FERMANAGH GEOLOGY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

In a geological point of view this county is highly interesting: the great central limestone district of Ireland terminates in it, and the western coal and iron formation commences; here the granite of Donegal forms a junction with the basaltic range, which, with little intermission, extends to the coast of Antrim; here also the Escars (that extraordinary chain of low hills, which extends from Lough Neagh to the remotest part of Galway and Mayo,) seem to form a nucleus, whence they radiate in every direction; so that within a very limited space are found almost every kind of rounded nodule, from the jasper and agate down to the softest clay slate.

Generally speaking, the rock of the county is either secondary limestone, abounding with organic remains (particularly encrinites), or quartose sandstone, in some districts equal in closeness of grain, uniformity of structure, and durability to any in the British islands. Limestone of several kinds is found in the islands of Lough Erne, and in other places on the main land; the quarries of the latter are extensively worked.

Near Florence-Court is brown marble beautifully veined; it receives a fine polish, and when worked into ornaments presents a surface which, for mellowness of tint and variety of veins, is not excelled even by the celebrated marble of Iona. In the parish of Killasher are large beds of marble, having a perpendicular face of 53 feet in height, projecting boldly from the neighbouring cliffs; it is of a grey colour, often beautifully clouded, but it has never been worked for ornamental purposes.

Near the foot of Cuilcagh are vast deposits of ironstone, veins of which can also be traced in the bed of the neighbouring streams: numerous mines were opened, and the ore extensively wrought as long as the forest afforded fuel; but when this source failed, the works were abandoned, and the furnaces and mills have gone to decay. In this mountain and in the Tosset are thin seams of coal, which appear to form the verge of the great Leitrim and Roscommon field, the indications and strata of the base of Cuilcagh, exactly corresponding with those of the Iron mountain in the county of Leitrim; some slight excavations have been made by the peasantry, but no effort on an extended scale has been attempted to search for this valuable fossil.

In the hills of Glengarron are also indications of coal; but the great quantity of turbary in every part affords so many facilities for procuring turf at a cheap rate, as to prevent any effort towards the working of the collieries. When the canal between Loughs Neagh and Erne is finished, and the navigation opened to Ballyshannon, there is every reason to hope that the mineral treasures of Fermanagh will prove a new source of national wealth and prosperity.

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County Fermanagh | Fermanagh Baronies and Towns | Fermanagh Lakes and Mountains | Fermanagh Agriculture | Fermanagh Geology | Fermanagh Manufactures | Fermanagh Fish and Birds | Fermanagh Rivers | Fermanagh Antiquities | Fermanagh Peasantry | Fermanagh Mineral Springs


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