Lough Derg (Shannon)

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Lough Derg
Loch Deirgeirt
Lough derg.jpg
Coordinates 52°59′N 8°19′W / 52.983°N 8.317°W / 52.983; -8.317Coordinates: 52°59′N 8°19′W / 52.983°N 8.317°W / 52.983; -8.317
Primary inflows River Shannon
Primary outflows River Shannon
Basin countries Ireland
Max. length 38.6 km (24.0 mi)
Max. width 12.9 km (8.0 mi)
Surface area 130 km2 (50 sq mi)
Average depth 7.6 m (25 ft)
Max. depth 36 m (118 ft)
Water volume 0.887 km3 (0.213 cu mi)
Residence time 0.15 years
Shore length1 179,000 m (587,000 ft)
Surface elevation 33.5 m (110 ft)
Settlements Garrykennedy, Portumna, Killaloe & Ballina, Dromineer, Terryglass
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lough Derg (from Irish Loch Deirgeirt, meaning "loch of the red eye") is the largest lake within the Shannon River Basin, the second-largest lake (or lough) in Ireland and the third-largest in the whole island (after Lough Neagh and Lough Corrib).

It is a long, relatively narrow lake, with shores in counties Clare (south-west), Galway (north-west), and County Tipperary (to the east). The lake is the last of the three largest on the River Shannon, with the other two, Lough Ree and Lough Allen lying further north. Some towns and villages on Lough Derg include Portumna, Killaloe & Ballina, Dromineer, Terryglass, Mountshannon and Garrykennedy.


At its deepest, the lake is 36 metres[1] deep and covers an area of 130 km² (50.2 sq miles). Close downstream from where Lough Derg empties into the Shannon are the falls of Doonass, the largest fall on the otherwise gently sloping river. Nearby is the location of the hydroelectric power plant at Ardnacrusha, which, when built in 1927 was the world's largest.


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 40 km length, 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 dingies, 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]


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