Historical description of county Limerick, Ireland

LIMERICK. This county is bounded on the north by the estuary of the Shannon, which separates it from the county of Clare; on the east by Tipperary; on the south by Cork county; and by that of Kerry on the west. Its extent from east to west is about fifty miles, and from north to south about thirty-two , comprising, 680,832 acres, including bogs, mountains and waste. Limerick can boast of a large portion of some of the finest land in Ireland. The soil is a rich, mellow, crumbling, sandy loam, and is applicable to every purpose of culture. The rent of land is 18s. 8d. an acre. Pasturage is more attended to than tillage: large numbers of livestock, and great quantities of agricultural produce are exported from this county. Limerick county is watered by several important streams, the following are the principal - The Maig, or Maigue, which receives a number of rivulets in its course to the Shannon, falls from the Galtic mountains south of Kilfannan, and from the high lands which mark the boundaries of Limerick and Cork, the two branches uniting five miles north-west of Kilmallock, join the Shannon at Carigagunell. The Deel springs from two sources in the same highlands as the prceeding rivers, and falls into the Shannon at Askeyton. All the rivers of the interior are branches of the Shannon ; besides those alread named, there are the Daun, or Morning Star, the Mulcairne; the Funcheon, the Feale - the last named being a boundary stream for some distance on the south-west border. There is a coal mine at the western extremity of the county, but turf is the general fuel of the inhabitants. Lead occurs in the limestone mountains above Deel, near Askeyton, and fine slate near Abbyfeale, on the borders of the county. The climate of Limerick is remarkably good, and the weather less variable than in any other county in Ireland. The entire face of the country, notwithstanding its great natural fertility, presents a denuded appearance, from the paucity of woodlands and hedgerows, those great embellishments of scenery. In 1843 there were sixty-eight national schools in operation in this county, attended by more then 9,000 children.

DIVISIONS, POPULATION, REPRESENTATION, &c. The number of baronies comprised in the county are twelve, namely, Clanwilliam, Connellow Lower, Connellow Upper, Coonagh, Coshlea, Coshma, Glenquin, Kenry, Owneybeg, Pubblebrien, Shanid, and Smallcounty ; and the liberties of Kilmallock and the County of the City of Limerick. These are divided into one hundred and thirty-two parishes. The population of the county (includin Limerick City and County), by the census taken in 1841, was males, 161,997; females, 168,032; total, 330,029. The number of houses inhabited, at that period, was 48,127, uninhabited, 1,568; and houses building, 113. Prior to the Union, Limerick sent six representatives to the Irish Parliament, namely two for the county at large, and two for each of the boroughs of Askeaton and Kilmallock; since that period the two members returned to the Imperial Parliament for the city, and the like number for the count at large, have been its only representatives: those gentlemen at resent sitting for the county are William Smith O'Brien, of Cahermoyle, Esquire, and Caleb Powell, of Clanshavy, Esquire. The Earl of Dunraven, Adair Castle, county of Limerick, is lieutenant and custos rotulorum of the county. Limerick confers the titles of Earl an Viscount on the family of Percy.

Transcribed from Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840