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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Uncultivated Areas of Ireland

The Uncultivated Areas of Ireland.

No. of holdings, average acreage of each; arable land, and waste land in each province of Ireland in 1861.
Holdings. Average Acres. Arable—Acres. Waste—Acres Total Valuation. Borough Valuation
Leinster 98,125 42 4,079,130 622,895 4,435,797 756,570
Munster 1,00,816 45 4,538,054 1,257,987 3,279,944 433,581
Ulster 189,184 22 4,057,563 1,139,743 3,928,043 384,478
Connaught 113.997 24 2,790,078 1,336.713 1,420,332 50,660
Ireland 502,122 31 15,464,825 4,357,338 13,064,116 1,625,289

Assuming the valuation of the 38 boroughs (Dublin, Cork, &c.), with otier towns not boroughs, to be, say 2 millions, the vauation outside the civic assessment would be 11 milions. Add 5½ millions (50 per cent.) to this, the reatal of Ireland in 1882 = 16½ millions. Our Sumnary of the Land Court Returns showed in Ulster 5824 per cent, of addition, in Munster 57.49 per cen., and so of the other Provinces. In fact, the rertal of Ireland in 1882 must have reached even 17 millions or more. What a tax on the indusry of an impoverished people!

In six counties—Cork, Kerry (Munster), Donegal, Tyrone (Ulster), Galway, Mayo (Connaught)—there were as follows:—
Holdings. Average Acres. Arable. Acres. Waste. Acres.
Cork 29,989 48 1,416,994 379,574
Kerry 10,438 44 735,891 404,429
Donegal 30,464 22 672,422 491,173
Tyrone 27,188 20 546,169 219,824
Galway 32,829 30 996,373 455,677
Mayo 34,040 20 715,799 585,072
170,948 5,083,648 2,535,749

1.—These six counties contain one-third of the holdings, one-third of the arable land, and more than one half (5-8ths) of the waste land of Ireland. In these counties also—" the congested districts " —is to be found the major part of the destitution and misery perpetual in that country. One million acres at least of these wastes are reclaimable. The reclamation would give employment, would give food, pro. tem., and by the establishment of a page 137 peasant proprietary on the lands reclaimed, would give, not a precarious or casual, but permanent relief. Nimmo and Griffith's bog reports, a survey authoritative and exhaustive, are in the hands of the Government. The means are there suggested whereby many may be redeemed from misery, have the property of their own holdings, and become conservators of order and of law.

2.—It is to be remarked that the most prosperous counties of Ireland—Armagh and Down—have the smallest average acreage per holding. Armagh, 1882, 14¾ acres; 1861, 14 acres. Down, 1882, 20.10 acres; 1861, 20 acres. There is no change in the average since 1861. But in Kerry—1882, 59.80 acres; 1861, 44 acres. Donegal—1882, 85.78 acres: 1861, 22 acres. The prosperous counties have average; the poorest districts from 44 to 60, from 22 to 36. And, stranger still, the rents have a higher increase over the valuation—in Donegal, 68.19 per cent.; in Kerry, 87.73 per cent. A higher rate of rent, but a deeper depth of misery. Does not this suggest irresistibly the cause of the poverty?