LIMERICK TOPOGRAPHY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

Its general aspect is flat, though diversified by many small hills, and in some parts by mountains of considerable elevation. The whole western district, from Loughill to Drumcollogher, is composed of an unbroken range of mountain, stretching in a vast but regular and beautiful curve. On the south-east, the plain country is bounded by the Galtees, rising precipitously to a great elevation, forming the boundary of Limerick, and stretching thence far into the county of Tipperary. On the north-east the barony of Owneybeg embraces the skirts of the Slieve Phelim mountains, which form an extensive group penetrating the interior of Tipperary.

In the neighbourhood of Pallasgreine are several hills of considerable height and beauty. The Ballingarry hills, lying near the centre of the county, and rising abruptly from a fertile plain, are very conspicuous; the principal elevation is Knockferine, a conical mountain, said to be one of the highest in the county. Another conspicuous height is Knockpatrick, between Shanagolden and the Shannon. From the banks of this river stretches southeastward a vast tract of land which is justly considered to be the richest in Ireland, the soil being in general a deep mellow loam, for the most part based on limestone and fit for every kind of culture.

The most productive tract, comprising about 100,000 acres, is in the neighbourhoods of Bruff, Kilmallock, Athlacca, and Hospital, forming part of the district called, from the extraordinary richness of its soil, "the Golden Vale," which extends through this county in length from Pallaskenry to Kilfinane, and Kilfrush, a distance of thirty-two miles, and in breadth from Drehidtarsna, by the city of Limerick, to Abington, a distance of eighteen. The corcasses, or low meadow lands, which extend from the Mague along the Shannon to Limerick, have a substratum of yellow and blue clay, covered with a black mould, occasionally mixed with sand and gravel.

The soil of other parts of the county not occupied by mountain, particularly to the west of the river Deel, consists of a light loam resting on limestone or stiff clay, and well suited both for pasture and tillage. In several of the lower districts there are small detached portions of bog, which kind of land is exceedingly valuable in some places, bringing the high rent of £1 per rood; when reclaimed, it is peculiarly adapted to the culture of hemp, though very little either of flax or hemp is grown in the county. A great part of the surface of the western mountains also is a light turbary, but not so good as that in the low grounds.

The climate is remarkably good, and the weather less variable than in any other county in Ireland; an effect which has been much promoted by the drainage and cultivation of the bogs. It is said that in some seasons the heat of the summer's sun is scarcely powerful enough to ripen thoroughly the heavy crops of grain. The entire face of the country, notwithstanding its great natural fertility, presents a very denuded appearance, from the want of trees; hedgerows being very uncommon, and timber trees in any number being seldom seen except in the immediate vicinity of the residences of the wealthier proprietors.

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