Agriculture in Ulster during the 1700s and early 1800s set the pattern for much of today’s rural landscape.
The maze of roads and small fields that we see today developed from the small farms created by the cottage industry of linen manufacture.
People survived on small patches of land and they added value to their flax crop grown by spinning and weaving it into linen cloth.
Working the Land in America
One of first things the early European settlers did was to clear the forests for agriculture. They found that maize, or Indian corn, grew well and they copied the native American’s production methods. This involved planting maize on small mounds called ‘hills’.
Working the Land in Ireland
Lowland areas of Ireland were worked very intensively. The main crops were flax, oats and potatoes. Flax was used in the cottage linen industry, oats were sold in the marketplace and potatoes were a food crop. Growing and harvesting these crops required much labour. Farmers usually paid the...
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