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vided into 434 townlands, or 41,817A.; and, according to that estimate, it has been heretofore rated for subsidy and cess. The Grand Jury Map, published in 1817, laid down its contents as, in Irish measure, 65,137A. of arable land, 25,548A. of bog, and 3,598A. covered with water; but the recent Trigonometrical Survey has, with yet more accuracy, while it adjusts the measurement to the present imperial standard, ascertained the scope of the district as 154,768A. 1R. 3P., whereof 8,707A. 2R. 9P. are covered with water. Of this total tract 68,214A. 2R. 14P. have, by legislative authority, been portioned off in 1833 for the better distribution of local assessment; and the tract, so severed, has been denominated the barony of French-park, leaving 86,544A. 3R. 29P. comprised in eight parishes, as the present extent of the now-called barony of Boyle; and to this only do the following notices apply. The total annual value of its lands has, on the general valuation, been calculated as (exclusive of exemptions) £38,714 3s. 2d. This estimate was, however, taken for the paramount object of equitably adjusting county cess, and was based upon certain then stated
ally perpetuated as the scale of annual Grand Jury assessment, a course indispensable in Connaught, the Down Survey having been only partially effectuated in that province, and Roscommon and Galway wholly excluded from it. The computations of Strafford's Survey were therefore, ex necessitate, especially recognized by the Act of Explanation, as evidence to be adopted in places where the Down Survey had not been taken.
averages of agricultural produce exclusively. The total population has been returned on the last census as 40,129 persons, of whom the lower order chiefly communicate in the Irish language.
The soil, though of great variety, may be generally comprehended under two classifications; that of the plain districts, whose substratum is limestone, varying in colour and quality, and abounding with petrefactions and madrepores; and that of the mountains and their vicinities, which is based on sandstone. The former, as may be supposed, is by much the more fertile, forming the natural pasture for which this barony has been long pre-eminently celebrated, more especially the pasturage in the tract south-east of Boyle, popularly termed the “plains of Boyle,” though its surface is, in fact, considerably undulated. The only sandy land is contiguous to Lough Allen, where it appears to have been formed by drifts from the shores of that lake.
In the mountainy districts, dry patches covered with heath are occasionally found; but the surface, heretofore commonly wet and boggy, or only producing rushes and aquatic plants, and so characterized in Weld's “Statistical Survey of the County Roscommon,” has, in latter years, by judicious drainage
and the introduction of lime as a manure, been greatly improved; and it but remains by a liberal extension of roads to encourage its cultivation, and facilitate the transmission of its produce. The most interesting portion of this mountainous character, in reference to geological formation, is that on the confines of Lough Allen, forming the celebrated coal and iron district of Arigna. The coal strata here are arranged with great regularity, rising immediately into the high flat-topped mountains, Brah-Slieve and Slieve Curkagh, which are separated by the deep and narrow valley of the Arigna. They dip conformably with the subjacent limestone, and in opposition to the southern declivity of the hills; but the continuity of the different beds is sometimes broken by faults, producing a variation of level from twenty to forty yards wide. The series of strata, their respective thickness, and the extent of the field, are subjects fully detailed in Griffith's "Report on the Connaught Coal District.” The quality of the coal is bituminous, emitting a thick smoke before it kindles, and yielding a strong heat, but rather a heavy earthy smell. It is, however, sufficiently well adapted for culinary or manufacturing purposes, and, for the object of smelting iron, is considered as good as any English coal; it also makes excellent coke. The most important colliery is at Aughabehy, on the estate of Captain Tenison, who is the proprietor of others adjacent at Celtinaveena, Derreenavoghy, Tullylyons, Tullyglass, and Crosshill. Others occur, and have been worked at Rover and Kilvin, now the property of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners ; at Gubbarudda, Graignageeragh, and Cammock, on the estate of the Mac Dermott Roe; at Graig-na-clogh, held moietively by the Rev.
Mr. Coote Mulloy, and the Mac Dermott Roe; and at Tullynahaw, on the estate of Mr. William Lloyd, of Rockville, but some of these are yet inaccessible.
In the iron district inconsiderable workings appear to have been made at an early period of the eighteenth century, and continued until all supply of wood for the furnace was exhausted, when the really most important era in the mining history of this district may be referred to the introduction of the process of smelting iron with coal, and the consequent establishment of the works at Arigna, in 1788, by three brothers of the name of O'Reilly. By these enterprising men, who held under a demise from the Tenison family, buildings and machinery were erected; and pit coal was, for the first time, used in Ireland in the smelting of iron ore, and both bar and pig iron of the best quality, and castings of every description were produced by the application of this useful improvement. Such enthusiasm as to its ultimate advantage was then entertained, as will be best evidenced by an extract from the Dublin Chronicle of November, 30th, 1790. “We hear that the Arigna works, on the border of Lough Allen, are at this hour in a most prosperous state, in so much that it is expected, that, before three years more shall revolve, the entire provinces of Connaught and Munster will be hence fully supplied with iron of every denomination, and, when the Royal Canal shall have reached the Shannon, the rest of the kingdom will,
in all probability, be supplied with that useful metal, for which it appeared, on the investigation of a petition presented to the House of Commons last session, there had, in the last ten years, been paid to Sweden and other countries the sum of five millions sterling.” The speculation, however, in consequence of the great expenses of bringing in the material and the fuel to the works, transmitting the iron to Dublin, and other impediments and vicissitudes, proved unsuccessful; the O'Reillys were obliged to assign their interest to Mr. La Touche, having previously borrowed from him £10,000. He resumed, or rather continued the works for a short interval, during which, Mr. Tenison and he presented various petitions for pecuniary aid to the Irish Legislature, but in vain; whereupon the operations were wholly suspended, although two coal mines in the southern district were then open for its supply, viz. the Rover colliery, about a mile, and the Aughabehy, about three miles distant. This latter is the largest, and in its immediate vicinity the iron works might have been more advantageously constructed. Mr. La Touche, being also discouraged, assigned his interest to a Mr. Flattery, upon whose representations, and on the faith of a Report upon the mineral wealth of this district, made by Mr. Griffith to the Royal Dublin Society, in 1814, and the repetition of the statements therein contained by that gentleman before a committee of the House of Commons, in 1824, the investment of capital was again invited to this