The congested districts
Citation:Kelly, Richard J. 'The congested districts'. - Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland,Vol. IX Part LXXI, 1890/1891, pp495-511
In certain parts of the great province of Connaught, principally in the Counties of Mayo and Galway, and in a few spots of Donegal, in the north, are comparatively closely-populated districts where the inhabitants living upon small patches of land, are unable from the peculiar circumstances of their situation to earn a livelihood, either by the mere cultivation of their own holdings, by labour upon other farms, or in any other pursuit. To find employment they are therefore forced by these conditions of their existence into precarious and peculiar ways of living. The miserable worn-out pieces of ground they are permitted to live upon and cultivate, are, relatively to the prevailing price for good land, disproportionately over-rented. From the unscientific mode of culture adopted, the fatal habit of sowing, year after year, the same kind of crop?the inevitable but not immortal potato?the land is unsuited as well as inadequate. The ground is actually sick of this uniform, changeless, and unvarying persistence in the growing of this one kind of root, and as a consesequence, the first visitation of any climatic inclemency, such as a wetter summer than usual, as was the case this year, brings with it the certain failure of the crop, which means for the growers the total loss of their main food resource?translated into hard facts means scarcity in its acutest form. To add to the deleterious results of this simple if not stupid style of cultivation, the tendency of late which has arisen to use artificial manures, and the invariable custom, which comes from ignorance, to select, not the best, but often the smallest and worse sorts for seed; we find many other active causes, all tending to produce the same disastrous effects.
Publisher:Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Series/Report no:Journal of The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland
Vol. IX Part LXXI 1890/1891
Description:Read Tuesday, 2nd December, 1890