24 September-3 October 1777*
Upon a second journey to Ireland this year, I took the opportunity of going from Dublin to Mitchelstown, by a rout through the central part of the kingdom which I had not before sufficiently viewed.
Left Dublin the 24th of September, and taking the road to Naas, I was again struck with the great population of the country, the cabins being so much poorer in the vicinity of the capital than in the more distant parts of the kingdom. Mr. Nevill, at Furness, had, in a very obliging manner, given directions for my being well informed of the state of that neighbourhood. He is a landlord remarkably attentive to the encouragement of his tenantry. He allows half the expence of building houses on his estate, which has raised seven of stone and slate, and nine good cabbins, 35 by 16, at 271. each. He gives annually three premiums of 71. 51. and 31. for the greatest number of trees, planted in proportion to the number of their acres, and pays the hearth money of all who plant trees. He also allows his tenants 40s. an acre for all the parts of their farm that want gravelling, and does the boundary fence for them, but he is paid in his rent very well for this. The following particulars I owe to him.
The soil in general, for some miles every way, is a lime-stone gravel, which does very well for wheat; lets at an average at 20s. that is, from 10s. to 40s. There are some tracts of green stone land, and a little clay. Rents rose till 1772, but have since rather fallen: the whole county through may be 14s. or 15s. If all now was to be let, it would be 20s.
Farms rise from 15 acres to 500: a middling size is 250. They are now smaller than formerly, being divided as fast as leases fall. There are houses in general to all, the land lets the better for them, owing to its being a tillage country. Mr. Nevill encourages his tenantry to build, by being at half the expence. A common farmer requires one 50 feet long, 16 wide, two stories high; a barn, 40 by 16; a stable, 40 by 16; a cow-house, 50 by 14; a pig-stye, hen house, &c. all which would cost about 3001. of stone, the house slated, and would be sufficient for 250 acres of land. The courses of crops are;
1. Fallow. 2. Wheat. 3. Oats. 4. Wheat. 5. Clover. 6. Clover. 1. Potatoes. 2. Barley. 3. Fallow. 4. Wheat. 5. Clover. 6. Clover.
*Young, A Tour in Ireland, 343–61.