MEATH SOIL

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

From the level aspect which the general surface exhibits the only considerable elevations being the hills of Loughcrew in the western extremity of the county, there is not much romantic scenery; yet many parts, particularly in the vicinity of the larger rivers, present prospects of tranquil beauty. The small part of the county which borders on the sea, between the mouth of the Boyne and the Delvan, contributes as little to its scenic beauties as to its commercial advantage; the character of the line of coast being that of a shelving strand, with little depth of water and no opening adequate to admit large vessels. The prevailing character of the soil is a deep rich loam, resting on a substratum of limestone, and the earth has been found, at the depth of four feet, in many places, equal in quality to that on the surface; so that when the farmer finds his fields beginning to be unproductive, he has only to plough somewhat deeper, and turn up a proportion of mould previously untouched.

In the undulating districts the soil is a light earth upon a stiff clay bottom, beneath which a vein of limestone gravel of irregular depth is frequently discovered; but otherwise an impervious substratum of ochreous clay runs to a considerable depth. In the northern part the soil on the hills is generally a dry gravelly clay, from 12 to 18 inches deep, but in the intervening valleys there is a deep rich loam. The herbage of the hills is remarkable for fattening sheep, and that of the low lands equally noted for feeding cattle. The district stretching along the shore is composed of a very light soil chiefly of sand, with little vegetative power, and yielding little but bent grass. The quantity of bog is small in proportion to that of the general surface, and very unequally distributed. Lough Sheelin forms a small part of the county boundary towards Cavan; Church Island in that lake belongs to Meath. The Blackwater opens out into a fine expanse of water near Kells.

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