County Clare Natural Resources

The principal minerals are lead, iron, manganese, coal, slate, limestone, and various kinds of building stone. Very rich lead-ore has been found near Glendree, near Tulla, at Lemenagh, and at Glenvaan in the barony of Burren; a vein of lead was discovered, in 1834, at Ballylicky, near Quinn, the ore of which is of superior quality and very productive; it is shipped at Clare for Wales. There are strong indications of iron in many parts, especially near the western coast; but it cannot be rendered available until a sufficient vein of coal shall have been found in its vicinity. Manganese occurs at Kilcredane Point near Carrigaholt Castle, near Newhall, on the edge of a bog near Ennistymon, and at the spa well of Fierd, on the sea shore near Cross, where it is formed by the water on the rocks. Coal has been found in many places, particularly near the coast of the Atlantic, but few efforts have been made to pursue the search with a view to work it.

The best slates are those of Broadford and Killaloe, of which the former have long been celebrated, though the latter are superior, and both are nearly equal to the finest Welsh slates; the Killaloe quarry is worked to a greater depth than those of Broad-ford. Near Ennistymon are raised thin flags, used for many miles around for covering houses, but requiring strong timbers to support them. The Ballagh slates are however preferred for roofing, as being thinner than most of the same kind. There is another quarry of nearly the same sort near Kilrush, one near Glenomera, and others in the western part of the county. At Money Point, on the Shannon, a few miles from Kilrush, are raised very fine flags, which are easily quarried in large masses. Limestone occupies all the central and northern parts of the county, in a vast tract bounded on the south by the Shannon, on the east by a line running parallel with the Ougarnee river to Scariff bay, on the north by the mountains in the north of Tulla and the confines of Galway, and on the west by Galway bay and a line including Kilfenora, Curofin, and Ennis, and meeting the Shannon at the mouth of the Fergus.

The limestone rises above the surface in Burren and in the eastern parts of Corcomroe and Inchiquin, and in some places presents a smooth and unbroken plane of several square yards; the calcareous hills extending in a chain from Curofin present a very curious aspect, being generally isolated, flat on the summit, and descending to the intervening valleys by successive ledges. Detached limestone rocks of considerable magnitude frequently occur in the grit soils; and large blocks have been discovered in Liscanor bay, seven or eight miles from the limestone district: in a bank near the harbour of Liscanor, water-worn pebbles of limestone are found and burned. At Craggleith, near Ennis, a fine black marble, susceptible of a very high polish, is procured.

The shores of Lough Graney, in the north-eastern extremity of the county, produce a sand chiefly composed of crystals, which is sought for by the country people for upwards of 20 miles around, and is used for scythe boards, which are much superior to those brought from England: sand of similar quality is likewise procured from Lough Coutra, in the same mountains. Copper pyrites occur in several parts of Burren. An unsuccessful attempt to raise copper ore was made at Glenvaan. In the time of James I., as appears from a manuscript in the Harleian collection, there was a silver mine adjacent to O'Loughlin's castle in Burren; and an old interpolator of Nennius mentions that precious metals abounded here. Antimony, valuable ochres, clays for potteries, and beautiful fluor spar, have likewise been discovered in small quantities.

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