George Hill

Life
[Presum. Lord George Hill]; liberal landlord; author of Gweedore: Facts from the County Down (1846; 5th edn. 1887).

[ top ]

Quotations
Historical Account: ‘Sir Thomas Phillips made a journey from Coleraine to Dungannon through the wooded country … and thereupon wrote to Salisbury, expressing … his unfeigned astonishment at the sight of so many cattle ans such abundance of grain … The hillsides were literally covered with cattle … the valleys were clothed in the rich garniture of ripening barley and oats; while the woods swarmed with swine … 20,000 of these being easily fattenedyearly int eh fortest of Glenconkeyne alone. (Historical Account of the Plantation of Ulster; q.d.; quoted as epigraph to John Montague, “A Severed Head”, in Collected Poems, 1995, p.30.)

A sociable lot: ‘The pleasure the people feel in assembling and chatting together, made them consider the removal of the houses, from the clusters or hamlets in which they were generally built to the separate farms, a great grievance.’ (Evans, Irish Folk Ways, 1957, p.32.) Evans calls him a ‘reforming landlord’ (idem.).

[ top ]

References
Belfast Public Library I/841 and other Ulster historical works, incl. books on the McDonnells of Antrim and Stewarts of Billintray (1865).

[ top ]

Notes
John Philip Cohane (The Indestructible Irish, 1969), quotes at length remarks by Rev. George Hill, librarian at Queen’s Univ., Belfast, during 1850-1880, on the efficiency of native Irish farming before the Ulster plantation: ‘We are generally accustomed to believe tha the Irish of Ulster, in the seventeenth cnetury, were ignorant of all agricultural pursuits, including, of course, the management of domestic animals. Our plantation records, however, show us clearly enough we have been mistaken to a very considerable extent in this conclusion also. There knowledge and management in such matters would fall far short, to be sure, of our present requirements; but, as compared with their neighbours, whether English or Scottish, it is pretty evident that the Irish of Ulster only wanted peace to enable them to excel both, as agriculturalists. [...]’

[ top ]