A very valuable description of farm practice in Ireland! Thanks you so much Mr. 

K. Green
On Oct 18, 2018, at 6:46 PM, Ron McCoy via CoTyroneList 
<cotyronelist@cotyroneireland.com> wrote:

> Hi Marion
> I am guilty of being a farmer and my last name is McCoy a version of McCay. I 
> have also walked a lot of farms in Ireland but do not claim to be an expert 
> on any thing you have mentioned below. Having said that I can give it a go 
> until someone who is more knowledgeable comes along and corrects my poor 
> thoughts. You say it is 39 Cunningham acres shared by four farmers. That is 
> hard to know how big that is because the Cunningham acre was different in 
> different Scotch/Ulster communities. As you know the Irish acre was about 27% 
> bigger per side for a  60% increase over a Statue acre. You are right about 
> the potatoes and oats. These were grown in any shape plot they could find and 
> often close to the house to provide food and sale if possible. At the height 
> of the many potato famines Irish potatoes were still advertised on the Docks 
> of Quebec and Montreal for sale. The first description is mountain arable and 
> heathy pasture, shallow    white gravely sand subsoil. The land is arable so 
> it has been cleared and has been plowed at one time. Likely rocks picked and 
> fences build. However by the description as being heathy pasture and shallow 
> I take it to likely mean at one time there was lots of erosion and the fields 
> played out quickly. Heathy land especially on the hill sides are usually 
> covered with low growing shrubs which are the devil to take out again and are 
> extremely invasive. With out an aerial map it is hard to tell but probably 
> the land is on a steep slope and may be part of what is known as a ladder 
> grazing system. The population of Ireland was about 8 million people to this 
> day it still has not regained that number. Every inch of land was being 
> cleared and utilized. The ladder grazing systems took old fields that were 
> unsuited for plowing any longer and used them for seasonal grazing. Farmers 
> usually together took the cattle to the top fields of the hills early in the 
> spring were the top field was dry and the early grass already growing. As 
> each field below grew and got dry enough they would move the cattle down the 
> ladder to the bottom of the hill. This system was well established and 
> communities worked together to mend fences, maintain fields and share pasture 
> land.
> The next description is of a deep arable soil which usually means that their 
> is a good depth of top soil. Moory land is usually wet and boggy often 
> containing high levels of peat and high organic mater which has a number of 
> difficulties in farming. The Irish farmers dealt with wet bogey lands by 
> ditching and creating what was known as ,"Irish Drains,." These were the for 
> runner of our modern tile drains. They would dig a net work of ditches and 
> lay stones in them with flat stones on top. The water would find its way to 
> the spaces between the stones and flow to a near by stream via the Irish 
> drain. This took incredible craftsmanship and hand labour and many of them 
> still work today however once you had improved the land this way the tax or 
> rent would jump considerably. In some ways times have not changed...
> Hope that is of some help
> cheers
> Ron McCoy
> On 2018-10-18 12:22 PM, Marion via CoTyroneList wrote:
>> Hello All,
>> Are there any farmers out there? This is a description of the area where my 
>> Great gt Grandfather, Thomas McCay, farmed in the Townland Valuation . He 
>> shared about 39 Cunningham acres with four other farmers in the first area 
>> and had about 2 acres in the second . The land is obviously pretty poor and 
>> I wondered if anyone could suggest how this land would have been used at 
>> that time. From my reading I guess he grew some oats and potatoes and used 
>> the pasture for some kind of livestock but I would be interested in any 
>> comments from people with more knowledge than me.
>> The Townland Valuation 1828-40
>> This was carried out by the Ordnance Survey and provided a very detailed 
>> description of the land in each townland. On June 20th 1833 it was the turn 
>> of Rabstown to undergo this process. The townland was divided into 5 areas, 
>> noted on an accompanying map, and each described and valued. The area in 
>> which Thomas shared land with a group of farmers and in which Archibald's 
>> farm was situated was probably area 3 and the following description is given:
>> '3 A recd (reclaimed) mountain arable                                        
>>  and heathy pasture, shallow,                                                
>>                                   white gravely sand subsoil'
>> The value or rate for the land in this area is given as 3s per statute acre, 
>> later increased to 3/6. This was by far the least valuable land in Rabstown, 
>> other areas being rated at between 9/6 and 14s in the initial valuation. 
>> Thomas' land in Glentown was obviously much better. It was in area 7 and 
>> surveyed on June 24th. The description is as follows:
>> '7 A good free deep arable 1/3 
>>  deep 2/3  a moory arable  of moderate depth and part exposed                
>>    Also reclaimed bog wet and heathy pasture’                                
>> This was valued initially at 11/6 per statute acre, later being raised to 
>> 12/6, while the reclaimed bog and heathy pasture was valued at 3/6.
>> Many Thanks
>> Marion Shephard
>> Sent from Mail for Windows 10
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