Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, 1808

By Hely Dutton

Chapter V - Section 19

Price of timber, and state of it in the county

ASH, from 2s. 6d. to 5s. per foot.
Oak, very little (if any) to cut, that could be sold by the foot.
Elm, very little, from 3s. to 4s. per foot.
Beech, from 3s. to 4s. per foot.
Couples for cabins, from 2s. 6d. to 5s.
Stretchers or thevauns, ten or twelve feet long, from 5s. to 6s. per dozen.
Oak stakes to support the wattling of eel-weirs, from 5s. to 6s. per dozen.
Oak wattles for eel-weirs, from 5s. to 10s. per hundred; they are usually split down the middle, and are generally brought from Tinneranna to Killaloe.
Sallows for making baskets, 2s. 2d. per hundred.*
Scollops of hazel, &c. 6d. per hundred.
Pair of baskets for a horse, which a man will make in a day, 3s. 3d.
A turf-kish, which he will make in a day, from 4s. to 5s.
A hurdle, seven feet long by five feet broad, from 2s. 6d. to 4s. 4d.
Tubs for butter, twenty-one inches, 4s. 4d.
Do. nineteen inches, 3s. 9 d.
Firkins, 3s. 9 d.
Oak bark (1807) from 20l. to 22l. 15s. per ton.
Sallow and birch bark, 15l. per ton.
In some places, birch bark only 8l. per ton.
No price for mountain ash bark, its value not known by tanners.

Bog timber consists of fir, oak, and yew, but chiefly fir and oak; in red bogs fir is generally found, and in black bogs oak predominates. Fir timber is frequently found of very large dimensions; most of the farmers' houses near bogs are roofed with this timber, which, if kept dry, is everlasting, and is always preferred to oak for inside work. A tree of this kind was lately found in a bog near Kilrush; it was purchased by Mr. Patterson of that town for 14l. 9s. 6d; it measured at the thickest end thirty-eight inches in diameter, and at upwards of sixty-eight feet long, thirty-one inches; it was very fine sound timber, and produced him upwards of 36l; by age and the action of the atmosphere it had lost so much of its original bulk, that the part preserved was merely the heart, and not near half its original size. There was another of immense size lately found near Mount Callan; I could not ascertain the dimensions, but was informed that, when a cross-cut saw of good length was brought, it was thicker than the saw was long. The manner of finding these trees in bogs is somewhat curious; very early in the morning, before the dew evaporates, a man with a long small sharp spear goes into the bog, and, as the dew never lies on the part over the trees, be it ever so deep, he can ascertain their length, and on putting down his spear can easily find, whether they are sound or rotten; if sound, he marks with a spade the spot where they lie, and at his leisure proceeds to extricate them from their bed.

A great number of Scotch fir in hedge-rows may be seen near Bridgetown, the estate of Captain Brown. I only mention this to shew the absurdity of planting this tree in single rows; they are all knots and worth very little; however in a country so destitute of trees they have a cheerful appearance.

Alder is a timber generally despised; but, if it is of a sufficient age, it is little inferior to mahogany; it has many other perfection's; it makes the very best bolsters for cars, and for bushing the eye of the lower mill-stone round the spindle, as it never takes fire by friction; when used for handles for tools it does not blister the hands; and the leaves and bark are so disagreeable to cattle, that they never browze on it. 

*About 200 sallows of two years' growth will make a turf-kish of a cubic yard.

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