The largest and most beautiful of the lakes wholly belonging to the county is Lough Kea, close to the town of Boyle, now more generally known by the name of Rockingham lake, from the seat of Lord Lorton on its southern shore. Several rivers from the south and west are tributary to it, but its principal supply proceeds from Lough Gara, on the borders of Sligo, whence a rapid stream called the Boyle water enters the western . extremity of the lake; it discharges itself by a narrow outlet, which soon expands into a series of lakes that take their common name from the town of Oakford in their neighbourhood, and discharge themselves into the Shannon.

The scenery throughout the whole of this chain of lakes is highly picturesque. To the north of Lough Kea are the smaller lakes of Lough Skean and Lough Meelagh, the latter very beautiful and both communicating with the Shannon by a common outlet. In the west of the county is Lough Aeluyn, and in its neighbourhood are Loughs Erritt and Glynn. In the central part, to the east of Elphin and Strokestown, are numerous small lakes, the waters of most of which find a passage to the Shannon; Lough Funcheon, in the barony of Athlone, is the only lake of any extent in the south. The eastern boundary of the county is bordered by several of the lakes formed by the Shannon; Lough Gara, already noticed, is on its western side between it and Sligo.

In winter the extent of water in the county is considerably increased by the turloughs or temporary lakes which usually disappear in summer, though they sometimes remain through the whole of that season, and occasionally even a second year. These turloughs, which vary considerably in extent during different years, occupy shallow basins in the limestone districts, where fissures in the rocks and swallow-holes occur; and are apparently formed by these vents being stopped by the back water from the subterraneous reservoirs with which they are connected. Such as have a grassy bottom, when the waters retire in time, produce most luxuriant crops. Some are of considerable size; that of Mantua contains about 600 English acres; and one near Lough Glynn is upwards of half a mile in length; they are most numerous in the western and central parts of the county.

The extent of surface occupied by water, in the baronies of Boyle and Roscommon, is much greater than in all the other divisions. The soil, though of great variety, may be divided into two remarkable portions, that based on the limestone of the plain districts, and that on the sandstone of the mountains and their vicinities, of which the former is by much the most fertile, forming the natural pasture land for which Roscommon has been so long celebrated, particularly the pasturages in the vicinity of Tulsk and Kilcorky and in the plains to the south-east of the town of Boyle. Extensive tracts of very light shallow soil are commonly devoted to sheep-feeding, more particularly along the ridges which separate the waters of the Suck and the Shannon, where the limestone rock is so sparingly covered, that the plough cannot be used.

Rich deep loams are also met with in the limestone districts, and the dry, mellow sandy lands between Elphin and Kingston are particularly noted for their fertility. Between the surface soil and the rock are often vast alluvial deposits of gravel and loams of various texture. Some of the sandstone soils, as in the vicinity of the Curlew mountains, though of a very poor quality, are susceptible of great improvement by judicious cultivation. The only sandy land is contiguous to Lough Aeluyn, where it appears to have been formed by drifts from the shores of the lake. On the mountains, dry patches covered with heath are occasionally found; but the surface is commonly wet and boggy. Great improvements by draining may be effected in every part of the county, both by deepening the streams in the low grounds, and by making drains in the uplands, where cold, wet and spongy land, producing rushes and aquatic plants, occurs in places apparently little likely to produce them.

County Roscommon | Roscommon Towns | Roscommon Topography | Roscommon Lakes | Roscommon Agriculture | Roscommon Livestock | Roscommon Geology | Roscommon Mining | Roscommon Manufacturing | Roscommon Rivers | Roscommon Antiquities | Roscommon Town

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