County Armagh Manufactures

The peasantry are in possession of superior comforts in their habitations as well as in food and clothing, which cannot be attributed solely to the linen manufacture, as their neighbours of the same trade in the adjoining counties of Cavan and Monaghan are far behind them in this respect. The county possesses sufficient fuel for domestic consumption; but coal is imported from England by the Newry canal, and from the county of Tyrone by the Blackwater. In no other county do the working classes consume so much animal food. The general diffusion of the population is neither the result of a predetermined plan, nor of mere accident: it arises from the nature of the linen manufacture, which does not require those employed in it to be collected into overgrown cities, or congregated in crowded factories. Engaged alternately at their loom and in their farm, they derive both health and recreation from the alternation. Green lawns, clear streams, pure springs, and the open atmosphere, are necessary for bleaching: hence it is that so many eminent bleachers reside in the country, and hence also the towns are small, and every hill and valley abounds with rural and comfortable habitations.

In the mountainous districts are several springs slightly impregnated with sulphur and iron. The borders of the bogs sometimes also exhibit ferruginous oozings, one of which in the Fews mountains is said to be useful in scrofulous complaints. The same effect was also formerly attributed to the waters of Lough Neagh, in the north-western limits of this county. Boate states, in addition to this, that the temperature of the sand at the bottom of the bay in which this sanative quality is perceived, alternates frequently between cold and warmth. A petrifying quality, such as that said to exist in some parts of Lough Neagh, has been discovered at Rosebrook, near Armagh, the mansion-house of which was built, in a great measure, of petrifactions raised from a small lake there. Petrified branches of hawthorn have been found near the city of Armagh; and fossil remains of several animals have also been discovered in the limestone rocks in the same vicinity. Petrifactions of the muscle, oyster, leech, together with dendrites, belemnites, and madreporites, are also found; and in the mountain streams are pure quartz crystals, of which a valuable specimen, found near Keady, is in the possession of Dr. Colvan, of Armagh.

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