Statistical Survey of the County of Clare, 1808

By Hely Dutton

Chapter IV - Section 8

Mode of draining

THIS sine qua non of the improvement of wet lands is but very little practised; some of the rich corcass lands, that let for five guineas an acre, are greatly injured by stagnant water.

In the eastern and western extremities of the county, where immense tracts of ground could be reclaimed, it is scarcely ever practised; some trifling attempts have been made by a few gentlemen, but in general with little skill, and too often by that worst and most wasteful of all methods, open drains. There is less excuse for this here than in most other counties, for stones abound in almost every place, where it is necessary. Much ground could be reclaimed by lowering or enlarging the outlets of the numerous lakes, with which this county is adorned; Lough Tedane near Corrofin could be lowered for a very moderate sum, by which many hundred acres of choice ground could be gained; it is not only the part at present covered with water, that comes under this description, but the ground on every side, all meadow, is frequently spoiled by floods kept back from want of enlarging the outlet, or removing obstructions caused by some insignificant eel-weirs, and I cannot too forcibly condemn the supineness of magistrates, who permit the erection of such nuisances; but if they do not affect any of their own grounds, they pass them by with the most perfect indifference. There is scarcely any of the other numerous lakes, that could not be as easily lowered, and as equally benefited. In some few situations, perhaps, stones for making drains could not be readily procured; it fortunately happens, that here in general there is a sod of sufficient adhesiveness to form a cover for them.

To those, who may imagine such covering would not last for any length of time, it may be necessary to state, that in many parts of Ireland and England drains are now running freely, that were made before the birth of any man now living; but, as the method, though exceedingly simple, is little, if at all, known in this county, it would be adviseable to procure a man from the counties of Meath or Dublin, where these kinds of drains are better made than in any other part of Ireland.

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