The general surface is rather level. In the barony of West Ophaly are several gently rising hills, and others occur towards the eastern boundary of the county. The greatest elevation of the plain country is around Naas, both which baronies and their vicinity present an appearance of great fertility, which is also exhibited generally throughout the eastern and southern, and a portion of the western parts of the county; but towards the north and north-west are vast tracts of the Bog of Allen, comprising more than 50,000 acres, having a flat, dreary surface, relieved here and there by verdant elevations, here called "islands." Near the southern extremity of this immense bog are the hills of Grange Allen, Cheelow, Dunmurry, Redhills, and Knocknagylogh, generally fertile, and cultivated to the summit. There are also small hills in the vicinity of Timoline and Moone; others stretching from Killan, by Kilrush, Davidstown, Calverstown, and Thomastown, and terminating in the hills of old Kilcullen and Ballysax; and other small and detached elevations near Arthurstown, Lyons, Longtown, &c.

The Bog of Allen and the Curragh of Kildare are two distinguishing features of the county. Most of the bogs which lie eastward of the Shannon, occupying considerable portions of Kildare and the King's county, are comprehended, in common parlance, under the former of these names, which does not, therefore, apply to any single morass. On the contrary, the tracts of bog to which it bears reference are often separated by high ridges of dry land inclining towards different rivers, as their natural vents for drainage. The portion of it within Kildare lies, as before observed, in the northern part of the county, and near its southern margin the island of Allen (a name given to an elevated tract of cultivated soil) surrounded like an oasis in the African desert, by the solitude of the uninhabited morass, presents a gratifying feature of variety; it rises abruptly from the bog, is nearly conical, and is composed of limestone gravel. Towards the west rises the Hill of Allen, a steep elevation of a conical form, about 300 feet in height.

The Curragh is a fine undulating down, six miles long and two broad: it lies in a direction from north-east to south-west, having the town of Kildare near its western extremity, and crossed by the great road from Dublin to Limerick; and is, in fact, an extensive sheepwalk of above 6000 acres, forming a more beautiful lawn than the hand of art ever made. Nothing can exceed the extreme softness and elasticity of the turf, which is of a verdure that charms the eye, and is still further set off by the gentle inequality of the surface: the soil is a fine dry loom on a substratum of limestone. It is depastured by numerous large flocks turned on it by the occupiers of the adjacent farms, who alone have the right of pasture, which greatly enhances the value of these farms. This plain has long been celebrated as the principal race-ground in Ireland, and is equal, if not superior, to that of Newmarket, in all the requisites for this sport.

The soil varies but little as compared with that of some adjoining counties: the most prevailing is deep and mellow, in some parts inclining to clay, but principally a rich loam, varying from 10 to 16 inches in depth, and resting on a hard and compact substratum, in some places impervious to water: when first, turned up it is cold and arid, but when mellowed by the influence of the atmosphere, it becomes fertile. In some parts the upper, or surface, soil rests on a substratum of limestone gravel; in others, on limestone, or clay-slate. In general the county is fertile and well cultivated, particularly around Athy, and thence along the banks of the Barrow, extending to the borders of the county of Carlow. The districts around the towns of Kildare, Naas, Kill, and Clane are also fertile, well fenced, and tolerably well cultivated; but in wet seasons much water remains on the surface, showing the want of a good system of drainage, which is much neglected.

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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