County Clare Trees

Few counties present a greater deficiency of wood, yet few afford more favourable situations for the growth of timber where sheltered from the cold winds of the Atlantic: the practice of planting, however, is gaining ground, but the general surface of the county is still comparatively bare. The most valuable timber is that found in the bogs; it consists of fir, oak, and yew, but chiefly the two former: in red bogs, fir is generally found; in black bogs, oak. The fir is frequently of very large dimensions, and most of the farmers' houses near places where it can be procured are roofed with it. The manner of finding these trees is somewhat curious: very early in the morning, before the dew evaporates, a man takes with him to the bog a long, slender, sharp spear, and as the dew never lies on the part over the trees, he can ascertain their situation and length, and thrusting down his spear, can easily discover whether they are sound or decayed: if sound, he marks with a spade the spot where they lie, and at his leisure proceeds to extricate them from their bed.

Along the coast of Malbay, where not even a furze bush will now grow, large bog trees are frequently found. The extensive boggy wastes are susceptible of great improvement: the only part not containing large tracts of this kind is the barony of Burren, the inhabitants of the maritime parts of which bring turf in boats from the opposite coast of Connemara. On the other hand, a considerable quantity of turf is carried from Poulanishery to Limerick bay, a water carriage of upwards of forty miles, for the supply of which trade immense ricks are always ready on the shore; and sometimes the boats return laden with limestone from Askeaton and Aughnish. Although large tracts formerly waste, including all the corcasses, have been gained from the Fergus and the Shannon, yet a large portion of the marshes on their banks still remains subject to the overflow of these rivers. The fuel chiefly used is turf, but a considerable quantity of coal is now consumed by respectable families.

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