Lough Derg (Shannon)

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Lough Derg

Lough Derg is a lake on the course of the River Shannon. It is the second-largest lake in the Republic of Ireland (after Lough Corrib) and the third-largest in the whole island. Its name is from the Gaelic Loch Deirgeirt, meaning "Loch of the red eye".

The lough is a long, relatively narrow lake, with shores in three counties: Clare (southwest), Galway (northwest), and Tipperary (to the east). The lake is the last of the three major loughs on the River Shannon, of which the others, Lough Ree and Lough Allen, lie further north. Some towns and villages on Lough Derg include Portumna, Killaloe & Ballina, Dromineer, Terryglass, Mountshannon and Garrykennedy.


At its deepest, the lake is 118 feet deep[1] and covers an area of 50 square miles. Close downstream of where Lough Derg empties into the Shannon are the Falls of Doonass, the largest waterfall on the otherwise gently sloping river, and nearby is the hydroelectric power plant at Ardnacrusha; the world's largest when it was built in 1927.


In the nineteenth century, Lough Derg was an important artery from the port at Limerick to Dublin through the canals in the midlands of Ireland. Navigable over its full length of 25 miles, Lough Derg is today popular with cruisers and other pleasure traffic, as well as sailing and fishing. The University of Limerick have an activity centre by the lake, just north of Killaloe, where there are canoes, kayaks, windsurfing, sailing dinghies, and other recreations.

In June 2013, 35 people were brought to safety when a major rescue effort was undertaken after an international rowing event was hit by severe weather.[2]


A breeding pair of White-tailed Eagles nested on an island in Lough Derg in 2012. This marked a great success for the Irish reintroduction programme started in the summer of 2007.[3][4][5]


Towns and villages on the lake shore include:

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Lough Derg (Shannon))


  1. International Lake Environment Committee Foundation
  2. The Irish Times, 2 June 2013 – 'Lough Derg rescue operation brings 35 ashore after rowing event
  3. The Irish Times, 30 April 2012 – 'Sea eagles return to Irish nest'
  4. RTÉ - Rare eagle reintroduced to Ireland
  5. White-tailed Eagle