WATERFORD AGRICULTURE

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

In an agricultural point of view the county may be divided into three classes, two-thirds being under tillage, and the remaining third equally divided between meadow and pasture, and unimproved mountain and bog. Wheat, barley, bere, oats, and potatoes are the general crops, except in the mountain land, where they are confined to the two last-named. Clover is becoming very general, turnips and vetches are seldom sown, and flax or hemp only in the headlands or corners of the field. The manures are chiefly lime, which abounds in the western parts, and sea-weed and sand procured in the utmost abundance at Dungarvan and Youghal.

The fences, except in the neighbourhood of gentlemen's seats, are high banks of earth, with furze occasionally planted on the top. The most improved implements and carriages are now in general use; and the best breeds of every kind of cattle, which have been proved to be suited to the soil, are encouraged.

Sheep are less common than other species of stock. Pigs are to be met with everywhere, and, though the old Irish breed may be seen in a few places, those in general demand are of the best description: goats are also numerous in the county.

There is a great deficiency of timber: the ornamental woods and plantations of Curraghmore, Lismore, Dromana and Tourin, those on the banks of the Blackwater and on that part of the Suir between Carrick and Ardfinnan, being all that the county can boast of, except a few young plantations about the houses of some of the resident gentlemen.

The average size of tillage farms is from 30 to 40, and of dairy farms from 50 to 70 acres; butter is the only produce of the dairy, the making of cheese not being at all practised. The example of the successful cultivation of poor land in a mountain district set by the Trappists at Mount Mellory (described in the article on Cappoquin), and the opening of roads through the hilly parts of the country, are exciting a strong spirit of exertion in the neighbourhood, to attempt improvements in the treatment of the lands, heretofore deemed impracticable, the effects of which have already begun to shew themselves in the large tracts of land that have been enclosed and brought into cultivation since the settlement was made.

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