MAYO SOIL

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The soil in the champaign country is chiefly a dark brown sandy and gravelly loam on a limestone bottom; in some parts it is light and moory. In the districts in which bog prevails are ridges of limestone gravel, called escars, in some places three miles long, ¼ of a mile broad at the base, and from 30 to 60 feet high: they spontaneously produce many varieties of trees, which seldom attain any size, in consequence of their exposure when young to the cattle.

The rocky pastures in which oak and hazel brushwood grow spontaneously are excellent for fattening. The tendency to produce rich grass also shews itself in many parts of the mountainous regions. On passing the junction between the primary and secondary rocks, a striking improvement in the appearance of the verdure is observable; some of these secondary hills contain limestone, and the water is so strongly impregnated with this mineral, that calcareous depositions are found in large quantities on their banks.

The sand along the shores of Broadhaven and Blacksod bay is mostly silicious; yet with a slight manuring of sea weed, it produces excellent barley and potatoes. In these districts the inhabitants are much annoyed by the drifting sand, which is reduced to such a degree of comminution, as to penetrate even into the works of watches. Marly gravel, the substratum of all the hills, was found, when removed for the purpose of covering roads, to change the growth of the spot it fell on from heath to grass; the discovery of which quality led to its liberal use in reclaiming the summits of hills and moory tracts hitherto nearly unprofitable.

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