River Avoca

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The River Avoca by Avoca village

The River Avoca is a river of thirty-five miles in County Wicklow, and the longest river in the county the course of which runs entirely within County Wicklow.[1]

The basin of the Avoca is 250 square miles.[2]

The Avoca was originally called Abhainn Mhór ('Great River') or Abhainn Dé ('The god's river'). ('Avonmore' is now the name of its main headwater.) The present name is derived from the name of a river in Ptolemy's Geographia, which was thought to correspond to the Avoca; a river Ptolemy called Oboka (Οβοκα).[3] Other scholarship suggests that the Oboka is more likely refers to the Liffey.[4]


The Avonmore (left) meets the Avonbeg (right)

The Avoca starts life as two rivers, the Avonmore ('Great River') and the Avonbeg ('Little River'). These join together at a celebrated spot called the Meeting of the Waters (Cumar an dá Uisce) in the Vale of Avoca. The Meeting of the Waters is considered a local beauty spot, and was celebrated by Thomas Moore in his song of the same name.

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet,
As the vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
Oh, the last rays of feeling and life must depart,
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.

The village of Avoca stands on the riverbank.

The Meeting of the Waters

The Avoca flows into the Irish Sea at Arklow where it widens into a large estuary, giving Arklow its Irish language name an t-Inbhear Mór ('the Great Inlet').

The long term average flow rate of the Avoca is 4,440 gallons a second.


The Avoca in Arklow, with the Nineteen Arches Bridge

The valley of the Avoca has a large copper mine, and further downstream was the NET fertilizer factory (closed since 2002). These are said to have contributed greatly to pollution in the lower reaches of the river.


The railway line from Dublin to Rosslare also passes along the Vale of Avoca, cutting inland from its mainly coastal route and the R752 road tightly follows the west bank of the Avoca from The Meetings to Arklow.

Outside links

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about River Avoca)