Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, reflectivity of any metal; the metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold and zinc refining. Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal is used in many bullion coins, sometimes alongside gold: while it is more abundant than gold, it is much less abundant as a native metal, its purity is measured on a per-mille basis. As one of the seven metals of antiquity, silver has had an enduring role in most human cultures. Other than in currency and as an investment medium, silver is used in solar panels, water filtration, ornaments, high-value tableware and utensils, in electrical contacts and conductors, in specialized mirrors, window coatings, in catalysis of chemical reactions, as a colorant in stained glass and in specialised confectionery.
Its compounds are used in X-ray film. Dilute solutions of silver nitrate and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides, added to bandages and wound-dressings and other medical instruments. Silver is similar in its physical and chemical properties to its two vertical neighbours in group 11 of the periodic table and gold, its 47 electrons are arranged in the configuration 4d105s1 to copper and gold. This distinctive electron configuration, with a single electron in the highest occupied s subshell over a filled d subshell, accounts for many of the singular properties of metallic silver. Silver is an soft and malleable transition metal, though it is less malleable than gold. Silver crystallizes in a face-centered cubic lattice with bulk coordination number 12, where only the single 5s electron is delocalized to copper and gold. Unlike metals with incomplete d-shells, metallic bonds in silver are lacking a covalent character and are weak; this observation explains the low high ductility of single crystals of silver.
Silver has a brilliant white metallic luster that can take a high polish, and, so characteristic that the name of the metal itself has become a colour name. Unlike copper and gold, the energy required to excite an electron from the filled d band to the s-p conduction band in silver is large enough that it no longer corresponds to absorption in the visible region of the spectrum, but rather in the ultraviolet. Protected silver has greater optical reflectivity than aluminium at all wavelengths longer than ~450 nm. At wavelengths shorter than 450 nm, silver's reflectivity is inferior to that of aluminium and drops to zero near 310 nm. High electrical and thermal conductivity is common to the elements in group 11, because their single s electron is free and does not interact with the filled d subshell, as such interactions lower electron mobility; the electrical conductivity of silver is the greatest of all metals, greater than copper, but it is not used for this property because of the higher cost.
An exception is in radio-frequency engineering at VHF and higher frequencies where silver plating improves electrical conductivity because those currents tend to flow on the surface of conductors rather than through the interior. During World War II in the US, 13540 tons of silver were used in electromagnets for enriching uranium because of the wartime shortage of copper. Pure silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal, although the conductivity of carbon and superfluid helium-4 are higher. Silver has the lowest contact resistance of any metal. Silver forms alloys with copper and gold, as well as zinc. Zinc-silver alloys with low zinc concentration may be considered as face-centred cubic solid solutions of zinc in silver, as the structure of the silver is unchanged while the electron concentration rises as more zinc is added. Increasing the electron concentration further leads to body-centred cubic, complex cubic, hexagonal close-packed phases. Occurring silver is composed of two stable isotopes, 107Ag and 109Ag, with 107Ag being more abundant.
This equal abundance is rare in the periodic table. The atomic weight is 107.8682 u. Both isotopes of silver are produced in stars via the s-process, as well as in supernovas via the r-process. Twenty-eight radioisotopes have been characterized, the most stable being 105Ag with a half-life of 41.29 days, 111Ag with a half-life of 7.45 days, 112Ag with a half-life of 3.13 hours. Silver has numerous nuclear isomers, the most stable being 108mAg, 110mAg and 106mAg. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives of less than an hour, the majority of these have half-lives of less than three minutes. Isotopes of silver range in relative atomic mass from 92.950 u
Cupellation is a refining process in metallurgy, where ores or alloyed metals are treated under high temperatures and have controlled operations to separate noble metals, like gold and silver, from base metals like lead, zinc, antimony or bismuth, present in the ore. The process is based on the principle that precious metals do not oxidise or react chemically, unlike the base metals. Since the Early Bronze Age, the process was used to obtain silver from smelted lead ores. By the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, cupellation was one of the most common processes for refining precious metals. By fire assays were used for assaying minerals, that is, testing fresh metals such as lead and recycled metals to know their purity for jewellery and coin making. Cupellation is still in use today. Native silver is a rare element, it is found in nature combined with other metals, or in minerals that contain silver compounds in the form of sulfides such as galena or cerussite. So the primary production of silver requires the smelting and cupellation of argentiferous lead ores.
Lead melts at 327°C, lead oxide at 888°C and silver melts at 960°C. To separate the silver, the alloy is melted again at the high temperature of 960°C to 1000°C in an oxidizing environment; the lead oxidises to lead monoxide known as litharge, which captures the oxygen from the other metals present. The liquid lead oxide is absorbed by capillary action into the hearth linings; this chemical reaction may be viewed as: Ag + 2Pb + O2 → 2PbO + AgThe base of the hearth was dug in the form of a saucepan, covered with an inert and porous material rich in calcium or magnesium such as shells, lime, or bone ash. The lining had to be calcareous because lead reacts with silica to form viscous lead silicate that prevents the needed absorption of litharge, whereas calcareous materials do not react with lead; some of the litharge evaporates, the rest is absorbed by the porous earth lining to form "litharge cakes". Litharge cakes are circular or concavo-convex, about 15 cm in diameter, they are the most common archaeological evidence of cupellation in the Early Bronze Age.
By their chemical composition, archaeologists can tell what kind of ore was treated, its main components, the chemical conditions used in the process. This permits insights about production process, social needs or economic situations. Small scale cupellation is based on the same principle as the one done in a cupellation hearth; the minerals have to be crushed and smelted to concentrate the metallic components in order to separate the noble metals. By the Renaissance the use of the cupellation processes was diverse: assay of ores from the mines, testing the amount of silver in jewels or coins or for experimental purposes, it was carried out in small shallow recipients known as cupels. As the main purpose of small scale cupellation was to assay and test minerals and metals, the matter to be tested has to be weighed; the assays were made in the cupellation or assay furnace, which needs to have windows and bellows to ascertain that the air oxidises the lead, as well as to be sure and prepared to take away the cupel when the process is over.
Pure lead has to be added to the matter being tested to guarantee the further separation of the impurities. After the litharge has been absorbed by the cupel, buttons of silver were formed and settled in the middle of the cupel. If the alloy contained a certain amount of gold, it settled with the silver and both had to be separated by parting; the primary tool for small scale cupellation was the cupel. Cupels were manufactured in a careful way, they used to be small vessels shaped in the form of an inverted truncated cone, made out of bone ashes. According to Georg Agricola, the best material was obtained from burned antlers of deer although fish spines could work as well. Ashes have to be ground into a fine and homogeneous powder and mixed with some sticky substance to mould the cupels. Moulds were made out of brass with no bottoms. A shallow depression in the centre of the cupel was made with a rounded pestle. Cupel sizes depend on the amount of material to be assayed; this same shape has been maintained until the present.
Archaeological investigations as well as archaeometallurgical analysis and written texts from the Renaissance have demonstrated the existence of different materials for their manufacture. Different recipes depend on the expertise of the assayer or on the special purpose for which it was made. Archaeological evidence shows that at the beginnings of small scale cupellation, potsherds or clay cupels were used; the first known use of silver was in the Near East in Anatolia and Mesopotamia during the 4th and 3rd millennium BC. the Early Bronze Age. Archaeological findings of silver and lead objects together with litharge pieces and slag have been studied in a variety of sites, metallurgical analysis suggests that by people were confidently extracting silver from lead ores so the method would have been known earlier. During the following Iron Age, cupellation was done by fusing the debased metals with a surplus of lead, the bullion or result product of this fusion was heated in a cupellation furnace to se
Shot is a collective term for small balls or pellets made of lead. These were the original projectiles for shotguns and are still fired from shotguns and less from riot guns and grenade launchers, although shot shells are available in many pistol calibers in a configuration called "bird shot", "rat-shot", or "snake shot". Lead shot is used for a variety of other purposes such as filling cavities with dense material for weight/balance; some versions may be plated with other metals. Lead shot was made by pouring molten lead through screens into water, forming what was known as "swan shot", more economically mass-produced at higher quality using a shot tower; the Bliemeister method has supplanted the shot tower method since the early 1960s. Producing lead shot from a shot tower was pioneered by William Watts of Bristol who adapted his house on Redcliffe Way by adding a three-storey tower and digging a shaft under the house through the caves underneath to achieve the required drop; the process was patented in 1782.
The process was brought above ground through the building of shot towers. Molten lead would be dropped from the top of the tower. Like most liquids, surface tension makes drops of molten lead become near-spherical; when the tower is high enough, the lead droplets will solidify while still dropping and thus will retain their spherical form. Water is placed at the bottom of the tower, causing the lead to be cooled after dropping. Roundness of manufactured shot produced from the shot tower process is graded by forcing the newly produced shot to roll down inclined planes. Unround shot will roll to the side, for collection; the unround shot was either re-processed in another attempt to make round shot using the shot tower again, or used for applications which did not require round shot. The hardness of lead shot is controlled through adding variable amounts of tin and arsenic, forming alloys; this affects its melting point. Hardness is controlled by the rate of cooling, used in manufacturing lead shot.
The Bliemeister method, named after inventor Louis W. Bliemeister of Los Angeles, California, is a process for making lead shot in small sizes from about #7 to about #9. In this process, molten lead is dripped from small orifices and dropped 1 inch into a hot liquid, where it is rolled along an incline and dropped another 3 feet; the temperature of the liquid controls the cooling rate of the lead, while the surface tension of the liquid and the inclined surface work together to bring the small droplets of lead into regular balls of lead in spherical form. The size of the lead shot, produced is determined by the diameter of the orifice used to drip the lead, ranging from 0.018 inches for #9 lead shot to about 0.025 inches for #6 or #7.0 shot, while depending on the specific lead alloy, used. The roundness of the lead shot depends on the angle of the inclined surfaces as well as the temperature of the liquid coolant. Various coolants have been used, ranging from diesel fuel to antifreeze and water-soluble oil.
After the lead shot cools, it is washed dried, small amounts of graphite are added to prevent clumping of the lead shot. Lead shot larger than about #5 tends to clump badly when fed through tubes when graphite is used, whereas lead shot smaller than about #6 tends not to clump when fed through tubes when graphite is used. Lead shot dropped into liquid cooling baths when being produced from molten lead is known as "chilled lead shot", in contrast to "soft lead shot", produced by molten lead not being dropped as into a liquid cooling bath; the process of chilling lead shot during its manufacturing process causes the shot to become harder than it would otherwise be if allowed to cool more slowly. Hence, chilled lead shot, being harder and less to deform during firing, is preferred by shotgunners for improving shot pattern densities at longer ranges, whereas soft lead shot, being softer and more to deform during firing, is preferred for improving shot pattern densities at close ranges as the softer and now deformed shot scatters more when fired.
Soft lead shot is more deformed during the firing process by the effects of chokes. The manufacture of non-lead shot differs from that of lead, with compression molding used to create some alloys. Shot is available in many sizes for different applications; the size of numbered shot decreases. In hunting, some sizes are traditionally used for certain game, or certain shooting situations, although there is overlap and subjective preference; the range at which game is encountered and the penetration needed to assure a clean kill must both be considered. Local hunting regulations may specify a size range for certain game. Shot loses its velocity quickly due to its low sectional density and ballistic coefficient. Larger shot carries farther, does not spread out as much as smaller shot. Buckshot is shot formed to larger diameters so that it can be used against bigger game such as deer. Sizes range in ascending order from size #B to Tri-Ball, it is referred by the size, followed by "buck", e.g. "#000" is referred to as "triple-aught buck" in America or "triple o buck" in other English speaking countries.
Buckshot is traditionally cast. The Bliemeister method does not work for shot larger than #5, works progressively poorly fo
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth from an ore body, vein, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package, of economic interest to the miner. Ores recovered by mining include metals, oil shale, limestone, dimension stone, rock salt, potash and clay. Mining is required to obtain any material that cannot be grown through agricultural processes, or feasibly created artificially in a laboratory or factory. Mining in a wider sense includes extraction of any non-renewable resource such as petroleum, natural gas, or water. Mining of stones and metal has been a human activity since pre-historic times. Modern mining processes involve prospecting for ore bodies, analysis of the profit potential of a proposed mine, extraction of the desired materials, final reclamation of the land after the mine is closed. De Re Metallica, Georgius Agricola, 1550, Book I, Para. 1Mining operations create a negative environmental impact, both during the mining activity and after the mine has closed.
Hence, most of the world's nations have passed regulations to decrease the impact. Work safety has long been a concern as well, modern practices have improved safety in mines. Levels of metals recycling are low. Unless future end-of-life recycling rates are stepped up, some rare metals may become unavailable for use in a variety of consumer products. Due to the low recycling rates, some landfills now contain higher concentrations of metal than mines themselves. Since the beginning of civilization, people have used stone and metals found close to the Earth's surface; these were used to make early weapons. Flint mines have been found in chalk areas where seams of the stone were followed underground by shafts and galleries; the mines at Grimes Graves and Krzemionki are famous, like most other flint mines, are Neolithic in origin. Other hard rocks mined or collected for axes included the greenstone of the Langdale axe industry based in the English Lake District; the oldest-known mine on archaeological record is the Ngwenya Mine in Swaziland, which radiocarbon dating shows to be about 43,000 years old.
At this site Paleolithic humans mined hematite to make the red pigment ochre. Mines of a similar age in Hungary are believed to be sites where Neanderthals may have mined flint for weapons and tools. Ancient Egyptians mined malachite at Maadi. At first, Egyptians used the bright green malachite stones for ornamentations and pottery. Between 2613 and 2494 BC, large building projects required expeditions abroad to the area of Wadi Maghareh in order to secure minerals and other resources not available in Egypt itself. Quarries for turquoise and copper were found at Wadi Hammamat, Tura and various other Nubian sites on the Sinai Peninsula and at Timna. Mining in Egypt occurred in the earliest dynasties; the gold mines of Nubia were among the largest and most extensive of any in Ancient Egypt. These mines are described by the Greek author Diodorus Siculus, who mentions fire-setting as one method used to break down the hard rock holding the gold. One of the complexes is shown in one of the earliest known maps.
The miners crushed the ore and ground it to a fine powder before washing the powder for the gold dust. Mining in Europe has a long history. Examples include the silver mines of Laurium. Although they had over 20,000 slaves working them, their technology was identical to their Bronze Age predecessors. At other mines, such as on the island of Thassos, marble was quarried by the Parians after they arrived in the 7th century BC; the marble was shipped away and was found by archaeologists to have been used in buildings including the tomb of Amphipolis. Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, captured the gold mines of Mount Pangeo in 357 BC to fund his military campaigns, he captured gold mines in Thrace for minting coinage producing 26 tons per year. However, it was the Romans who developed large scale mining methods the use of large volumes of water brought to the minehead by numerous aqueducts; the water was used for a variety of purposes, including removing overburden and rock debris, called hydraulic mining, as well as washing comminuted, or crushed and driving simple machinery.
The Romans used hydraulic mining methods on a large scale to prospect for the veins of ore a now-obsolete form of mining known as hushing. They built numerous aqueducts to supply water to the minehead. There, the water stored in large tanks; when a full tank was opened, the flood of water sluiced away the overburden to expose the bedrock underneath and any gold veins. The rock was worked upon by fire-setting to heat the rock, which would be quenched with a stream of water; the resulting thermal shock cracked the rock, enabling it to be removed by further streams of water from the overhead tanks. The Roman miners used similar methods to work cassiterite deposits in Cornwall and lead ore in the Pennines; the methods had been developed by the Romans in Spain in 25 AD to exploit large alluvial gold deposits, the largest site being at Las Medulas, where seven long aqueducts tapped local rivers and sluiced the deposits. Spain was one of the most important mining regions, but all regions of the Roman Empire were exploited.
In Great Britain the natives had mined minerals for millennia, but after the Roman conquest, the scale of the operations increased as the Romans needed Britannia's resources gold, silver
Carrickgollogan is a hill in County Dublin in Republic of Ireland. It is 276 metres high and rises above the village of Shankill on the eastern edge of the Dublin Mountains, its summit is noted for the panoramic views it offers of south north Wicklow. The author Weston St. John Joyce, writing in The Neighbourhood of Dublin, described the vista as "a fine view is obtained of Bray, Howth and Killiney, the vale of Shanganagh, Bray Head and town. Between the observer and the sea will be seen Loughlinstown, looking closely built from this point, like the towns of medieval times, which were built within as small an area as possible, so as to reduce the circuit of the enclosing wall. To the westward will be seen the wooded hill of Barnaslingan, forming the eastern side of the Scalp, beyond that the Two and Three Rock Mountains, south of these the higher Wicklow hills – War Hill and Duff Hill"; the geological composition of the summit is predominantly quartzite. The high ground is a mixture of heathland and commercial forestry while the lower slopes are farmland.
The forest on the mountain is mixed woodland including Lodgepole pine, Noble fir, Japanese larch, Lawson cypress, Scots pine and beech trees and is a habitat for badgers, rabbits and a variety of birds. The area around the summit includes a number of sites of historical interest including the former lead works at Ballycorus and the ruined church and round tower at Rathmichael; the most distinctive landmark to the north of the summit is the ruins of the flue chimney of the former lead works at Ballycorus. Open-cast mining began at this site, just below the western side of the flue chimney, around 1807 and the site was taken over by the Mining Company of Ireland in 1826 who undertook underground mining in the area intermittently up until 1863. Two veins of lead and a vein of silver were worked during this period. However, most of the activity at Ballycorus occurred at the smelting facility constructed by MCI in the valley below the mine workings. Here, lead from Ballycorus, as well as lead from mines in counties Donegal and Wexford, was processed using a reverberatory furnace.
After the mine was exhausted in the 1860s, the smelting facilities continued to receive and process ore from MCI's mines at Glendalough, County Wicklow. In the 1880s it was no longer commercially viable to process Irish ores and the smelter was put to work processing ore from the Great Laxey mine in the Isle of Man up until closure in 1913. A process had been discovered in the 1770s whereby lead could be extracted from the fumes emitted by reverberatory furnaces if the vapours could be trapped long enough to precipitate the lead. To this end a flue 1 1⁄4 miles long running from the lead works and terminating at a chimney near the summit of Carrickgollogan was constructed in 1836; the distinctive granite flue chimney with its external spiral staircase and viewing platform became a noted landmark and was marked on Admiralty charts as a point of reference for mariners. Photographic records show that the flue chimney was much taller with an extra brick section, now dismantled, rising above the viewing platform.
It is the only example of such a chimney to have been built in Ireland. Weston St. John Joyce noted that the flue was "stated to be one of the best constructed in the United Kingdom"; the precipitated lead deposits were scraped out of the flue by hand and many of the workers subsequently died of lead poisoning, giving the surrounding area the nickname "Death Valley". As well as the remains of the flue chimney, a number of buildings from the smelting works situated in the valley below survive to the present day; these industrial buildings, all built from granite, include furnaces, purification tanks, lime kilns, workers' cottages and manager's house. Many of these buildings are now private residences. A shot tower, built in 1857, has survived. An earlier shot tower – described by Joyce as "a handsome and substantial structure, having a spiral stairs within, terminating in an artistic iron veranda on the outside" – built in 1829 no longer survives. Further down the slopes to the north of the summit lies Rathmichael where the ruins of a church and round tower are found enclosed within the remains of what would once have been one of the largest ringforts in Ireland.
The church dates from Norman times but the presence of the round tower and ringfort indicates that the site dates back to early Christian times. Its dedication is believed to be to a saint called MacTail which would date the foundation of the monastery and church to the mid-seventh century; the site lies close to the route of the pilgrimage route from St. Mary's Church, Dublin to Glendalough; the entrance had an arched gateway. The ring wall and mound is 350 feet in diameter and its size suggests the site was the base for an important chieftain. Within the enclosure would have lain a small quadrangular church and a number of monastic huts. Only the base of the round tower, 2 metres high, remains, it has a circumference of 51 feet. The tower is known locally as "The Skull Hole", a reference to the occasion when skulls and bones from the adjoining burial ground were deposited there rather than being re-interred when the graveyard was cleared to create additional space. There is a story of an underground passage that leads from the round tower to the sea and of a piper who descended into the passage playing his instrument, never to be seen again.
The remains of a passage – a souterrain – have been found close to the tower. All that remains of the church is th
Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
A townland is a small geographical division of land used in Ireland. The townland system is of Gaelic origin, pre-dating the Norman invasion, most have names of Irish Gaelic origin. However, some townland names and boundaries come from Norman manors, plantation divisions, or creations of the Ordnance Survey; the total number of inhabited townlands was 60,679 in 1911. The total number recognised by the Irish Place Names database as of 2014 was 61,098, including uninhabited townlands small islands. In Ireland a townland is the smallest administrative division of land, though a few large townlands are further divided into hundreds; the concept of townlands is based on the Gaelic system of land division, the first official evidence of the existence of this Gaelic land division system can be found in church records from before the 12th century, it was in the 1600s that they began to be mapped and defined by the English administration for the purpose of confiscating land and apportioning it to investors or planters from Britain.
The term "townland" in English is derived from the Old English word tun. The term describes the smallest unit of land division in Ireland, based on various forms of Gaelic land division, many of which had their own names; the term baile, anglicised as "bally", is the most dominant element used in Irish townland names. Today the term "bally" denotes an urban settlement, but its precise meaning in ancient Ireland is unclear, as towns had no place in Gaelic social organisation; the modern Irish term for a townland is baile fearainn. The term fearann means "land, quarter"; the Normans left no major traces in townland names, but they adapted some of them for their own use seeing a similarity between the Gaelic baile and the Norman bailey, both of which meant a settlement. Throughout most of Ulster townlands were known as "ballyboes", represented an area of pastoral economic value. In County Cavan similar units were called "polls", in Counties Fermanagh and Monaghan they were known as "tates" or "taths".
These names appear to be of English origin, but had become naturalised long before 1600. In modern townland names the prefix pol- is found throughout western Ireland, its accepted meaning being "hole" or "hollow". In County Cavan, which contains over half of all townlands in Ulster with the prefix pol-, some should be better translated as "the poll of...". Modern townlands with the prefix tat- are confined exclusively to the diocese of Clogher, which covers Counties Fermanagh and Monaghan, the barony of Clogher in County Tyrone), cannot be confused with any other Irish word. In County Tyrone the following hierarchy of land divisions was used: "ballybetagh", "ballyboe", "sessiagh", "gort" and "quarter". In County Fermanagh the divisions were "ballybetagh", "quarter" and "tate". Further subdivisions in Fermanagh appear to be related to liquid or grain measures such as "gallons", "pottles" and "pints". In Ulster the ballybetagh was the territorial unit controlled by an Irish sept containing around 16 townlands.
Fragmentation of ballybetaghs resulted in units consisting of four and twelve townlands. One of these fragmented units, the "quarter", representing a quarter of a ballybetagh, was the universal land denomination recorded in the survey of County Donegal conducted in 1608. In the early 17th century 20 per cent of the total area of western Ulster was under the control of the church; these "termon" lands consisted of ballybetaghs and ballyboes, but were held by erenaghs instead of sept leaders. Other units of land division used throughout Ireland include: In County Tipperary, "capell lands" and "quatermeers". A "capell land" consisted of around 20 great acres. In the province of Connacht, "quarters" and "cartrons", a quarter being reckoned as four cartrons, each cartron being 30 acres; the quarter has been anglicised as "carrow", "carhoo" or "caracute". In County Clare, as in Connacht, "quarters", "half-quarters", "cartrons" and "sessiagh". Here a "half-quarter" equated to around 60 acres, a "cartron" equated to around 30 acres and a "sessiagh" was around 20 acres."Cartrons" were sometimes called "ploughlands" or "seisreagh".
Thomas Larcom, the first Director of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, made a study of the ancient land divisions of Ireland and summarised the traditional hierarchy of land divisions thus: 10 acres – 1 Gneeve. This hierarchy was not applied uniformly across Ireland. For example, a ballybetagh or townland could contain less than four ploughlands. Further confusion arises when it is taken into account that, while Larcom used the general term "acres" in his summary, terms such as "great acres", "large acres" and "small acres" were used in records. Writing in 1846, Larcom remarked that the "large" and "small" acres had no fixed ratio between them, that there were various other kinds of acre in use in Ireland, including the Irish acre, the English acre, the Cunningham acre, the plantation acre and the statute acre; the Ordnance Survey maps used the statute acre measurement. The quality and situation of the land affected the size of these acres; the Cunningham acre is give