Agriculture is systematically practised in some parts, particularly by the noblemen and resident gentlemen, and their example is beginning to produce its beneficial effects among the small farmers. Wheat is cultivated generally, and the quality is remarkably good; the barley is also bright and sound; the oats are good, clean and heavy, except in a few low, cold, and clayey situations; potatoes are extensively grown, and in great varieties of sorts, large quantities being sent to Dublin; turnips and mangel-wurzel are cultivated by a great number of the wealthy farmers, clover and vetches by nearly all; and rape is grown extensively around Monastereven. The Scotch plough is general, the old heavy wooden plough being rarely seen; indeed agricultural implements of all kinds are greatly improved, except the spade, which is still a long narrow tool. The heavy wooden wheel car has given place to one of much lighter construction, with low spoke-wheels, iron-bound , the kish, so general in the western counties, is scarcely ever seen here; some of the vehicles are made exactly after the plan of the Scotch cart, some of them with, and some without the high sides.

Greater attention is manifested in collecting manure, and large composts are raised in the vicinity of bogs by the mixture of bog mould and stable manure or ashes. The burning of subsoil in kilns was introduced by the late Mr. Rawson, who compiled the statistical survey of Kildare for the Royal Dublin Society, and has now become general, producing the finest crops of potatoes and turnips. A kind of indurated sand found in banks, the adhesive property of which is so great that the bank, when cut perpendicularly, will never yield in any kind of weather, is considered by some agriculturists as a kind of golden mine for the farmer who can avail himself of the benefit of it. The cottagers in the neighbourhood of the Curragh collect the sheep dung, which they mix in tubs with water, stirring it until it forms a thick solution, which they call "mulch;" in this they steep the roots of their cabbage plants for some hours; a quantity of the substance consequently sticks to the roots, and ensures a full crop. In the smaller farms a very disadvantageous custom is prevalent of dividing the land into long narrow enclosures, which occasions an unnecessary and therefore injurious extent of fence in proportion to the land included.

The fences generally are tolerably good, but they everywhere occupy too much ground; the usual kind is a bank of earth thrown up from a wide ditch, and covering five or six feet of surface, so that the bank and ditch seldom occupy less than nine feet in width: in the breast of this bank, about halfway up, a single row of quicksets is placed, sometimes accompanied by seedlings of forest timber. In those parts which have not been subjected to tillage there are very rich fattening grounds; but where the soil has been much exhausted by the plough, the pasture is poor and light. The grasses in the meadows and feeding pastures are of the most valuable kinds; in low bottoms, especially in those subject to floods, Timothy grass is the principal herbage.

Dairies of any extent are not frequent, except in the parts convenient to the Dublin market, where they are kept for the purpose of fattening calves. Great improvement has been made in the breed of cattle, the old long-horned Irish cow being now rarely seen; the most esteemed are the short-horned or Dutch breed, crossed with the Durham; some of the gentry and wealthy farmers have introduced the pure Durham breed, which commands large prices; others have the North Devon, which answers remarkably well. The small farmers mostly prefer the old Irish long-horned cow, crossed with the Durham; and in some districts scarce any other is seen: in the northern baronies, bordering on Meath, the large and heavy long-horned cattle are very common and grow to a size equal to those of Meath or Westmeath. Great numbers of cattle are brought from other counties, and fed here for the Dublin market.

Great improvement has been made in the breed of sheep, and vast flocks are every year reared on the Curragh: the most prevailing breed is a cross between the New Leicester and the Ayrshire, but many of the principal agriculturists have the pure New Leicester; sometimes they are crossed with the Kerry sheep. The lower class of farmers have brood mares as part of their tillage stock, but they do not pay sufficient attention to the breed of the sires, and are too desirous of crossing with racers.

Kildare, County of | Kildare Baronies | Kildare Topography | Kildare Agriculture | Kildare Geology | Kildare Rivers | Kildare Antiquities | Kildare Social History | Kildare Town | Kildare, Diocese of

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