county acres lough irish feet coleraine
LONDONDERRY, a maritime county in the province of Ulster, Ireland, is bounded on the N. by the Atlantic, on the W. by Lough Foyle and Donegal, on the E. by Antrim and Lough Neagh, and on the S. by Tyrone. It has an irregular oval form, its greatest length being about 50 miles, and it greatest breadth about 40. The area comprises 513,388 acres, or about 802 square miles. The county consists chiefly of river valleys surrounded by elevated table-lands rising occasionally into mountains, while on the borders of the sea-coast the surface is generally level. The principal river is the Roe, which flows northwards from the borders of Tyrone into Lough Foyle below Newtown-Limavady, and divides the county into two unequal parts. Further west the Faughan also falls into Lough Foyle, and the river Foyle passes through a small portion of the country near its north-western boundary. In the south-east the Moyola falls into Lough Neagh, and the Lower Bann from Lough Neagh forms for some distance its eastern boundary with Antrim. The only lake in the county is Lough Finn on the borders of Tyrone, but Lough Neagh, which is included in Antrim, forms for about 6 miles its south-eastern boundary. The valley of the Roe is a line of division between two entirely different geological structures. To the east there is a basaltic tract in all respects similar to that in Antrim, except that on the Londonderry side of the Bann the dip of the strata is reversed and lies north-east. At Benyevenagh, which has an elevation of 1262 feet, the basalt roaches a thickness of 900 feet. It is succeeded by chalk lias, limestone, and red sandstone, the whole resting on primitive rock. The remainder of the county consists chiefly of mica-slate and primitive limestone, and includes the mountain of Sawel, with an elevation of 2236 feet, as well as other eminences approaching 2000 feet in height. Hornblende and granite frequently emerge above the slate, and limestone is not uncommon. Sandstone crops to the surface throughout nearly the whole of the valley of the Roe. Fine rock crystals are found in Finglen, near Dun-given, and in several other districts. Iron was at one time worked at Slieve Gullion, and is obtained in abundance in the bogs. There are a few unimportant veins of copper and lead.
Agriculture. - The excessive rainfall and the cold and uncertain climate are unfavourable for agricultural operations, and except in the valleys the soil is unsuitable for tillage. In the basalt region large tracts are partially submerged, and the hard and firm portions consist chiefly of rock. Along the sea-coast there is an extensive district of red clay formed by the decomposition of sandstone, and near the mouth of the Roe there is an extensive tract of a marly nature. Along the valleys the soil is often very fertile, and the elevated districts of the clay-slate region afford rich pasture for sheep.
In 1880 181,239 acres were under tillage, 206,044 were pasture, 5305 plantation, and 120,451 waste. The total number of holdings in the same year was 17,351, of which 1377 were under 1 acre. More than half of the total number were included in those between 5 and 15 acres and those between 15 and 30 acres, which numbered 5467 and 4848 respectively. The following table shows the area under the principal crops in 1855 and 1881 : - The increase in the area under crops is due chiefly to the increase in that under flax and meadow, although there is an increase in all other crops except wheat and oats.
The number of horses since 1855 has increased very slightly - from 20,331 to 20,749, of which 17,053 were used for agriculture] purposes. Cattle in 1855 numbered 102,185, and in 1881 only 96,693, an average of 25 to every 100 acres under cultivation, the average for Ireland being 25.8. The number of much cows was 39,393. Sheep numbered 29,888 in 1855, and 30,161 in 1881, pigs in the same years numbering 22,828 and 23,946. Goats in 1851 numbered 4666, and poultry 368,436.
According to the latest return, the land in 1873 was divided amongst 2178 proprietors possessing 511,838 acres, with a total annual value of-£364,732, the annual value per acre 'being 14s. 3d. Of the owners about 36 per cent. possessed less than 1 acre. As many as 153,419 acres were possessed by the Irish Society and seven of the livery companies of London - the Irish Society possessing 6075 acres; the Drapers' Company, 27,025; the Fishmongers', 20,509; the Grocers', 11,638 ; the Ironmongers', 12,714; the Mercers', 21,241; the Salters', 19,445; and the Skinners';34,772. In addition to this Sir H. H. Bruce owned 20,801 acres, S. C. Bruce 13,651, the representatives of T. It. Richardson 18,159, Church Temporalities Commissioners 13,413, C. S. M`Causland 12,886, and J. B. Beres-ford 10,420.
lilankfactures. - The staple manufacture of the county is linen. In 1880 the number of scutehing mills was 185. The manufacture of coarse earthenware is also carried on, and there are large distilleries and breweries and some salt-works. There are important fisheries of salmon and eels on the Bann.
Railways. - The only railways in the county are those which skirt its northern and western boundary, - the Belfast and Northern Counties line passing by Cookstown and Coleraine to Londonderry, and another line connecting Londonderry with Enniskillen.
-4(12711m...straiten, and Populalion. - The county. comprises 6 baronies, with 43 parishes and 1202 townlands. It is in the northwest circuit. Assizes are held at Londonderry, and quarter sessions at Coleraine, Londonderry, Magherafelt, and Limavady. Within the county there are 14 petty sessions districts. It includes two poor-law unions and portions of other three. Londonderry is in the Belfast military district and Omagh subdistrict. The county is represented in parliament by two members, and the boroughs of Londonderry (28,947) and Coleraine (6684) by one each. The population of the county, which in 1760 was only 46,182, had increased by 1821 to 193,869, and by 1841 to 222,461, but in 1851 had diminished to 192,269, in 1871 to 173,906, and in 1881 to 164,714, of whom 79,138 were males and 85,576 females. From the 1st May 1851 to 31st December 1881 the number of emigrants was 73,725. For every 1000 of the population the death-rate in 1880 was 19.2, the marriage-rate 4.2, and the birth-rate 23.2.
History and Antiquities. - At an early period the county was inhabited by the O'Cathans, or O'Catrans, who were tributary to the O'Nials or O'Neils. Towards the close of the reign of Elizabeth the county was seized with the purpose of checking the power of the O'Neils, when it received the name of Coleraine, having that town for its capital. In 1609, after the confiscation of the estates of the O'Neils, the citizens of London obtained possession of the towns of Londonderry and Coleraine and adjoining lands, 60 acres out of every 1000 being assigned for church lands, and certain other portions to three native Irish gentlemen. The common council of London undertook to expend £20,000 on its reclamation, and elected a body of twenty-six for its management, who in 1613 were incorporated as the Irish Society, and retained possession of the towns of Londonderry and Coleraine, the remainder of the property being divided among twelve of the great livery companies of the city. Notwithstanding the expenditure of large sums by those companies in its management, their estates were afterwards sequestrated by James I., and in 1637 the charter of the Irish Society was cancelled. Cromwell restored the society to its former position, and Charles II. at the Restoration granted it a new charter, and confirmed the companies in the possession of their estates. In the insurrection of 1641 Moneymore was seized by the Irish, and Magherafelt and Bellaghy, then called Vintner's Town, burned, as well as other towns and villages. The most remarkable ancient ruin is that of the Cyclopean fortress of the Giant's Sconce or Ring, situated in the pass between Drumbo and hergantea, the interior of which, 600 feet in diameter, is partly hollowed out of a knoll of basalt, by which it is enclosed on all sides except the north-east, where it is defended by a wall of great thickness, with access for only one person in a stooping posture. The most remarkable of the Druidical circles is that at Slacht Manus. There are a lark,re. number of artificial caves. The most ancient castle of Irish origin is that of Carrickreagh ' • and of the castles erected by the English those of Dungiven, Salterstown, and Muff are still in good preservation. The old abbey of Dungiven, founded in 1109, and standing ou a rock about 200 feet above the river Roe, is a very picturesque ruin.