|Location||County Sligo, Ireland|
|Max. length||4 mi (6.4 km)|
|Max. width||2.5 mi (4.0 km)|
Lough Gara was known in ancient times as Loch Techet, but the O’Garas, during their ownership of the Coolavin district from about the thirteenth century, renamed the lake “Loch Uí Ghadhra”. The first documented reference appeared in 1285. Even though the family lost control of all their Coolavin townlands about 1650, their name has remained on the lake to the present day. The area around Lough Gara is referred to as “O'Gara heartland”.
Location and size
Lough Gara is situated mainly in south Sligo in the parishes of Kilfree, Killaraght and Kilcolman, and Monasteraden with part of the lake stretching over the Sligo border into Kilnamanagh, a north Roscommon parish. From north to south the lake spans about four miles. The widest section stretches from the townland of Tawnymucklagh on the western shore, to Rathtermon and Ross on the eastern shore where more than a two and a half mile span lies. The lake lies south west of the Curlew Mountains with the town of Ballaghaderreen situated almost four miles to the southwest and the town of Boyle positioned just over four miles from its north eastern corner. Water is supplied to the lake by the Lung River, which enters at the southwestern angle, and the Breedoge River, which enters the lake at the southeastern angle. From the main upper lake the outflow is through the northeastern corner at Cuppanagh, the channel has one wide stretch about a mile long, which is called Lower Lough Gara. From that point the water flow is termed the Boyle river which flows past the town of Boyle into Lough Key and on to the Shannon. The lake has a number of islands. The main upper lake is divided into two sections with a strip of land and Clooncunny Bridge in between.
Iron age crannogs
Many of the islands on Lough Gara are man-made islands called crannógs. An article on Iron Age Crannogs in Lough Gara was published in Archaeology Ireland (Volume 14 No.2 Issue No.52 Summer 2000). The author of the essay, Christina Fredengran, the archaeologist who recently worked on a few of the sites, points out that some of the man-made islands were built over two thousand years ago.
- Christina Fredengren Archaeologist and Archaeology Ireland Ltd., Publishers.