Mason's Parochial Survey, 1814-19

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Union of Kilmanaheen, Kilasbuglenane, Kilmacreehy, Kileilagh and Kilmoon

IX. Modes of Agriculture, Crops, &c.

Modes of Agriculture
The modes of agriculture, are in general very slovenly; the potatoes are spread on a ridge, as they call it, over the manure, and then covered with earth, from a furrow at each side of this ridge. After two or three crops of potatoes, they sow oats, sometimes with the spade, and sometimes with the plough. There is not much wheat or barley in the union. They find the oats more productive, and they always have a good market for it in Ennis, distant from Ennistymon about 14 miles.

The population of the country is increasing so much, that a vast quantity of hills and mountains is reclaimed every year, and produces by burning the surface, one or two crops of potatoes and the like of oats; it is then manured in the best manner they can, and if they continue to lay on a different quantity of manure, it will yield many crops of potatoes and oats, when they let it out with grass seeds, which they are of late getting into the habit of doing, the quality of it is improved and the pasture of it more valuable.

Burning for Manure
They make a constant practise here of turning up the surface of the ground which is in general coarse, and burning it. The ashes of this are so strongly impregnated with salts, that it answers remarkably well for one or two crops of potatoes, and for one or two crops of oats. For every succeeding crop they collect all the manure they can, particularly from the sea, and from their cattle, which they have in general housed in the winter. The ground by this arrangement is considerably ameliorated; and when laid down, the last crop with hay seeds and clover, as before-mentioned, frequently answers for meadow.

The horned cattle are dwindling every day: the best maiden heifers are bought by the graziers and sold at 3 or 4 years old at Ballinasloe, the 7th of May. Many heifers of this description are frequently exported to England; by this means they have only the culls for breed.

The highest acreable rent, of the best, the middling, and the poorest land in the union, supposing it to be set within the 3 last years, is from £.3 10s. to £.1 per acre.

Markets and Fairs
There is a market at Ennistymon every Saturday, where a vast quantity of coarse yarn stockings from sixteen pence to two shillings per pair, and a great number of pigs are regularly bought, which brings the principal revenue into the country. There are two well established fairs, mostly for horned cattle, at Ennistymon, one on the 15th of May, the other the 22nd of August. There are also some sheep at those fairs; those from the coldstone ground, in general, very indifferent; those from the limestone ground, good. There are also pigs, and a few horses of different kinds, but not near so good, as we formerly had them.

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