From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
Louth may be said to be altogether an agricultural county. Much of the land is under pasture, but every description of grain is extensively cultivated. The best wheat districts are those of Ardee and Cooley: the best barley is grown in the neighbourhood of the town of Louth. The Chevalier barley has been lately introduced with the greatest success, having been found better adapted to the soil than any hitherto raised. Flax is also grown in large quantities, principally for the supply of the spinners of Leeds, Bolton, and other manufacturing towns in England. Every kind of green crop is raised by the large farmers. Lime is the usual manure, except in the vicinity of the coast, where sea sand and weed are used; a compost of lime, earth, and bog mould is found to be very beneficial; the produce of the farm-yard is exclusively preserved for the potato crop.
The breeds of every kind of cattle have been introduced under the sanction of the Castle-Bellingham Agricultural Association. Considerable numbers of horned cattle and sheep are purchased at the Ballinasloe fair to be fattened here. The native stock of the latter, when crossed by the New Leicester, is found to be very superior both as to fleece and mutton. Pigs are numerous throughout every part: there is scarcely a farmer or cottier who is not more or less a dealer in them: the Berkshire and the Chinese breeds are most esteemed. The horses are of a light and active description, well adapted for country work: the saddle horses are generally brought in by dealers from other counties.
The agricultural implements are of the most improved kind, except in the mountain districts, where those of the old construction are still used in many places. Much of the land is cultivated by the spade; and even where the plough is used, the land is afterwards carefully trenched with it: the old solid-wheeled car has been laid aside, and a light, well-constructed single horse cart supplies its place. Irrigation and draining are better understood here than in any of the adjoining counties. The fences are generally quickset hedges, although the broad bank of earth or sods and the dry stone wall are to be met with in some parts.
The extensive forests so frequently mentioned in the wars of the sixteenth century have entirely disappeared, and the only traces remaining of them are some scattered underwoods near the bases of the mountains. The principal ornamental plantations are those at Collon, Ravensdale, Barmeath, and Dundalk: there are smaller plantations round Bellurgan, Cooleystown, Clermont, Louth Hall, Townley Hall, and Termonfechan.
The waste lands comprise an extent of nearly 15,000 acres, chiefly in the more elevated parts of the northern group of mountains. A small and hardy breed of sheep and some young cattle are grazed on them. They also contain some patches of bog, the turf of which is carried down into the low country for fuel. Coal is imported in considerable quantities from the British coast, particularly for the use of the inhabitants of the larger towns.
From a sad, comfortless childhood Giles Truelove developed into a reclusive and uncommunicative man whose sole passion was books. For so long they were the only meaning to his existence. But when fate eventually intervened to have the outside world intrude upon his life, he began to discover emotions that he never knew he had.
A touching story for the genuine booklover, written by an Irish bookseller under the pseudonym of Ralph St John Featherstonehaugh.
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