The best land for feeding bullocks is the district extending from Elphin to Castlerea; that for sheep, those from Roscommon to Tulsk, and thence northwards to Boyle. Dairy farms are neither numerous nor extensive, yet the butter made in the county is of remarkably good quality and everywhere commands high prices. Great attention is paid to the breeds of cattle; the favourite stock is the Old Leicester crossed with the long-horned breed of the country, as being best adapted to the soil, remarkable for their symmetry, of good size, and easily fattened: the bullocks are larger than those in any other part of Ireland; they are generally disposed of at the October fair of Ballinasloe: sheep are also reared in great numbers; the most approved kinds are the New Leicester and a cross between it and the native breed; the wool of the latter being close and fine, and the mutton peculiarly well-flavoured.

The superiority of both cattle and sheep in this county is attributable both to the excellence of the soil and the skill and attention of the breeder. The horses are likewise in high estimation both as roadsters and hunters. Pigs, though superior to those of many other parts, are not a common stock; goats are seldom seen except with the cottiers in the mountainous districts.

The fences for the most part are high dry stone walls, which are preferred to the quickset hedge, even by most of the wealthier and more intelligent farmers, as affording more shelter to the cattle. Draining and irrigation are little practised, though much could be effected in this respect, as the bogs, which are interspersed throughout most parts in various sizes, from tracts of a thousand acres to patches scarcely adequate to supply the neighbouring district with fuel, are all so situated with respect to elevation and subsoil as to make their drainage and reclamation a work of little difficulty or expense.

The country in general is extremely deficient in timber. Its ancient forests have long since been cleared away; their only remaining traces are on the shores of some of the lakes; and not until lately have any general or enlarged exertions been made to reinvest the country with this useful and beautiful appendage.

The only plantations are in the neighbourhood of the mansions of the nobility and gentry. To the west of Castlerea and on the shores of Lough Ree the land spontaneously throws up shoots of oak, hazel and other species of forest trees in great abundance; and small copses, chiefly of underwood, are often met with among the rocky ravines. Turf is universally the fuel of the common people, and generally of the farmers: the principal part of the coal that has been raised in the north, above the quantity consumed in the iron-works, has been sold for the supply of more distant places, where fuel is less plentiful.

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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