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MONAGHAN

"COUNTY MONAGHAN, an inland county of the province of Ulster, Ireland. It lies between 53° 63' and 64° 25' N. latitude, and between 6° 33' and 70 18' W. longitude. It is bounded by county Tyrone on the N., by Armagh and Louth on the E., by Meath and Cavan on the S., and by Fermanagh on the W. Its length from N. to S. is 37 miles, and its extreme breadth from the opposite points is 28 miles. It comprises an area of 500 square miles, or 319,757 acres, which are disposed thus: 285,885 arable, 21,585 uncultivated, 5,816 in plantation, 304 occupied by the sites of towns, roads, &c., and 6,167 covered with water. The surface is mostly hilly, and becomes mountainous towards the N.W. and E. The Slievbeagh range, extending from N. to W., sends up a summit 1,254 feet above sea-level. The soil of the lowlands of the S. is mostly good, consisting of a portion of the central limestone-field of Ireland. The soil of the hilly districts, on the other hand, is generally very inferior. The principal rivers of this county are the Blackwater, on the eastern boundary, which joins Lough Neagh, also the Fane, Glyde, Lagan, Fink, and numerous small streams. The lakes are numerous, and some of considerable extent, as loughs Inny, Emy, Eglish, Mucknoo, Leesborough, Long, Whitelough, Corfin, Bawn, Avaghon, Ballyhoe, and Ross. Much turf is obtained from the numerous bogs, the surface having anciently been the site of a dense forest. The inhabitants are chiefly occupied in agriculture. The spade is preferred to the plough. The dwellings of the poor are cabins of the lowest description. The fences are mostly stone and clay. The principal crops raised are oats, barley, potatoes, and flax, which last is of considerable importance.

The linen trade, which till recently was declining throughout the county, has rallied, and is now steadily increasing. The geological characteristics of the county are the same as other districts in the E. of Ulster, the substratum belonging chiefly to the transition formation; the prevailing rocks are graywacke and slates of various kinds, with a few varieties of metamorphic rock, where the transition and crystalline formations approach each other. Mountain limestone is also very common in the N.W. and S., the Slievbeagh mountains belonging to the calp series of this formation. There are quarries of slate, marble, and gypsum worked, and coal appears about Carrickmacross, but is not worked. There are also indications of lead, copper manganese, and antimony; but the mineral productions of this county are more numerous than valuable. This county is divided into five baronies-viz: Cremorne, Dartree, Farney, Monaghan, and Trough, which comprise 17 whole parishes and 6 parts of parishes The principal towns are Monaghan, the county town, Carrickmacross, Castle Blayney, Clones, and New-Bliss. The first four are sessions towns and heads of Poor-law Unions, and all are market towns. The smaller towns are Ballybay, Bellanode, Emyvale, Glaslough, Rockcorry, Scotshouse, and Smithborough. It is within the Belfast military district, and the North-Eastern Circuit, and forms part of the diocese of Clogher, in the united sees of Armagh and Clogher. Monaghan formerly returned four members to the Irish parliament. It now sends two representatives to the Imperial parliament for the county, which had a constituency in 1859 of 5,121. It is governed by a lieutenant and custos rotulorum, vice-lieutenant, sheriff, and 18 deputy-lieutenants, assisted by the county magistrates and other officers. The population in 1851 was 141,758, and in 1861, 126,482. This county was formerly the territory of the MacMahons. In 1177 it was overrun by John de Courcy, to whom Henry II. granted all the lands he had conquered in Ulster; but its ancient proprietors held considerable sway down to the close of the 16th century. In the reign of Henry V. it was wasted by frequent and bloody collisions between the landowners, when the MacMahons were brought into the king's peace by Lord Furnival, the lord-lieutenant. It was constituted a county in 1568. The principal communications of the county are the Ulster canal, the Dundalk and Armagh railway, and the roads from Monaghan to Ballybay, Dundalk, Bellatrain, Bailieboro, Carrickmacross, Ardagh, Slane, and Dublin, again to Armagh and Belfast, again to Emyvale, Anglenachy, and Omagh, and lastly to Smithborough, Clones, and Enniskillen. The antiquities of most interest in the county are an entrenchment near Scotshouse, known as the Worm Ditch, Druidical remains at Monaghan and Carrickmacross, round towers at Clones and Inniskeen, ruins of castles at Donaghmoyne, Maghernacligh, and Castle-Blayney. The chief residences of this county are Rossmore Park, that of Lord Rossmore; Dartree, of Lord Cremorne; Castleblayney, of Lord Blayney; and others of private gentry, as Coolderry, Poplar Vale, Longfea, Glasslough, Anketell Grove, Thornhill, Castlehane, Glynch, Camla, &c."

 

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)]
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2018