County Clare - A description in 1845

A maritime county, forming the north-west district of the province of Munster. It is bounded, on the north, by Galway bay and the county of Galway; on the north-east, by the county of Galway; on the east, by the county of Tipperary; on the south-east by the county of Limerick; on the south, by the counties of Limerick and Kerry; and, on the west, by the Atlantic ocean. The river Shannon, from the broadest part of its expansion of Lough Derg, down to its embouchure at the Atlantic ocean, forms all the eastern and southern boundary-line; the rivulet Bow, which falls into Lough Derg, traces the north-eastern boundary; and a rivulet which falls into Galway bay traces part of the northern boundary; so that the county is completely peninsulated, and has but a comparatively small extent of artificial boundary-line. Its outline is irregular; yet may be regarded as oblong, extending east and west, and sending out, between the Shannon and the Atlantic, a triangular projection. Its greatest length, from east to west, is about 52 miles; its greatest breadth, from north to south, is about 33 miles; and its area comprises 455,009 acres of arable land, 296,033 of uncultivated land, 8,304 of plantations, 728 of towns, and 67,920 of water, in all, 827,994 acres.

Surface]-The surface of the county is exceedingly irregular. Mountains are, for the most part, so uncontinuous, groups of heights are so broken, twisted, and mutually dissevered, and plains, bogs, valleys, moors, lakes, and uplands are, in so many instances, flung together in confused intermixation, that only a very minute description, one so minute as to be perplexing and even scarcely intelligible, could be strictly accurate. In a general view, a grand group of mountains covers an area of about 150 square miles in the north-east and east, a great champaign district forms the centre of the county, from the northern boundary, along the Fergus, to the Shannon, and a vast district of about 400 square miles, between the champaign country and the Atlantic, consists, for the most part, of high grounds, which are now mountainous, now a series of bold broken swells, and now a mass of spreading, flattened, moorish, bleak, and semi-chaotic hills. The chief portion of the mountain-group in the east of the county consists of the Slieve Baghta mountains, which raise their principal summits to the altitude of from 2,000 to 2,500 feet, and are prolonged across the northern boundary a considerable distance into the county of Galway; and the chief single mass in the western region, is Callan mountain, a huge conglomeration nearly in the centre of the district, lumpish, broad-based, many-summited, and many-spurred. A succinct view of the county’s intricate surface in sections, may be obtained by reference to our articles on its several baronies.

Coasts.]-The extent of coast on Galway bay, from the boundary with the county of Galway westward to Black Head, is 9 miles; the extent on what is called the South Sound, from Black Head, south-south-westward to Haggs Head, is 13 miles; the extent directly upon the Atlantic round the long gentle curvature of Mal bay, from Haggs Head south-south-westward to Loop Head, is about 38 miles; and the extent on the Shannon, along the general but not the numerous subordinate sinuosities, from Loop Head eastward to the termination of the estuary at Limerick, is about 48 miles. The northern coast is so indented and serrated by ramifications of Black Head bay, that, if measured along sinuosities, it might probably prove to be treble the extent we have stated; and it abounds in coves, creeks, and small natural harbours, which might be made richly subservient, and have already been in part made so, to the prolific fisheries of Galway bay, and the seas immediately north of the Arran Islands. The coast of both South Sound and Mal bay, or all the extent from Black Head to Loop Head, is prevailingly bold, rocky, and iron-bound; it is indented by only the inconsiderable bays of Liscanor and Dunbeg, and a few very small creeks; and, though possessing capacities for the somewhat general prosecution of fisheries, it frowns destruction upon merchant-vessels, and demands great precaution, and some peculiar contrivances on the part of fishing-boats. Its cliffs average about 100 feet in height; but frequently rise to 400 or 500 feet, and occasionally to near or quite 1,000; they are variously mural, precipitous, shelving, and shattered; they display, in their rents, caverns, escarpments, and ponderous debris, the memorials of many a sublime and terrific conflict with the Atlantic; they are extensively flanked with islets, stacks, and massive rocks, which have been torn from them by the violence of surge and gale; and, in their lower parts, or even where they have 100 feet of altitude, they are sometimes overleaped and submerged by the tremendous mountain-billows which assail them in a storm. "Some faint idea," says Mr. Hely Dutton, "may be formed of the force with which the waves of the sea are impelled by the western storms, when it is known, that cubes of limestone rock 10 or 12 feet in diameter are thrown up on ledges of rock several feet high near Doolen; and at the same place may be seen a barrier of water-worn stones, some of them many tons weight, thrown up above 20 feet high across a small bay, into which fishermen used to land from their small boats, and where their former quay, surrounded with huts, remains many yards from the sea: this has occurred in the memory of many living at present." Nearly all the great prevailing extent of rocky coast is suffering a demolition which, though slow, is as steady as the terrible abrasion by the sea; but the few parts which have a fine sandy beach receive constant accessions of debris from the restless surf, and are observably pushing an invasion of land upon the ocean. So characteristically are the numerous islets along the coast mere skerries and stacks, that the only noticeable ones are Mutton-Island and the Enniskerry-Isles, both situated off the north side of the entrance of Dunbeg bay. The coast on the Shannon, from Loop Head to the entrance of the estuary of the Fergus, or over a distance of about 32 miles in a straight line, varies in character from bold and precipitous to low and meadowy, possesses numerous creeks and the three bays of Carrigaholt, Kilrush, and Clonderalaw, is subtended by Hog and Scattery Islands, and several inconsiderable islets, suffers, up to Kilrush, the careering and tumultuous sweep of the "rollers" of the Atlantic, sends out, nearly opposite Tarbert, the large peninsula of Clonderalaw, to produce the pent-up rush of the tides called "the Race of Tarbert," and, though possessing some harbours, and many considerable fishing communities, is very slenderly subordinated to enterprises of navigation and traffic. The estuary of the Fergus opens from the Shannon with a width of 5 miles; penetrates the county northward to the extent of 7½ miles; is sprinkled over with numerous islets and islands, 9 or 10 of which are of noticeable magnitude; and has almost everywhere silty shores, and a low and meadowy sea-board. But a fair notice of this estuary, and of the Shannon above it, as well as a fuller view of the Shannon below, properly belongs to separate articles: FERGUS and SHANNON.

Climate.]-The strong gales from the Atlantic are supposed to be more frequent and severe than at a period within the recollection of persons who were alive at the commencement of the present century. So unfriendly are these gales to the growth of timber, and so far is their influence felt, that trees upwards of 50 miles from the sea, if not sheltered, lean to the east. The air, though moist near the sea, is not unhealthy, and does not occasion any inconvenience to the inhabitants. Slow fevers sometimes run through whole parishes, and sweep away many of the population; but they are supposed to proceed chiefly from want of cleanliness; and may have had no additional causes except the free use of ardent spirits, and the exhalation of miasmata from undrained and unplanted morasses. The average climate appears to be salubrious, and even has the fame of promoting many instances of longevity. Frost or snow is seldom of long continuance.

Waters.]-The river Fergus rises in the barony of Corcomroe; runs through the lakes of Inchiquin, Tedane, Dromore, Ballyally, and several smaller lakes; flows past the town of Ennis; receives various tributaries, the chief of which is the Clareen; and begins to expand into its beautifully outlined and picturesquely isleted estuary a little below the village of Clare. A stream issues from Lough Terroig, on the boundary with the county of Galway; runs southward to the beautiful Lough Graney or Lake of the Sun; pursues a serpentine course of 4 miles to Lough O’Grady; collects there the waters which several rivulets bring down from the mountains; and then runs eastward to Lough Derg, at the picturesque bay of Scariff. The river Ougarnee collects its headwaters in Lough Breedy, 2 miles south-south-west of Lough O’Grady; runs southward to Lough Doon; receives an affluent from Lough Clonlea; forms a small lake near Mountcashel; and pursues its southerly course past Six-mile-Bridge, to the Shannon opposite the embouchure of the Maig. Ardsallas rivulet rises in the barony of Bunratty; receives a considerable affluent from the barony of Tulla; and falls into the north-east extremity of the estuary of the Fergus. The Blackwater rises in Tulla, and has a course of about 6 miles southward to the Shannon, a little above Limerick. The Clareen rises in the barony of Islands; and, after a very devious course of 10 or 11 miles, falls into the Fergus a little north of Ennis. A stream of about 16 miles in length of course, rises on the west side of Mount Callan; forms Lough Dulogh; runs chiefly southward in a line parallel with the coast; and then proceeds westward to the Atlantic at the head of Dunbeg bay. A stream rises near the source of the Clareen, in the barony of Islands; and runs about 8 miles southward to the Shannon, at the head of Clonderalaw bay. The Innistymon or Forsett river rises on the south side, and circles round the east side of Mount Callan; divides for 2 miles the baronies of Ibrickane and Islands; runs across Inchiquin, and between that barony and Corcomroe; falls over a very large ledge of rocks at Innistymon; careers thence into the head of Liscanor bay, forming a very dangerous passage at high water; and has altogether a length of course of about 16 or 17 miles. The Bow rises a little east of Lough Terroig, has most of its course on the boundary with Galway, and falls into Lough Derg, 1¼ mile north-east of Scariff. Very many rivulets and brooks traverse almost every part of the county, except the barony of Burren; but they generally take their names from the villages or other most remarkable localities which they wash, and, in consequence, are changeful in designation, and not very distinctly known to topography. Lakes and loughlets are so numerous, that upwards of 100 figure in topographical nomenclature; and several, such as those of Graney, O’Grady, Tedane, Inchiquin, Cloonlea, and Inishcronan, are of considerable size. Turloughs, as in Galway, are numerous; they are temporary or periodical lakes, formed either by the accumulation of surface-water, or the forcing up of subterranean water by the flow of high absorbed rills; and they usually present an alternation of winter-lake, and rich summer meadow. Mineral springs, chiefly chalybeate, are numerous; the principal, or those whose medicinal properties have, in any degree, become known to local or more general fame, are at Lisdounvarna, at Scool, in Inchiquin, at Cloneen, about a mile north-west of Lemenagh-castle, at Kilkisshen, and at Cassino, near Milltown-Malbay.

Minerals.]-Three fields of schistose rocks, chiefly argillaceous, occur in the eastern mountain division of the county: the smallest measures about 8 statute square miles in area, and extends, east and west, on a narrow belt, upon a line about 5 miles north of Limerick; the largest measures about 55 statute square miles in area, and extends 15½ statute miles south-south-westward from the Shannon, in the immediate northern vicinity of Killaloe; and the third measures about 40 square miles in area, lies north of the former, surrounds Lough Graney, and touches both the western and the northern, but not the north-western, boundary. Three or four small patches of the same schistose formation occur near the outskirts of the last or most northerly of the three fields. An old red sandstone formation, partly stratified and partly conglomerate, completely surrounds and insulates all the schistose fields, and, of course, follows the outskirts of the two larger beyond the limits of the county; yet it is divided into two great sections by a long tongue or peninsula of carboniferous limestone, which comes down to Lough Derg at Scariff; and it probably measures, in aggregate area, very little if any more than the aggregate extent of the schistose formations. A very narrow zone of yellow sandstone, partly stratified and partly conglomerate, engirds the northern section of the old red sandstone; and follows it, as that formation follows the schists, beyond the limits of the county. The Slieve Baughta mountain region, or eastern upland territory, has, in consequence, been not very inaccurately, though rather loosely, described as "consisting of a nucleus of clay-slate," only the nucleus is comparatively a very large one, "supporting flanks of sandstone, intruded through a break, in the surrounding limestone plain, in the same manner as the Slieve Bloom range on the opposite bank of the Shannon." The limestone formation, including not only carboniferous or mountain limestone, but the lower limestone calp or black shale series, and the upper limestone, occupies all the northern part of the county for 6 or 7 miles south of Black Head, all the central, champaign district, down to the Shannon, and all the area to the east, not occupied by the formations already named, and constituting two peninsulae or narrow and prolonged projections from that main body to the boundary, the one along the edge of the Shannon to a point 7½ statute miles above Limerick, and the other to Lough Derg at the head of Scariff bay. This limestone produces a surface of exceedingly various contour; and, towards the north, it rises into elevations of very rugged, broken, and amorphous outline; and, throughout the barony of Burren, it assumes appearances so unusual as to constitute a phenomenon, extensively lying in huge, naked, angular, disrupted blocks upon the surface, and at other places, seeming for miles to cake all the ground over with a hard white crust. A coal formation, including the shales, sandstones, and trappean veins and nodules which so generally accompany coal, occupies all the great tract westward from the limestone to the Atlantic, comprehending an area, at the lowest estimate, of 600 or 650 statute square miles. Many parts of this formation, especially in the bold escarpments which confront the ocean, are so diversified in aspect, so contorted and altered by trappean intrusions, and so alternately stratified and massive or amorphous, that the whole has often been hastily pronounced "a clay slate and trap formation."

The rocks of the county, if duly examined, and rendered freely accessible for purposes of export, would probably be found extensively productive in useful stones, earths, and metals; and, even under the very limited inspection which they have received, are known to possess sufficient wealth to attract the special attention of the economist. A very fine black marble, susceptible of a fine polish, and free from the large white spots which disfigure the Kilkenny marble, has been raised at Craggliath, near Ennis. Limestone, of very various texture, yet generally rich enough in carbonate to be an excellent manure, might be worked in almost every part of the great limestone district; limestone gravel also is comparatively abundant, and forms a ready manure; and, in places where its scarcity combines with its manurial value to render it specially noticeable, it occurs of the following varieties, reddish limestone, in Glenomera, barony of Tulla, glimmery black limestone, near Six-mile-Bridge, black fossiliferous limestone, and black schistose or laminated limestone, in the glen of the Slieve-an-Oir rivulet, which runs on the boundary with Galway, and black limestone, within high-water mark, on the shore of the Shannon, about 2 miles above Carrigaholt. Very fine sandstone flags of the coal formation, curiously separated by serpentine insertions between the layers, are raised a few miles from Kilrush. Thin flags of the same class, capable of being split into sufficiently thin laminæ to be used as slating upon strong roof timbers, are raised near Innistymon, and cover the houses over a surrounding district of many square miles. Sandstone slates, similar to the former, but so much thinner that a ton will slate about a square or 100 feet, are raised at Ballagh. Slates of the same kind are quarried also at Glenomera, and at various places in the west; and the Broadford and Killaloe slates have long been celebrated, are regarded as nearly equal to the best Welsh slates, and are so thin that a ton will cover nearly three squares. Though workable coal is not known to exist, except in a very limited district on the Shannon about 11 miles above Kilrush, specimens from various other localities were lodged 36 years ago, and earlier, in the museum of the Dublin Society; among these specimens, as enumerated by Mr. Dutton, are coal from several parts of Mount Callan; from a stratum of 12 inches, near Longhill ferry; from a seam 3 feet thick, in the face of the rock, a little above high-water mark, at Liscanor bay; from the shore of the Atlantic, within high-water mark, near Mutton Island; from a thin seam, in a stream which divides the estates of Lord Milton and the late Lord Clare, to the west of Carrigaholt; from a seam, at Fieragh or Foraty bay; and from a stratum, 4 inches thick, about midway between the base and summit of Mount Callan. A vein of purple fluor spar, similar to that worked into ornaments in Derbyshire, and occasionally producing cubic crystals, occurs at Doolen in the barony of Burren; but it has been turned to little practical account, and seems not to have been explored or very well examined. Copper pyrites occur at Doolen and other localities in Burren; and an attempt was, at one time, made in that barony to work a copper mine. Lead ore, in some instances apparently rich and abundant, occurs on the Colpoys estate near Tulla, on the lands of Class, in various parts of the estate of Lemenagh, and in Glendree near Feacle. Iron ore, variously in the stone and in the ochreish state, has been found at Class near Spansel Hill; near the edge of the Ardsullas rivulet; on Goat Island in Mal bay; in a large flat on the top of a cliff, opposite Goat Island; near the road between Corrofin and Ennis; on the shore of Liscanor bay; and near Pooldagh, or the Bulloch’s pool, on the Mal bay coast. Manganese has been found at the spa of Fierd, on the shore near Cross; at Kilcredane Point, near Carrigaholt; in the vicinity of Newhall; and on the edge of a bog near the river and the village of Innistymon. Antimony, potters’ clays, valuable ochres, and other useful minerals have also been observed.

Vegetables.]-Only plants which are rare, or at least not altogether common, need be named. Arundo arenaria, sea-reed, or sea-matweed, on the beach of Burren, feeds cattle in winter, and serves as thatch of 20 years’ duration for houses. Asperula cynanchica, squinancy-wort or small woodroff, is plentiful on the sandhills of the west coast, and on the limestone rocks near Corrofin. Gallium pusillum, least mountain bed-straw, abounds in the limestone rocks at Magherinraheen. Gentiana verna, spring gentian, is plentiful at Glaning, near Galway bay. Gentiana amerella, autumnal gentian, abounds on limestone soil north-east of Corrofin. Sium latifolium, broad-leaved water-parsnip, is plentiful on the side of the Fergus above Ennis Bridge, and in ditches near Corrofin. Sium repens, creeping water-parsnip, occurs in a marsh on the Fergus, above Ennis Bridge. Butomus umbellatus, flowering rush, occurs in ditches near Corrofin and D’Esterre’s Bridge. Arbutus uva ursi, red-berried trailing arbutus, abounds, in company with Dryas octopetala, on the limestone mountains of Burren. Potentilla fruticosa, shrubby cinquefoil, grows on the bottom of turloughs, near the base of the Burren mountains, and at Magherinraheen. Nymphæa alba, white water-lily, is common in the lake of Inchiquin and in many other places. Ranunculus lingua, great spearwort, grows in a marsh at the side of the Fergus, above the bridge of Ennis. Nepeta cataria, nep or cat mint, grows on the road side, opposite to Limerick. Turritis hirsuta, hairy tower mustard, abounds on the rocks at Clifden. Geranium lucidum, shining crane’s-bill, covers and beautifies the thatched roofs of many of the houses of Ennis. Carduus nutans, musk thistle, has occasionally, yet rarely, been picked up on the side of the north road from Corrofin toward Gort. Hydrocharis morsus ranæ, common frog bit, occurs in a marsh of the Fergus above Ennis. Lycopodium selagenoides, alpine club moss, abounds in moist grounds near Glaning, at the base of the Burren mountains. Aspidium thelypteris, marsh aspidium or polypody, occurs in a marsh above Ennis. Iris fœtidissima, stinking iris, is found in Ennis church-yard. Cock’s foot panic-grass has offered a few scarce specimens on the sandhills of Dough, near Lehinch. Lysimachia vulgaris, yellow loose-strife, grows on the east bank of a loughlet adjoining the lands of Drumkevan. Pimpinella magna, great burnet saxifrage, is found about the high road at Rosstrevor. Vaccinium vitis Ideæ, red whortle-berry or crow-berry, covers many of the rocky mountains. Sedum telephium, or pine or live-long, covers the walls of the old fortalice of Cahiromond, near Kilfenora. Mentha pulegium, penny royal, grows rather plentifully in the churchyard of Ennis. Betonica officinalis, wood betony, occurs in the wood, by the river side, at Corronanagh. Cardamine bellidifolia, daisy-leaved lady’s-smock, has been found on the rocks about Finto. Cheiranthus sinuatus, sea-stock, has, in a few instances, been found at high-water mark, around the sandhills of Dough. Althæa officinalis, marshmallow, is prodigiously abundant in all the salt marshes of the Shannon and the Fergus. Gnaphalium dioicum, mountain cudweed, abounds on the Burren mountains. Viola lutea, yellow mountain pansy, grows on the sandhills of Dough and Ballinguddy. Satyrium hircinum, lizard orchis, occurs in very shady situations, among shrubs, in the barony of Tulla. Some remarkably fine myrtles, both broad and narrow leaved, well-furnished, and upwards of 18 feet high, have been grown on open ground at Ralahine and Bunratty. Cyder orchards, for the production of the beverage called Cackagee, were formerly of considerable note, but seem to have fallen into disrepute. The Cackagee apple is remarkably sour; and, in consequence of its being always a scanty crop, and of its growing chiefly in the neighbourhood of the sea, on spots little subject to frost or snow, it almost necessarily wears out the patience of cultivators. In 1841, the planted woods consisted of 1,962 acres of oak, 327 of ash, 13 of elm, 42 of beech, 372 of fir, 5,014 of mixed trees, and 574 of orchards; and of these there were planted, previous to 1791, 1,284 acres of oak, 177 of ash, 1 of elm, 23 of beech, 1,402 of mixed trees, and 206 of orchards. But the number of detached trees, additional to the woods, was 222,169, equivalent to 1,389 acres; and thus the total actual amount of plantations was 9,693 acres.

Soil and Pasture.]-The soil of the various districts corresponds, to a large extent, with the geognostic formations which lie below it; yet is modified over a very considerable area by the growth and decomposition of the moss-plants, by the intermixation of different kinds of diluvium, and by the alluvial depositions and the vegetable decays of the rivers, lakes, and turloughs. Mr. Hely Dutton, the statist of the county, classifies the soils by attention simply to their proper or immediate materials; and, in offering a succinct view of their distribution, we shall follow him as a sound, practical authority. The soil of by far the greater part of the western mountainous district, south of Doolan, and also of the eastern or Slieve Baughta mountainous district, consists of moor or bog, varying in depth from two inches to many feet, and lying upon a ferruginous or aluminous clay, or upon sandstone rock. The soil of the Burren mountains, and of the adjacent heights of the limestone district, so far as these singularly naked uplands possess any soil, is of course the gravel and diluvium of limestone, often very shallow, but everywhere free from moss, and surprisingly opulent in both the quantity and the quality of its herbage. The soils of a belt of partition between the calcareous and the schistose regions are formed by the intermixture of the debris from the different classes of rocks, and constitute-as at Lemenagh, Shally, Applevale, Riverston, and other places-some of the best land in the county. The soil in the neighbourhood of Quin Abbey is a light limestone; and a large and charming tract of fine tillage ground extends many miles on all sides of the point at which the parishes of Quin, Clonlea, and Kilmurry meet. But the pride of the county are alluvial flats or bottoms which extend partly along some second-rate streams, but chiefly along the Fergus and the upper part of the Shannon, and which are provincially called corcaghs or corcasses. They indent or intersect the adjacent high grounds in a great variety of shapes; and they are various in breadth, and aggregately constitute an area which has been estimated at from 10,000 to upwards of 20,000 acres, and which may possibly accord with either of these figures agreeably to the more stringent or the more lax sense in which alluvial ground is understood. These lands appear to be characteristically argillaceous, or to consist of a deep, dark-coloured earth, over a black or bluish clay, and are designated black and blue corcasses, according to the nature of the substratum: the black is less retentive than the blue, and is most esteemed for tillage; and the blue consists, to the surface, of a tenacious clay, and is reckoned best for meadow. They are usually thought to be of vast depth; but have been ascertained, in at least one locality, to lie upon limestone gravel at not more than ten feet from the surface. A part of them, called Tradree or Tradruihe-supposed to be a corruption of Terre de Roi, ‘the land of the King,’ is asserted by tradition to have been the private patrimony of Brian Boromh, and is proverbially fructiferous.

So exceedingly fertile are the blue or meadow corcasses, that 500 acres near Bunratty-castle, usually let, so long as 35 years ago, at 7½ guineas per acre, and, though generally mowed in the middle of July, sometimes produced 8 tons of hay per acre, and generally were so fruitful that 6½ tons were reckoned an ordinary crop. They are peculiarly adapted to the fattening of black cattle; and, at the time of Arthur Young’s visit, they annually fattened about 4,000. Their average rental, about 65 years ago, was 20s.; but 30 years later, it had risen to £5 for grazing grounds, and considerably more for meadow. Yet even after they became so singularly appreciated, they continued to experience a shameful neglect of culture, and exhibited, amongst the most luxuriant herbage, a great quantity of rushes and other pernicious weeds. The bottoms or beds of the turloughs, produce luxuriant vegetation at the subsession of the lacustrine waters in spring, and constitute, thence till autumn, very rich grazing land. In one year, a turlough of 48 acres in area, near Kilfenora, depastured 17 horses and a number of swine, and fattened 42 large oxen and 44 sheep; and next year, reared into fine plump condition 16 or 17 horses, and 100 two-year old bullocks. The limestone crags of Burren, and of the eastern part of Corcomroe and Inchiquin, are, with a few exceptions, devoted to the rearing of sheep and young cattle; and though, in some places, so rocky that 4 acres cannot feed a sheep, they are, in even the most barren portions, intermixed with small patches of such sweet and fattening ground as produces the most finely flavoured mutton. The sandhills which form a broad and lofty belt around Liscanor bay, and which have been accumulated by the drifted sand from the shore, are matted over with numerous plants which are readily eaten by sheep, and are particularly fruitful in white clover, and in that plant so grateful to sheep and so suitable for cultivation on light arenaceous soils-the lotus corniculatus, or bird’s-foot trefoil. The other pastures rise in gradual height and impoverishment from the most luxuriant meadow to the most sterile moor; and pass through almost every variety of character, from the rich and tender grasses of the fattening corcass to the stunted heath and carex of the mountain, where the thinnest sprinkling of young cattle can scarcely contrive to live.

Agriculture.]-Husbandry, though slowly improving since about the commencement of the present century, is still in a very wretched state. Tillage husbandry, in particular, is, with few exceptions, prosecuted with nearly as much stupidity and barbarism, as before any enlightened principles of farming were introduced. Rotation of crops-that surest test of the degree of existing skill-continues, in many places, to consist of two or three successive crops of potatoes on pared and burned ground, or after plentiful manuring, and of a scourging series of oat crops which reduces the soil to utter exhaustion, and compels the farmer to let it lie for years in nearly as total unproductiveness as a desert. Wheat, when sown, is the first crop after potatoes, but it is raised only, or at least chiefly, on the rich corcass and limestone lands; and it bears a very small proportion to the produce in oats and barley, and is by no means noted for excellence of quality. The oats cultivated are rarely of the fine sorts, and principally of the potatoe kind. Clover is occasionally grown in small patches, to be cut down for the use of cows in spring; but no other green crop is cultivated for the use of cattle; and no artificial grasses are sown for the purpose of forming a sward, or alternating with the cereal crops. The spade is the chief instrument of tillage, not only on high grounds, but on gentle declivities and hanging plains, and has not been quite superseded by the plough even on flat alluvial bottoms; yet the plough begins to be appreciated, and appears to be slowly finding its way into general use. Farm-yard dung is, of course, employed as a manure; but, in consequence of prevailing ignorance and stupid prejudices respecting the means and methods of its accumulation, it never exists in quantity even remotely proportioned to the most moderate necessities of the soil. Sea-weed, both such as has been drifted, and such as is cut off the rocks, is freely used, not only on the immediate sea-board, but in places considerably inland; it is purchased on the shore at so high a price as 4s. or 5s. per ton; and it is sometimes worked into composts with sea-sand or bog-earth, but is generally applied fresh on potatoe-fields after the potatoes are planted, or spread in autumn on land designed to be next year under potatoe crop. Sea-sand is spread as manure on meadow-land, and found to exert an influence on 5 or 6 successive crops of hay; it is very generally used, to the extent of from 40 to 80 cart-loads per acre, as manuring for potatoe-ground; and it is found as useful as lime in bringing new land into cultivation, and is also most serviceable in making composts and laying under cattle in farm-yards. This sand has been very rapidly increasing in use during the last 25 years; and is carried inland to the distance of 20 or 30 miles; and it is procured in any quantity from the sandhills on several parts of the coast, at the charge of from 5s. to 10s. for as much as a one-horse cart can remove in 12 months. Lime is generally abundant and cheap, and, besides being raised from quarries, is often gathered off the surface of the cultivated land; and, though partially used in composts and on tillage-ground in a similar manner as in Great Britain, it is very far from being duly appreciated, and, in spite of the obvious and well-tested advantageousness of the practice, is not spread as a top-dressing on pastures or on coarse land that has been laid dry. Except by means of very insufficient open ditches, the draining of wet land has been shamefully little practised; and, even where a sufficient quantity of stones lies at hand or scattered on the surface to form good and competent drains, much good ground is permitted to remain in a half-marshy condition, covered with rushes and very inferior coarse grass. "The fences of the flat parts of the barony" of Corcomroe, says an official report, "are the common single and double ditches, and not more efficient than in most other parts of the south of Ireland. On the hills, stone-walls are mixed with those kinds of fences; but in general the walls are very slightly made, and only one shade better as fences than the earthen banks and ditches. On a few farms, there are good dry stone-walls of a sufficient thickness and height, and there is very proper stone in a great part of the barony to make them to any extent. There is no part of Great Britain where such good materials would be so neglected, and the farmers be satisfied with such inefficient fences, always requiring repair, when the means of making excellent walls were so close at hand."

Live Stock.]-The old Irish breed of cattle are those usually kept by the dairy farmers; but have very generally been crossed with some English breed, and are universally regarded as having profited by the change. Several of the largest holders of land, a few years ago, kept dairies and made butter; but they now, for the most part, give their sole, or at least prime, attention to the feeding of bullocks and heifers, and find simple grazing more profitable than the dairy. Kerry cows are most suitable to poor upland ground, and are kept by poor cottier tenants on the hills. Sheep, both on the dairy farms-where, however, they are not numerous-and on the feeding farms, are of a large useful kind that have been bred from rams bought at Ballinasloe and other sheep fairs. A few sheep of a small mean sort are kept by the cottier tenants of the uplands. The horses are thick useful animals, and very suitable to the work they have to do. Coarse, narrow, long-legged pigs may occasionally be seen; but the pigs which prevail are those of a thick breed, and apparently good feeders. In 1841, the live stock, within all the several districts of the county, on farms or holdings not exceeding one acre, consisted of 662 horses and mules, 1,480 asses, 2,641 cattle, 3,414 sheep, 10,438 pigs, and 82,386 poultry; on farms of from 1 acre to 5 acres, 2,287 horses and mules, 2,263 asses, 10,674 cattle, 13,064 sheep, 10,790 pigs, and 99,588 poultry; on farms of from 5 to 15 acres, 7,403 horses and mules, 1,721 asses, 26,382 cattle, 34,247 sheep, 17,741 pigs, and 163,985 poultry; on farms of from 15 to 30 acres, 2,626 horses and mules, 458 asses, 11,171 cattle, 16,934 sheep, 5,121 pigs, and 42,101 poultry; and on farms of above 30 acres, 2,703 horses and mules, 433 asses, 99,606 cattle, 42,930 sheep, 3,341 pigs, and 22,178 poultry. The total number and value of these classes of live stock, was 15,681 horses and mules, £125,448; 6,355 asses, £6,355; 70,474 cattle, £458,081; 110,589 sheep, £121,648; 47,435 pigs, £59,293; and 410,238 poultry, £10,256. Grand total of the value of live stock, in the rural districts, £781,081. But there were also in the civic districts, 305 horses and mules, worth £2,440; 1 ass, £1; 326 cattle, £2119; 170 sheep, £187; 1,336 pigs, £1,670; and 2,335 poultry, £58. Total of value in the civic districts, £6,475.

Fisheries.]-The rich fisheries of Galway bay, though chiefly prosecuted by the fishermen of Claddagh, and of other places on the north shore, are shared by the inhabitants of the sea-board of Burren. Fishing-banks extend south-south-westward all the way from the Arran Islands to Loop Head; and, deflecting around that promontory, are prolonged eastward up the Shannon. The ground is foul, from Arran to Loop Head, for about a mile off shore; the fishing-banks immediately flank this belt of foul ground; and, with the exception of occasional rocky and dangerous spots which are avoided with the aid of landmarks, the banks have a uniformly a bottom of fine sand, and tolerably even soundings. The fishing is pursued at the distance of from one mile to six leagues from the shore, in from 20 to 25 fathoms of water; and is very abundantly productive in turbot, cod, ling, haddock, hake, soles, other flat fish, whiting, gurnet, and mackerel. All the Shannon west of Scattery Island, and the sea for 20 miles outward, are fishing ground, and abound in cod, ling, haddock, turbot, soles, plaice, thornback, dorees, ray, mackerel, skad, and other fish. The herring fishery is regularly prosecuted in Galway bay, and in the mouth of the Shannon. Salmon are taken in large quantities at the mouth of the Dunbeg river. The oysterbeds of Burren are known to fame, not only in the county itself, but at the opposite side of the kingdom. Crabs, lobsters, and crimps, are taken in all the creeks. Dilisk, Carrigeen moss, sloak, and samphire, abound on the shores and cliffs which overhang the Atlantic. According to a report of the Commissioners on Irish Fisheries, published, the number of fishing-craft and fishermen were then two-decked vessels of jointly 64 tons, with 12 men; 163 half-decked vessels of aggregately 1,467 tons, with 652 men; 12 open sail-boats, with 48 men; and 443 row-boats, with 1,749 men; and according to returns made by the Coast-Guard in 1836, the number then was 7 half-decked vessels of aggregately 88 tons, with 35 men; 39 open sail-boats with 141 men; and 334 row-boats, with 1,236 men. The fishermen’s harbours with or without piers are at New Quay, Currenroe, Ballyvaughan, Glanina, Liscanor, Seafield, Dunbeg, Pulleen, Kilkee, Carrigaholt, Kilbaha, Kilrush, and Querrin. The Coast-Guard stations are at Ballyvaughan, Liscanor, Freagh, Seafield, Dunbeg, Kilkee, Kilcredan and Kilrush.

Trade.]-Most of the linen manufactured in the county is coarse and cheap; and very nearly all is used for home consumption. A small quantity of coarse diapers for towels, and of canvass for sacks and bags, is sold at markets and fairs. Hosiery of various kinds, but chiefly coarser and stronger than that of Cunnemara, is manufactured, in considerable quantity, around Corrofin, Innistymon, and other places and is bought by dealers at the country markets and carried by them so far as to Dublin and the north. Manufactures of broad cloth, serges, blankets, and beavers, were established, within the last half century, at Ennis; and a flourishing trade, at an earlier period, existed, but afterwards became extinct, at Killaloe, in serges, camblets, and stuffs. A course flannel, dyed of a bad red colour, and usually worn by the female inhabitants, and a kind of frieze, much superior to what is commonly to be had in the shops, and worn partly by females and almost universally by men and boys, are generally made by each family, for its own use, or in each little community, for the full supply of its own demands.

The principal exports of the county, in 1831, as estimated by Captain Mudge, consisted of 3,000 tons of wheat, 8,000 of oats, 2,000 of barley, and an unconjectured amount of bacon, butter, and cattle. But grain in large quantities, pigs in great numbers, and the produce of manufactures, and mines to some small extent, are sent overland to various markets, chiefly those of Limerick. The estimated imports in 1831, consisted of 2,500 tons of coal, 1,000 of bricks, 1,000 of timber, 500 of iron, 500 of salt, 500 of slate, 500 of flags, 500 of whisky, 500 of earthen ware, 300 of sugar, 200 of tobacco, 100 of glass, and 1,500 of miscellaneous goods, chiefly articles of British manufacture. Yet a large amount of the real export and import trade must be sought in over land communication with the port of Limerick, and even with the port of Galway; a considerable proportion of effective traffic must be traced in intercommunication with the various markets of neighbouring counties; and a trade in turf by boats up the Fergus amounts annually to about 2,400 tons.

Fairs.]-The principal fairs held within the county are the following: - Blackwater, Jan. 2, April 15, July 16, Oct. 3; Bridgetown, June 10, Nov. 25; Broadford, June 21, Nov. 21; Callaghan’s Mills, May 8, June 27, Nov. 14; Clare Town, June 6, Aug. 17, Nov. 11; Clonroad, May 9, Aug. 1, Oct. 13 (two days), Dec. 3; Cooleenbridge, Jan. 8, April 4, July 19, Oct. 16; Conorolly, Jan. 2, April 17, July 18, Oct. 3; Cooreclare, May 6, June 4 and 26, July 10, Oct. 20, Dec. 20; Donasse, March 17, June 11, Sept. 21, Nov. 30; Dromore, June 17, Sept. 26; Ennis, April 25, Sept. 3; Innistymon, March 25, May 15, July 2, Aug. 22, Sept. 29, Nov. 19, Dec. 12; Holy Island, April 17, June 8; Jeverstown, March 28, Oct. 2; Kilclaren, May 31, Dec. 2; Killanteel, May 18; Killuran, April 27, Aug. 14, Dec. 19; Kilmichael, May 19, July 18, Sept. 28; Kilmurrybricken, May 17, Aug. 25; Kilrush, May 10, Oct. 12; Newmarket, April 20, Aug. 27, Dec. 20; O’Brien’s-Bridge, July 25, Nov. 7; Parteen, Feb. 14, May 30, Sept. 18, Dec. 14; Porthenchy, Jan. 11, May 23, Sept. 9, Dec. 8; Quin, July 7, Nov. 1; Six-mile-Bridge, May 6, June 19, Dec. 5; Spancel-hill, Jan. 1, May 3, June 24, Aug. 20, Dec. 3; St. John’s Well, July 5; Thomond-Gate, 22d of every month; Tulla, March 25, May 13, Aug. 15, Sept. 29, and Dec. 7; Turloughmore, June 8, Sept. 29, and Dec. 12.

Communications.]-The roads of Clare are probably worse than those of any other county in Ireland; and, till a very recent period, were proverbial for being in an almost savage condition. Some districts of considerable extent had, not long ago, no road better than a rough mountain track; and the chief road of the county, that from Ennis to Limerick, we remember to have been, not more than 12 years ago, in so horrible a state that a ‘corduroy road’ of the American forests was a luxury in comparison, the stage-coach being compelled to move over some parts at the rate of only about 2 miles an hour, and to lurch, and swing, and gyrate so portentously as to frighten passengers into the alternative of trudging on foot, inches deep, in slough and quagmire. This barbarous condition of the highways was occasioned chiefly by excessive corruption in the system under which the Grand Jury assessments were applied; but it is now greatly remedied, and in the course of being completely so, partly by the appointment, in 1836, of a county surveyor, who superintends the application of the public money, and partly by the advance of money on the part of the Commissioners of Public Works, to be repaid by instalments from the county funds, for the construction of new roads and bridges. In 1842, the surveyor had under his charge 1,170 miles of road, exclusive of 90 under the care of the Board of Public Works; and 29 miles of new road had been made from the date of his appointment. The nearest benefit, though a very important one, which the county will obtain from the series of railways projected by the Commissioners, is by the Shannon line at Limerick, and westward thence along the co. Limerick shore of the estuary. Clare shares fully with the opposite shore all the immediate advantages of the Shannon navigation from the sea up to Lough Derg; it enjoys, in addition, the navigation of the Fergus, up to the town of Clare; and it partakes largely, as to the deepening of channels, the removal of obstructions, and the forming or extending of artificial harbours, in the great improvements which are in progress in the navigation of the Shannon, and its creeks and offshoots.

Towns and Divisions.]-The towns of the county are Ennis, Clare, Six-mile-Bridge, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Innistymon, Lahensey, Kilfenora, Milltown-Malbay, Corrofin, Dough, Kilkisheen, Killaloe, Kilrush, Scarriff, and Tulla; and the principal villages are Crusheen, Quin, Burren, Bally-vaughan, Ballinacraggy, Murroghkelly, Murroghtwohy, Fermoyle, Aughnish, Finavara, Kildysart, Labasheeda, Knock, Doonbeg, Kilbaha, Cooreclare, O’Brien’s-Bridge, Broadford, and Tomgrany. The baronies are, Lower and Upper Tulla, on the east; Lower and Upper Bunratty, between Tulla and the Fergus; Clanderalaw, on the Shannon, and west of the Fergus; Islands, immediately north of Clanderalaw; Inchiquin, immediately north of Islands; Burren, in the extreme north, or on Galway bay and South Sound; Corcomroe, south of Burren, and on the west coast; Ibrickane, south of Corcomroe, and on the west coast; and Moyarta, in the peninsula between the Atlantic and the Shannon. The absurd and perplexing bisection and trisection of parishes, and distribution of them among different baronies, which prevails in most other Irish counties, are unknown in Clare; and, excepting in two instances of parishes being shared by this county with respectively Limerick and Galway, all its parishes are entire. The parts of parishes are, the one in Tulla barony, and the other in Bunratty; and of the entire parishes, 14 are in Tulla, 17 in Bunratty, 7 in Clanderalaw, 6 in Islands, 5 in Inchiquin, 11 in Burren, 6 in Corcomroe, 3 in Ibrickane, and 5 in Moyarta. The above is the state of the civil divisions as it is exhibited in the Census of 1831. But by the Act 6 and 7 William IV., the whole of the parish of Kilmurry, and the whole of the parish of Kilfinaghty, excepting one townland, were transferred from Upper Tulla to Lower Bunratty; and two townlands in the parish of Inniscultra were transferred from Upper Tulla to co. Galway. Dr. Beaufort, after stating the number of parishes and churches at respectively 79 and 19, says that 19 parishes and 3 churches are in the diocese of Kilfenora, 3 parishes and 1 church in that of Limerick, and 57 parishes and 15 churches in that of Killaloe.

Statistics.]-The constabulary force of the county consisted, on Jan. 1, 1842, of 1 second-rate county inspector, 4 first-rate sub-inspectors, 2 second-rate sub-inspectors, 2 third-rate sub-inspectors, 1 first-rate head-constable, 7 second-rate head-constables, 38 constables, 203 first-rate sub-constables, and 51 second-rate sub-constables. The expense to the county of the whole constabulary force during 1841, was £15,849 9s 6¼ d. The stipendiary magistrates of the county are 3, and are stationed at Ennis, Tulla and Milltown-Malbay. The number of persons committed for offences during 1841 was 593; and of these, 11 were sentenced to transportation for 7 years, 1 to transportation for less than 7 years, 1 to imprisonment for upwards of 1 year, 13 to imprisonment for upwards of 6 months, 118 to imprisonment for 6 months and under, and 39 to pay fines,-making a total of 183 convictions; and 198 were found not guilty on trial, 181 had no bill found against them, and 31 were not prosecuted. Of the 183 convicted, 65 were guilty of offences against the person, 4 of offences against property committed with violence, 35 of offences against property committed without violence, 2 of offences against the currency, and 77 of miscellaneous offences. Of the 593 committed, 3 females were not more than 12 years of age, 7 males and 5 females not more than 16, 57 males and 17 females not more than 21, 148 males and 20 females not more than 30, 83 males and 21 females not more than 40, 36 males and 5 females not more than 50, 13 males and 1 female not more than 60, 6 males and 2 females upwards of 60, and 145 males and 24 females of unascertained age; - 241 males and 7 females could read and write, 15 males and 2 females could read but not write, 239 males and 88 females could neither read nor write, and 1 female’s educational condition could not be ascertained. The statistics of the county gaol will be given in the article on Ennis; and of the workhouses, fever-hospitals, and dispensaries, in the articles on the Poor-law unions. The statistics of education and of ecclesiastical matters for 1834, may be ascertained by assigning to the county its proportion of the dioceses of KILLALOE and LIMERICK, and adding the whole of the diocese of KILFENORA. In 1824, according to Protestant returns, the number of schools was 315, of scholars 20,051, of male scholars 13,382, of female scholars 6,463, of scholars whose sex was not specifed 206, of scholars connected with the Established Church 690, of scholars connected with the Roman Catholic community 19,176, and of scholars whose religious connection was not ascertained 185; and, according to Roman Catholic returns, the number of schools was 315, of scholars 20,352, of male scholars 13,548, of female scholars 6,685, of scholars whose sex was not specified 119, of scholars connected with the Established Church 687, of scholars connected with Protestant dissenters 12, of scholars connected with the Roman Catholic community 19,600, and of scholars whose religious connection was not ascertained 53. This county sends two members to the imperial parliament. Constituency, in 1841, l,785; of whom 1,599 were freeholders, 170 were leaseholders, and 16 were rent-chargers. Pop., in 1821, 208,089; in 1831, 258,322; in 1841, 286,394. The whole of the following statistics have reference to 1841. Males, 144,109; females, 142,285; families, 48,981. Inhabited houses, 44,870; built, uninhabited houses, 1,048; houses in the course of erection, 181. Families residing, in first class houses, 530; in second class houses 7,250; in third class houses, l6,551; in fourth class houses, 24,650. Families employed chiefly in agriculture, 37,834; in manufactures and trade, 7,445; in other pursuits, 3,702. Families dependent chiefly on vested means and on professions, 801; on the directing of labour, 12,146; on their own manual labour, 35,076; on means not specified, 958. Males at and above 15 years of age who ministered to food, 67,613; to clothing, 3,708; to lodging, &c., 3,530; to health 74; to charity, 4; to justice, 448; to education, 376; to religion, 152: unclassified, 3,419; without any specified occupations, 6,125. Females at and above 15 years of age who ministered to food, 4,999; to clothing, 19,226; to lodging, &c., 114; to health , 131; to justice, 3; to education, 107; to religion, 4; unclassified, 8,983; without any specified occupations, 52,312. Males at and above 5 years of age who could read and write, 41,823; who could read but not write, 14,768; who could neither read nor write, 67,937. Females at and above 5 years of age who could read and write, 17,208; who could read but not write, 17,842; who could neither read nor write, 88,610. Males above 4 years of age attending primary schools, 9,295; attending superior schools, 236. Females above 4 years of age attending primary schools, 6,240; attending superior schools, 75. Per centage of males at and above 17 years of age unmarried, 45; married, 51; widowed, 4. Per centage of females at and above 17 years of age unmarried, 36; married, 52; widowed, 12. School-teachers, 301 males and 54 females; ushers and tutors, 61 males and l2 females; governesses, 41; music-masters, 12; dancing-masters, 2. Clergy of the Established church, 30; Methodist minister, 1; Presbyterian ministers, 9; Roman Catholic clergymen, 87; ministers of religion whose denominational connection was not specified, 7; scripture reader, 1.

Antiquities.]-Raths abound in every part of the county; they generally are circular, and consist of either large stones without mortar, or of earth surrounded with one or more ditches; and, in many instances, they exhibit the neglected and haggard remains of a complete covering with firs. Though usually ascribed to the Danes, they are almost certainly the work of the aboriginal tribes. Amid a group of them, near Killaloe, at a place called Kincora or Ceanchora, stood the palace or castle of Brian Boromh; and here, in the 11th century, after he became sole monarch of Ireland, he received his annual tribute from the dependent princes. Cromlechs occur chiefly in Burren, and occasionally in the other baronies. The principal are at Ballygannor, Lemenagh, Kilneboy, Tullynaglashin, Ballykisshen, and Mount Callan. Round towers occur on INNISCATTERY and INNISCALTHRA, and at DROMCLIFFE, DYSERT, and KILNEBOY. Towers, fortalices, castellated houses, and other old buildings dignified with the name of castles, are exceedingly numerous; but in only a few instances, are worthy of notice. Mr. Dutton enumerates no fewer than 118, and says that tradition assigns the erection of so many of these as 57 to the family of Macnamara. Many were feudal strengths thrown up for the defence of usurpation and robbery; and not a few were ordinary mansions of Anglo-Saxon settlers, fortified for protection against the just resentment of the natives. Bunratty Castle, is the most important of the whole. Of the 118 enumerated by Mr. Dutton, 2 inhabited and 11 uninhabited are in Burren; 1 inhabited and 13 ruinous are in Corcomroe; 2 inhabited and 20 ruinous are in Inchiquin; 1 inhabited and 26 ruinous are in Bunratty; 3 ruinous, in Islands; 3 ruinous, in Clonderalaw; 1 inhabited and 3 ruinous, in Moyarta; and 1 inhabited and 5 ruinous, in Ibrickane. Pillar-stones and ancient crosses occur between Spancel-Hill and Tulla, and at Kilfenora, Dysert, and Kilneboy. Abbeys existed, and in most instances survive in ruin, but in some are extinct, at Beagh, Ceanindis, Clare, Abbey-Corcomroe, Ennis, Enniskerry, Finish, Gleanchaoin, Glen-Columbkill, Inchicronane, Innismore, Innisanloi, Inniscunla, Inniscalthra, Innislua, Innisnegananagh, Inniscattery, Innistymon, Kilcarra, Kilfarboy, Kilfenora, Killaloe, Kilnagallah, Killone, Kilshanny, Quin, Rosslesenchoir, Temple-Dysert, Six-mile-Bridge, and Tomgrany.

History.]-Our limits will admit only a few brief and uncontinuous notices of the prolific and interesting civil history of Clare. In 298, Lugad or Lewy, surnamed Meann, one of the Dal-Cassian kings of Leath Moth, made such new political distributions of territory, as dissevered Clare from Connaught, and connected it with Munster. Three principalities, called respectively Tuaidh-Muin, Jar-Muin, and Des-Muin, names which meant North-Munster, East-Munster, and South-Munster, and were softened or modernized into Thomond, Ormond, and Desmond, occupied the broad expanse of Munster; and Tuaidh-Muin or Thomond, according to the treaty of Dioma, extended from the Atlantic to Slieve-Dala in Ossory, and from the Arran Islands to Knocknaine and the river Feale, and in consequence included all Clare, a small part of Kerry, and the greater part of Limerick and Tipperary. This great principality was long accounted the special patrimony of the Dal-Cassians; but was afterwards divided into two sections, one of which was modern Thomond, nearly corresponding with Clare; and eventually was all swallowed up in the monarchy of the celebrated Brian-Boromh, or rather gave law to all the rest of Ireland, under the administration of that singular figurant in Irish story and legend, who held his court at Kincora, on the eastern border of the county, near Killaloe. In 1543, Muragh O’Brien, after vainly attempting a general rebellion against English authority, submitted to Henry VIII., surrendered all his possessions, renounced the name of O’Brien, and abjured the Irish language; but, in terms of a compact which accompanied his submission, he received back his lands to be held by an English tenure, took the title of Earl of Thomond for himself, and that of Baron Inchiquin for his eldest son, and agreed to train his people in the practises of husbandry and the general habits of civilization, loyalty, and good order. The territory of Thomond, soon after, was, under the name of Clare, made one of the six new counties into which the Act of II Elizabeth, c. 9., ordered Connaught to be divided; and it was, about the same time, sectioned out into 8 baronies, which widely differed from the present baronial divisions, and accorded with the possessions of the Macnamaras, and the O’Gradys on the east, the O’Loughlins on the north, the MacMahons and the O’Deas on the west and the south, and the O’Briens of the house of Inchiquin, or Earls of Thomond, in the centre. In 1601, on petition of the second Earl of Thomond, the territory was again included in Munster; though, in legal distribution, it continued till the latter part of last century to be comprised within the Connaught circuit. During the wars of 1641, Lord Inchiquin adhered to the cause of Britain, and prevented any serious commotion from occurring in Clare; yet Sir Daniel O’Brien of Carrigaholt rebelled and incurred forfeiture, but, in 1662, was restored to his possessions, and made Viscount Clare, and Baron of Moyarta by Charles II. In the wars of the Revolution, Lord Clare, the grandson of Sir Daniel, espoused the Jacobite cause; as did also Donough Macnamara, Redmond Magrath, Donough and Teige O’Brien, and some other men of less note; and they jointly forfeited 72,246 acres of profitable land, valued at £12,060 17s. of annual rental. The county was little affected by the rebellion of 1798; but during various years of the present century, it has been agitated from centre to circumference, and sometimes reduced to total and dismal anarchy, by systematic agrarian disturbances.

Taken from The Parliamentary Gazeteer of Ireland, 1845.

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