Cavan Natural Resources

The minerals are iron, lead, silver, coal, ochres, marl, fullers' earth, potters' clay, brick clay, manganese, sulphur, and a species of jasper. Limestone and various kinds of good building stone are also procured, especially in the north-western extremity of the county, which comprises the eastern part of the great Connaught coal field. A very valuable white freestone, soft to work but exceedingly durable, is found near Ballyconnell and at Lart, one mile from Cavan. The substratum around the former place is mostly mountain limestone, which dips rapidly to the west, and appears to pass under the Slieve Russell range of mountains, which are composed of the new red sandstone formation, with some curious amalgamations of greenstone. To the west of Swanlinbar rises the Bealbally mountains, through which is the Gap of Beal, the only entrance to Glangavlin; and beyond, at the furthest extremity of the county, is Lurganculliagh, forming the boundary between Ulster and Connaught.

The base of this mountain range is clay-slate; the upper part consists entirely of sandstone, and near the summit is a stratum of mountain coal, ten feet thick, in the centre of which is a vein of remarkably good coal, but only about eight inches in thickness. The coal is visible on the eastern face of the mountain, at Meneack, in this county, where some trifling workings have been made, to which there is not even a practicable road; its superficial extent is supposed to be about 600 acres. The sandstone of these mountains, in many parts, forms perpendicular cliffs of great height; and the summit of Cuilagh, which is entirely composed of it, resembles an immense pavement, traversed in every direction by great fissures. Frequently, at the distance of from 80 to 100 yards from the edge of the precipice, are huge chasms, from twelve to twenty feet wide, extending from the surface of the mountain to the bottom of the sandstone.

Some of the calcareous hills to the west of the valley of Swanlinbar rise to a height of 1500 feet, and are overspread with large rolled masses of sandstone, so as to make the entire elevation appear at first sight as if composed of the same. Iron ore abounds among the mountains of this part of the county, and was formerly worked. A lead mine was worked some years ago near Cootehill, and lead and silver ore are found in the stream descending from the mountain of Ortnacullagh, near Ballyconnell. In the district of Glan is found pure native sulphur in great quantities, particularly near Legnagrove and Dowra; and fullers' earth and pipe clay of superior quality exist in many parts. Proceeding towards the Fermanagh mountains, beautiful white and red transparent spars are found within a spade's depth of the surface; and here are two quarries of rough slate. Potters' clay, in this part of the county, occurs in every townland, and some of it is of the best and purest kind; patches of brick clay of the most durable quality are also common.

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »