WESTMEATH GEOLOGY

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The county is wholly included within the great limestone plain of Ireland, of which it forms the most elevated portion. The uniformity of its geological structure is broken only at Moate and Ballymahon, in each of which places an isolated protuberant mass of sandstone rises from beneath the general substratum. The predominating colour of the limestone is a blueish grey of various degrees of intensity; it is often tinged with black and sometimes passes into deep black, particularly in those parts in which it is interstratified with beds of clay-slate, calp or swinestone, or where it abounds with lydian stone. The black limestone in the latter case is a hard compact rock, requiring much fuel for burning it, and is by no means serviceable for agricultural purposes. The structure of the limestone varies from the perfectly compact to the conjointly compact and foliated, and even to the granularly foliated: beds of the last kind are quarried and wrought for various purposes in the northern baronies.

Copper, lead, coal, and yellow and dove-coloured marble have been found in small quantities, but not so as to induce searches for the parent bed. A pair of elk's horns, found in a bog, were presented to Charles I. shortly before the commencement of the civil war; stags' horns in a state of great decomposition have been found near the shores of Lough Iron.

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