphy

A partially-constructed underground tunnel, which was originally intended to give access to a massive hydro-electric pump storage station, has been rediscovered in Camlough.

The 1km long tunnel, wide enough to drive an articulated lorry into, was recently found deep under Camlough mountain.  It’s believed that it was created more than 40 years ago and marked the beginning of a development that would have led to a man-made cavern housing a power station capable of generating more than 200 megawatts of electricity.   Had it been completed, it would have provided a pumped hydro storage scheme, a simple and effective way of storing energy.  Ir’s a system that is used across the world and would have led to greatly reduced electricity bills for consumers across the north.

Although the onset of the Troubles may have had a bearing on the collapse of the project, it’s believed a number of factors led to the development being shelved.  Locals recall hearing of concerns over logistics such as the need to raise the water level in Camlough Lake, fears of flooding and compensation to land owners – all of which would have had a significant bearing on the overall cost.