Stewarts is a family enterprise, based in Boyle, Co.Roscommon, Ireland.
In 1885 Hugh Stewart took over the running of the mill. The mill was built on the banks of the Boyle River, and here Hugh sank four subterranean turbines. Two of the turbines powered the mills, which in turn ground the grains. Farmers would bring grain in horse or donkey-drawn carts, or would have their grain collected and transported by carters, to be ground at the mill. During this period Stewarts became the main suppliers of animal feeds to farmers locally and in neighbouring towns.
The enterprise which closely linked the Stewart name with Boyle for over sixty years was the Direct Current Electricity Plan (DC). On Oct 12th, 1901 the success of the lighting of Boyle by Mr. Hugh Stewart was announced. The company Joseph Stewart and Co., Ltd. was incorporated in 1941 and continues to trade under that title.
Until the 1960’s electricity was generated from Stewarts’ Mills by a combination of diesel power, and hydro power from the two turbines on the riverbed.
Hugh Stewart managed both the mill and the electricity plant. Ever after his death they were interdependent, though under separate management. In 1966 the association between the mill and electricity in Boyle was ended when Boyle was connected to the ESB national grid.
By this time, the mill was under the management of the third generation of Stewarts. In 1990 the turbines were replaced and a new Kaplan turbine was installed which supplies some 130kWh of the mill’s needs today.
Joseph Stewart, a son of Hugh’s, took over the main mill on his father’s death. Under his management Stewarts broadened their distribution business. The second World War accelerated changes in the farming economy, and by the time of Joseph’s death in 1958 the provision of feed to the farming enterprises had grown to such an extent that modernisation of the mill was essential.
A programme to automate the mill began in 1963, under the guidance of the late Reggie, and director Hugh Stewart, taking three years to complete. The modernisation took the form of the installation of storage silos which were fed by a bulk-grain intake. A modern grinding system in conjunction with an automatic blending plant was incorporated into the mill. Since then the mill is being constantly upgraded and automated taking advantage of technological advancements and market requirements.
Nowadays the bulk grain, and raw materials from all over the world arrive in Boyle by lorry. The finished feeds incorporate raw ingredients, which are blended, under strict control, into any of a hundred different formulations to feed cattle and sheep.
The present Board includes a fourth generation of the Stewarts, Trevor and Neil Stewart.