The Longest Rivers in Ireland

The River Shannon in Limerick, Ireland.
The River Shannon in Limerick, Ireland.

Ireland is home to more than 1,200 lakes and 40 rivers. These water bodies have been used as a source of food, for transportation purposes, and for marking political boundaries for years. Ireland’s rivers slither their way across the misty terrain to end their journeys in the Atlantic Ocean, Celtic Sea, or the Irish Sea. Some of the rivers in Ireland are so massive their discharge develops into lakes, and one prime example being the longest river- The Shannon.

The Longest Rivers in Ireland

River Shannon

On its way to the Atlantic Ocean, the Shannon River touches 17 Irish countries. It develops into three lakes along its path: Lough Derg, Lough Ree, and Lough Allen with the Derg being the largest of the three. River Shannon springs from the Shannon Pot- a minute pool in the Cuilcagh Mountain slopes. The pool measures roughly 50 feet in both width and depth. In total, the river runs about 223 miles draining the Shannon River basin whose area covers close to a fifth of the total land area of Ireland.

River Barrow

River Barrow runs a distance of roughly 120 miles. Together with the Nore and Suir rivers, Barrow forms a trio known as the Three Sisters. Originating from the Slieve Bloom Mountains at Glenbarrow, River Barrow empties into the Celtic sea at the Waterford Habour. This river acts as a natural border between four counties: Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, and Carlow.

River Suir

The River Suir is also one of the three sisters. It presents a picturesque scenery all through to the Atlantic. It flows about 115 miles from the Devil’s Bit Mountain. The Suir is bountiful in brown trout and thus comes highly reputed by anglers. It also holds a world record for a 57-pound salmon which is one of the largest taken from an Irish River. The stocks of salmon in these rivers have been on a downward spiral in the past few years.

River Blackwater

The waters of this river are not black in any way. River Blackwater also commonly called Munster Blackwater is the fourth longest in Ireland with a length that spans approximately 105 miles. The river flows through three counties: Waterford, Cork, and Kerry. It springs from the Mullaghareirk Mountains and winds its way east through County Cork. It turns south towards the Celtic Sea after entering County Waterford its final destination being the Youghal Habour. The Blackwater is reputed for being one of the finest spots for salmon fishing.

River Bann

The Ban is the fifth longest in Northern Ireland. When combined, the Upper and Lower Bann cover a length of 80 miles. In addition to its path through the Lough Neagh, the Bann’s total length is estimated around 99 miles. The river starts its journey from the southeastern corner of Northern Ireland towards the northwest coast. It stretches into the Lough Neagh along the way. The river drains into the Atlantic Ocean at Portstewart; a town in Northern Ireland’s Londonderry County.

Other Rivers

Other significantly long rivers include the River Nore, River Suck, River Liffey, River Erne, and River Foyle all of which have a length of more than 80 miles long. There are other numerous rivers in Ireland.

The Longest Rivers in Ireland

RankRiverLength (km)
1River Shannon360
2River Barrow192
3River Suir184
4River Blackwater (Munster)168
5River Bann159
6River Nore140
7River Suck 133
8River Liffey132
9River Erne129
10River Foyle 129

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