Three thousand five hundred yards in length of branch and cross drains have been cut, discharging into the above stream, by which means a large tract of reclaimable moor has been laid dry, and some of it is already pasturable for cattle, which, previous to drainage operations, could not be walked over.
Two thousand yards in length of cut have been made to carry off the waters of the above river, and six hundred yards of branch and cross drains, relieving impassable tracts of rich pasture and reclaimable moor, now available for feeding at all seasons.
The excavation of the main channel has been completed, and several shoals above and below the bridge of Liskeevy have been cleared out – the sides of the cut into the swallow holes in Liskeevy Turlough walled up with dry masonry and partly arched over in loose soil to prevent slips, and a large quantity of soil arranged and dressed off. One thousand three hundred and thirty yards of unwatering cut have been filled in, levelled off, and soiled over, and 600 yards in length of covered drains made through part of the unwatering cut too drain the Liskeevy Toulough.
Seven hundred yards in length of drain have been made to carry off the waters of the above stream, and a fine piece of pasture and meadow land laid dry.
The excavation of the main channel through rock, clay, and gravel was carried on for 800 yards in length until the middle of May, when it became necessary to stop the working of this division, so as to admit of a tap being cut from Milltown bridge to Millbrook mill, to carry off the summer waters of the river Clare at such a level as would admit of the foundation of the Millbrook weir being laid free from the influence of back water.
The dam for keeping up a supply of water to the Millbrook mills, which was removed in 1852, has been rebuilt for 230 feet in length of good solid soil masonry, having four sluices, capable of discharging 26,000 cubic feet per minute, inserted in it, and an inclined plane constructed for the passage of salmon and other fish.
The chaff house, was removed in 1852, has been rebuilt, and 300 yards in length of the embankment on the cast side of the river opposite to Millbrook mills have been made for preventing the flood-waters from overflowing the lands at the termination of the Strawberry Mill tap-drain.
The stanks in the weir basin above and below the mill have been removed, and the tail-race cleared up. The road across the head of the mill pond has been raised, and protecting walls built, and the temporary bridge elevated, and its span increased, so as to give sufficient discharge for the flood-waters. Five hundred feet in length of the tap-drains have been filled, and a quantity of spoil formed, levelled off, and soiled over.
The arrangements for completing the works of the district are, during the winter, to complete the filling in of the tap drains at Millbrook, and form and level off the heaps of spoil excavated out of the main channel above the mills in 1852; to complete the drain through Gardenfield Turlough in the Ballygaddy and Kilcreevanty divisions, and to fill in, in the latter division about 600 yards of unwatering cut; and arrange and level off a quantity of spoil, and finish the cutting of some drains of the Loughaclaureen and Belmont streams, and of the Quarrymount river and Fartamore division; and early in spring to resume the excavation of the main channel in the Milltown division, and, after its completion, to finish the excavation of the Cloondrane and Strawberry Hill rivers, and complete the embankment and drain for the drainage of the low lands between the termination of the Strawberry Hill tap-drain, and the junction of the Strawberry Hill river with the river Clare at Milltown, and to embank Liskeevy Turlough.
The foregoing works will, I trust be completed in June, if a sufficient number of labourers can be obtained, a sufficient number of whom could not be obtained in consequence of the emigration to England of the able-bodied labourers, who are induced to go there for the high rate of wages earned, leaving behind only the weaker class, most of whom prefer getting employment from private individuals, and can only be induced to enter the public works by getting a rate of wages fully thirty per cent over former years.
The fall of rain for the year, 25.92 inches, has been considerably less than that of the preceding year. The only consecutively heavy falls that occurred were on the 5th and 6th of October, when 2 2/5 inches of rain having fallen in seventeen hours, caused a flood at the outfall of the district of 196,000 cubic feet per minute. The water in the channel on the morning of the 5th was 4.10 feet over bottom, and at one o’clock, a.m. on the morning of the 7th it rose to a height of thirteen feet over bottom, flooding 800 acres of drained lands between Ballygaddy and Milltown for a period of twelve hours; and to a height of from six inches to one foot, with the exception of the Liskeevy Turlough, on which it rose to a height of three feet over the lands, and remained for three days. This clearly shows that the channels made are not even a capacious enough for the discharge of the floods. Previous to drainage operations such a flood as the foregoing would have risen to a height of from one to ten feet over the lands, and inundated five times the quantity of land flooded on the 7th October last, and remained until April, or perhaps May.
The lands in the Milltown division and Strawberry Hill river, containing 800 acres, were flooded on several occasions in consequence of the non-completion of the works of the river.
At Millbrook, nine miles from the outfall of the district, the flood rose to a height of twenty-six inches on the new weir, 203 feet in length. In addition to this, five sluice apertures, having an area of forty superficial feet, with a head eight feet of water on them were discharging at the same time.
Two hundred acres of the lands drained produced good crops of potatoes, oats, and turnips, without manure, which, previous to drainage operations, could not be tilted; and seventy acres of meadow, worth from £6 to £7 per acre, and about 2,800 acres of rich pasture land used throughout the entire year for grazing cattle of every description, which, previous to drainage operations, could not be fed on for more than from three to six uncertain months in the year, and during this period yielding only coarse sour herbage.