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ford; Westmeath ; Galway; King's County ; Tipperary; Clare; Limerick ; and Kerry. The Shannon enters the Atlantic Ocean between the counties of Clare and Kerry; and there forms an excellent bay, about eight miles in length, and seven miles broad in the widest part. In the progress from its source to the sea it is augmented by numerous tributary streams, and expands into several deep and extensive lakes. This river is navigable, as far as Limerick, for ships of five hundred tons burthen ; and is afterwards, with the assistance of a canal, navigable for small vessels to Shannon harbour, near Banagher, where it is joined by the Grand Canal from Dublin. Various circumstances relating to the width and characteristics of the river Shannon, and the scenery on its banks, are noticed in our description of the several counties through which it passes; and the same remark applies to other rivers, here mentioned in general terms.
The Barrow rises in the Sliebh Bloom mountains, and shortly after pursues a course due south, watering the following districts : Queen’s County; Carlow; Kilkenny; and Wexford. It then unites with the Suir and the Nore, and enters the bay of Waterford in conjunction with those rivers. It is navigable for small vessels from the town of Portarlington to the sea.
The Nore also rises in the Sliebh Bloom mountains, but pursues a south-eastern course, and flows through the central parts of the county of Kilkenny. It unites with the Barrow near the town of New Ross, and with the Suir a few miles nearer to the sea. This river is navigable from New Ross to Innistioge, and for boats from the latter place to Thomastown.
The Suir rises in the north-east part of the county of Tipperary. It has nearly an eastern course from the town of Clonmell to the sea, and separates the counties of Tipperary and Kilkenny from that of Waterford. We have stated that it receives in its progress the Barrow and the Nore. Shortly after this confluence takes place, the united rivers enter the sea. The Suir is navigable for small vessels, from Waterford Harbour to Clonmell.
The Blackwater has its source in the county of Kerry. It
intersects a tract containing some rich land, and much beautiful scenery, in the county of Cork; and passes through the western part of the county of Waterford. It flows towards the sea in an easterly direction until it reaches Cappoquin, from which place it proceeds in a southern course to Youghal, where it enters the ocean. This river is navigable to Cappoquin, distant from the sea fifteen miles. Several smaller rivers of the same name occur in different parts of Ireland.
The Slaney rises in the county of Wicklow, passes through the counties of Carlow and Wexford, and enters the sea at the town of Wexford. It is navigable for barges from Wexford to Eniscorthy
The Bann, a fine river in the north, flows along the borders of the following counties : Down; Louth; Armagh ; Antrim ; and Londonderry. It falls into Lough Neagh, and, issuing from the north end of that great expanse of waters, proceeds, in nearly a direct line, towards the sea, dividing the counties of Antrim and Londonderry. This river enters the ocean in the vicinity of Coleraine.
The Foyle, next in rank among the northern rivers, runs through the counties of Tyrone, Donegal, and Londonderry. At the distance of about twenty miles from Lough Foyle, where it enters the sea, this river forms a confluence with the Finn and Mourne, and is in most parts of its subsequent progress nearly half a mile in breadth. The Foyle is navigable to Lifford.
The Boyne takes its rise in the county of Kildare, and passes through the central part of the county of Meath. Washing the southern border of the county of Louth, it enters the sea in the vicinity of Drogheda. This river is navigable to Drogheda for ships of a considerable burthen ; and, with the assistance of a navigable canal, a communication is effected between that town and Navan.
The above are the principal navigable rivers, which, from their connexion with several distinct counties, require notice in a general view of the country. Many which are of great local importance, and constitute some of the most estimable natural
ornaments of the island, are confined to particular districts, and demand remark only as subjects of topographical description.
The Lakes of Ireland are numerous ; and, in regard to those which communicate with the sea by an immediate channel, may be considered as objects of national advantage, in a commercial point of view. Several are eminent for magnitude, and more for grandeur of scenery. The most extensive lakes are those of Lough Neagh, in the north-east part of the island (which is supposed to occupy not less than 173 English square miles); Lough Erne, which intersects Fermanagh ; and Lough Corrib, in Galway
Although Ireland is now lamentably deficient in Wood, it is evident that nearly the whole of the island formerly abounded in trees of various kinds. Proofs of this circumstance, bearing reference to different ages, may be easily adduced. The immense quantities of timber discovered in the bogs, plainly indicate that those districts formed one immense forest, at an early period; and the names by which many places are distinguished, convey allusions to their former situation amidst extensive tracts of wood. land.
The operations of agriculturalists naturally led to the reduction of the exuberant woods of this country; and the ravages of early warfare probably destroyed other extensive tracts of forest-shelter. But the united effects of these labours were chiefly of a salutary description, and merely cleared the island of an injurious redundancy. That woods, so spacious as to be undesirable, existed down to the latter years of the sixteenth century, is shown by a remark of Spenser, who suggests, among various improvements which he wished to take place in Ireland, the propriety of an order “for the cutting and opening of all places through woods, so that a wide way, of the space of one hundred yards, might be layde open in every of them, for the safety of travellers, which use often in such perillous places to be robbed, and sometimes murdered."*
* Spenser's View of the State of Ireland, Edit. of 1809, p. 258.- It may not be uninteresting to observe, on the authority of Sir John Davies, that
Many leases are still preserved which contain clauses, obliging the tenant to clear away the trees on the estate ; and every traveller through Ireland, who makes extensive inquiries concerning the topography of the country, is shown very numerous tracts, now entirely denuded, which, in the remembrance of aged persons, or their fathers, were covered with trees of a venerable
Much of the devastation committed on Irish woodlands, in years comparatively recent, is said to have proceeded from the practice of burning timber into charcoal, for the manufacture of iron ore, in the latter part of the seventeenth century. But the consumption for the use of those works must have been trivial in regard to the produce of the whole country, and we believe that the true cause of the modern destruction which has taken place, must be found in the improvident conduct of land-owners, whose exigencies have led to the sale of flourishing timber, without the performance of that real duty to their successors and the public, the careful provision for a future equivalent growth.
In addition to the injuries inflicted by wilful destruction or reprehensible neglect, it must be observed that the management of woodlands is very imperfectly understood in Ireland. An absurd opinion (remarks Mr. Hayes, in his work on Planting) was adopted some years back, “ that wherever a wood was felled it was useless, if not detrimental, to leave a single reserve, and that no shoot from a tree once cut down could ever grow to
the early English settlers appear to have paid little attention to the pre-
timber. This ill-founded theory stripped whole counties at once both of their ornament and shelter ; whereas a judicious thinningfall, repeated from time to time, would have kept up that appearance of woodland, which we remark in almost every shire in England."
There are no royal forests in this country; and hedge-row timber occurs in very few districts. The tracts most amply wooded are found in the counties of Wicklow, Kerry, and Fermanagh. Oak abounds in the glens of Wicklow, and on the mountains of Killarney; but, although greatly conducive to picturesque beanty, it rarely attains large dimensions, or individually approaches to the character of magnificence. Fermanagh appears to contain more wood than any other county of Ireland. Beech and ash are favourites of that soil, and the former attains a noble growth. Some majestic specimens of the Spanish chesnut are seen in the counties of Wicklow and Kerry.
The soil and climate, in most parts of Ireland, are peculiarly favourable to the growth of evergreens. In many places the laurel attains the size of a timber-tree ; and the holly and the yew expand to a surprising bulk. The arbutus, exhibiting most loxnriant foliage, abounds at Killarney, and in the county of Wicklow. Myrtles, of various species, flourish in several districts without the assistance of art.
Independent of the counties mentioned above, the principal woods of Ireland are to be found as ornamental circumstances connected with particular demesnes. Of these we shall have occasion, in future parts of our work, to notice several fine instances.
MINERALS, Fossils, &c.—The subterranean productions of Ireland have not yet been explored with a sufficient degree of enterprise and perseverance, to afford important benefit to the inhabitants, or to gratify the curiosity of men of science. From the discoveries that have been made there is, however, ample cause for believing that this country abounds in mineral bodies, calculated to form potent auxiliaries in the attainment of national affluence.