of Kilrush, Killard, Kilfieragh, Moyferta, and Kilballyhone
of Agriculture, Crops, &c.
In this highly improved tract of country, the modes of agriculture hitherto
in use, are not of that description likely to improve it, or to remunerate
the cultivator for his pains. It is, however to be hoped, that with resources
for renovating the soil beyond the reach of those who cultivate the inland
parts of the island, the inhabitants of this interesting district will
ere long avail themselves of its great local advantages, and by the cultivation
of green food in winter, as well as the improvement of all their rough
land, will render their fields as productive and beautiful as the richest
spots in England or Wales.
rode over this union on a military tour with Lord Cathcart during the
last war; and the illustrious and patriotic warrior, who was known soon
afterwards to spend the midnight hours of an active campaign in planning
cottages for the happy tenantry of Ballygowan, declared he had never beheld
in any country a more interesting or improveable tract of ground, than
that through which he passed in the neighbourhood of Kilrush.
The course of crops here is,—1st, potatoes, with manure; 2nd, Potatoes,
without manure; 3rd, wheat; 4th, oats; 5th, flax, or oats, with grass
seed. The potatoes here are the original apple, the black, and a kind
of white potatoe, called the cups: the latter are excellent, and most
The plough is the old Irish one, sometimes drawn by four horses abreast;
but Mr. Vandeleur has lately introduced some Scotch and English ploughs.
There are a few Scotch carts here; but that ill constructed vehicle, the
old Munster car, is still in use. It is in the drawing of turf to the
shore, that the advantage of carts, or single horse machines, such as
Mr. Edgeworth first introduced into the county of Longford, would be particularly
experienced here. Flax is of late years become a favourite crop; and the
soil of these parishes is peculiarly favourable to its growth.
The injurious mode of tenure, called rundale, has been nearly abolished,
particularly on Mr. Vandeleur’s estates; but it prevails still,
with its usual ill consequences, in some parts of “The West.”
The black cattle here are of a tolerably good kind, considering the little
care taken in breeding them. The neighbouring county of Kerry produces
a small breed of cows highly prized here, and in all other parts of Ireland,
for producing great quantities of excellent milk on the poorest pastures.
The horses of this barony, in common with those of the whole county of
Clare, were once the finest in Ireland; and though they are now degenerated,
they hold a respectable rank among the classes of horses in the province
of Munster, being active, hardy, and serviceable. The horses of Lord Clare’s
Dragoons were remarkably beautiful, and some of their breed were preserved
in Carrigaholt till the accession of his present majesty. In the memory
of some persons now living, Mr. Dennis MacMahon had some very fine horses
in his demesne, that were not put into horse-rider’s hands, till
they were past the age of seven years.
very common here, from a prevailing idea, that they by a certain instinct,
they destroy the murrain-worm, which was once said to have been very disastrous
to the cattle of this district, by polluting the water they drank: mules
are also much used, and sell at very high prices. The old mountain breed
of sheep are small; but the mutton of such as are old enough, is of as
delicious a flavour as that of Ennishowen in the county of Donegall. They
are, however, wearing out as the country advances in cultivation; and
our most constant supply of mutton is of a larger kind, from the midland
and the eastern parts of the county. The quantity of pork produced here
is very great: the best breed is the mixture of the Dutch and Irish. Goats
are very common.
A daily market is held at Kilrush; but the principal market is on Saturdays;
and fairs are held at the following times and places:—May 2nd, Dunbeg;
10th, Kilrush; June 1st, Moyarta, near Carrigaholt; 3rd,Ballykett; July
4th,Ballykett, a great fair; 5th, Moyarta; 26th, Dunbeg; August 17th,
Ballykett, 19th, Moyarta; October 8th, Dunbeg; 12th, Kilrush; December
1st, Ballykett; 16th, Dunbeg.
Labourers, hired without board, have per day, 1s. 8d. and with board 10d.
By the half year, with board, as a servant man for labour, they receive
from three to four guineas. The general wages of women servants are from
15s. to £1. per quarter.
to Union of Kilrush, Killard, Kilfieragh, Moyferta, and Kilballyhone