Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, 1808

By Hely Dutton

Chapter III - Section 11

Prices of hides, tallow, wool, and quantity sold

THE greater part of the hides are sent to Ennis, and any overplus to Limerick; a good quantity is also bought at Kilrush for the same market: as there is no regular crane for weighing, and they are sent by boats from every little village on the Shannon, from Carrigaholt-bay to Limerick, there is no possibility of ascertaining the quantity; but it is generally imagined there has been a considerable encrease within the last twenty years; they are sold for from 2s. to 5s. per stone, and always from 3d. to 6d. under the Limerick prices; a higher price is always given for ox than for cow-hides. Tallow is generally from 8s. to 11s. per stone of 16 lbs., and any redundancy is sent to Limerick.

In the year 1802 there were sent in Christmas week, from the little village of Carrigaholt to Limerick, twenty-six hides, an uncommon quantity for so remote a place, and for one so apparently poor; since that, the quantity sent to Kilrush and Limerick has greatly encreased.

Wool sent to Ballinasloe in 1806 sold for 20s. per stone of 16 lbs., and in 1807 for about the same; some superior samples brought a higher price, and those of an inferior kind much less. It is impossible to ascertain the quantity sent from this county; but when the great quantity of land, occupied by sheep, is considered, it must be very considerable, for in the barony of Burrin alone it is estimated at nearly 10,000 acres. Buyers from Cork and Limerick generally go to the graziers’ houses, and make such bargains as they can, and pay in bills at various dates; this is a much better method for buyer and seller, than losing their time and money by striving to tire each other into a sale, as is practised at Ballinasloe at the wool-fair in July. It is perfectly ridiculous to see sensible men walking about the streets of Ballinasloe, the buyers at one side, and the sellers at the other, for often six weeks or more; this has been carried so far sometimes, that the buyers have made parties to take a tour to Killarney or elsewhere for a fortnight or more, thinking to tire the sellers into a bargain. Some regulations have lately been adopted, which, it is hoped, will be for mutual benefit; perhaps an auction, as has been practised lately in Dublin for South Down wool, would be the best method.

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