Loch an Iúir
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|Loch an Iúir|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||IST (WEST) (UTC-1)|
|Irish Grid Reference||B810169|
Loch an Iúir (Irish: lake of the yew) Irish pronunciation: [lˠɔx.ə ˈɲuːɾʲ], anglicised as Loughanure, is a village in the north-west of County Donegal, Ireland. It is halfway between Gweedore and Dungloe, on the N56 road, in the Gaeltacht area of the Rosses. The village owes its name to the native yew tree which grows wild on Oileán Iúir, a small island on the lake.
Loch an Iúir was once a major source of agricultural lime production in the west of Donegal. Limestone was abundant in Loch an Iúir in the mid-20th century, and the locals mined it for a living. Furnaces were required to reduce the limestone to powder. These furnaces, known as "kilns", can still be seen in the village today. The kilns were ignited with turf from the surrounding bogland. One kiln is partially restored and visible at the hairpin bend on the N56. Lime was once sold as far as Arranmore, and nearly every building in the Rosses was painted white with it.
Loch an Iúir is the largest lake in the Rosses; it is over four kilometeres long and flows down the Crolly River into the Atlantic Ocean. Salmon, brown trout, and rainbow trout inhabit the waters. The lake is nestled among the surrounding hills. Cumann Iascaireachta Loch an Iúir hold fishing competitions on the lake annually. Nearby attractions include Blue Flag beaches, local summer festivals, surfing, and sight-seeing. Loch an Iúir attracts many tourists during the summer months.
Loch an Iúir is officially a Gaeltacht area and the Irish language is spoken. It is home to renowned author and historian Niall Ó Dónaill, who, among other achievements, was responsible for the Irish-English dictionary Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla.
The National School in the village is called Scoil Eoin Pól, and the Irish language college is called Coláiste Mhuire. Coláiste Mhuire was the centre of education in the Lower Rosses area for decades before Rosses Community School in Dungloe was built. Today, the college operates for 8 weeks each summer to teach Irish to children. Almost 1,000 students from all over Ulster attend the college annually.