River Blackwater, Northern Ireland
The River Blackwater is a river in County Armagh and County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, as well as County Monaghan, Republic of Ireland, which has its source to the north of Fivemiletown, County Tyrone. The river divides County Armagh and County Tyrone and also divides County Tyrone with County Monaghan.
The river enters Lough Neagh west of Derrywarragh Island and is navigable from Maghery to Blackwatertown. The small Maghery Canal enters the Blackwater south of Derrywarragh Island. Nearby a small jetty area with a slipway, is the site of the former Maghery ferry. Approximately 4 km from Maghery ferry is the entrance to the river 200m beyond Bond’s Bridge. Just past it, on the east bank, is a large country house estate called the Argory, donated to the National Trust by the McKeogh Bond family. The Callan River joins the Blackwater 1.6 km upstream. Further on, at a bend on the east bank, is the entrance to the first lock of the Ulster Canal. Just upstream, Charlemont Bridge joins the town of Charlemont on the east bank and Moy on the west.
The Blackwater's length is 91.3 km (56.75ml). If the Blackwater's flow is measured through its path through the 30 km (19ml) Lough Neagh and onwards to the sea via the 64.4 km (40ml) Lower Bann, the total length is 186.3 km (115.75ml). This makes the Blackwater/Neagh/Bann the longest natural stream flow in Ulster and is longer than the Munster Blackwater.
Anciently the River Blackwater was known in Irish as Cluain-Dabhail meaning "meadow of Dabhal". This was anglicisaed as Clanaul, the former name of the parish of Eglish, as well as Glenaul, which was used as the name of the former local District Electoral Division of Armagh Union.
In the lower part of the reach mainly upstream of Blackwatertown Bridge, coarse fish abound, but there is a short stretch of good game fishing water downstream of the island where there are a number of known salmon lies. Game fish stocks are now recovering following a drainage scheme in the late 1980s and restoration of the system.
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