From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837
The climate is very temperate, but so variable that the best barometers are uncertain as to the indications of wet or dry weather. The whole county may be called a tillage country, although there are numerous tracts more peculiarly suited to the fattening of cattle. In the north the soil is either a thin turf moss, on a freestone gravelly bottom, or a thin sandy loam skirted with large tracts of bog. In proceeding southward the soil becomes less moory, deeper, and richer. The vicinity of Sligo presents a plain of great fertility, resting on a substratum of limestone or calcareous gravel. The central baronies to the south of the town are the most fertile, being covered, except where interrupted by hills, with a very rich deep soil, well suited to the growth of wheat, potatoes, and every kind of green crop.
In the most southern extremity the soil changes its character with the aspect of the surface, the rocky mountain tracts being covered with a stratum of freestone gravel and rock, interspersed with land of excellent quality fit for every kind of tillage or for pasturage. In the west the soil is light and gravelly, with large tracts of black bog and moory mountain, much of which is capable of improvement, but the best land in the entire county is around Ballymote. Throughout most parts there occurs a substratum called lac-leigh, which is corrupted Irish for "a grey flag;" it is found from nine to twelve inches beneath the surface, and is, when undisturbed, perfectly impervious, and therefore retentive of water.
Silicious marl in a concrete state seems to be its principal ingredient. It effervesces slightly with acids, is of a leaden grey colour, and when dug up and exposed to the atmosphere, resolves into a coarse-grained friable powder. Its presence would be a complete bar to the progress of tillage, were it not that experience has proved that, when dug up and well incorporated with the superincumbent soil, it improves the compost, and, when broken through, the ground below consists of a limestone gravel, into which the water retained by the stubborn shell is immediately absorbed. Trenching the land for potatoes breaks the stratum, and carries off the water so effectually that no other drains are necessary.
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.
This is a story for the genuine booklover, penned by an Irish bookseller under the pseudonym of Ralph St. John Featherstonehaugh.
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