River Boyne

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River Boyne
  • An Bhóinn  (Irish)
  • Abhainn na Bóinne  (Irish)
20130808 bru na boinne07.JPG
River Boyne at Bru na Boinne.
EtymologyProto-Celtic *bouwinda, "white cow"
CountryRepublic of Ireland
CountiesCounty Kildare, County Offaly, County Meath, County Louth
Physical characteristics
SourceTrinity Well, Newberry Hall, near Carbury
 ⁃ locationCounty Kildare
MouthIrish Sea
 ⁃ location
Between Mornington, County Meath and Baltray, County Louth
 ⁃ coordinates
53°43′18″N 6°14′17″W / 53.72173°N 6.23813°W / 53.72173; -6.23813Coordinates: 53°43′18″N 6°14′17″W / 53.72173°N 6.23813°W / 53.72173; -6.23813
Length112 km (70 mi)
Basin size2,695 km2 (1,041 sq mi)
 ⁃ average38.8 m3/s (1,370 cu ft/s)
Basin features
 ⁃ rightRiver Blackwater
The River Boyne and Boyne Valley as seen from the Knowth passage tomb of Brú na Bóinne.

The River Boyne (Irish: An Bhóinn or Abhainn na Bóinne) is a river in Leinster, Ireland, the course of which is about 112 kilometres (70 mi) long. It rises at Trinity Well, Newberry Hall, near Carbury, County Kildare, and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath to reach the Irish Sea between Mornington, County Meath, and Baltray, County Louth.

Salmon and trout can be caught in the river, which is surrounded by the Boyne Valley. It is crossed just west of Drogheda by the Boyne River Bridge, which carries the M1 motorway, and by the Boyne Viaduct, which carries the Dublin-Belfast railway line to the east. The catchment area of the River Boyne is 2,695 km2.[1] The long term average flow rate of the River Boyne is 38.8 cubic metres (50.7 cu yd) per second.[1]

Despite its short course, the Boyne has historical, archaeological and mythical connotations. The Battle of the Boyne, a major battle in Irish history, took place along the Boyne near Drogheda in 1690 during the Williamite war in Ireland. It passes through the ancient town of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara (the ancient capital of the High King of Ireland), Navan, the Hill of Slane, Brú na Bóinne (a complex of megalithic monuments), Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval town of Drogheda. In the Boyne Valley can also be found other historical and archaeological monuments, including Loughcrew, Kells, Celtic crosses, and castles.

This river has been known since ancient times. The Greek geographer Ptolemy drew a map of Ireland in the 2nd century which included the Boyne, which he called Βουουινδα (Bouwinda) or Βουβινδα (Boubinda). During the High Middle Ages, Giraldus Cambrensis called it the Boandus. In Irish mythology it is said that the river was created by the goddess Boann ('queen' or 'goddess'), according to F. Dinneen, lexicographer of the Irish Gaelic language, and Boyne is an anglicised form of the name. In other legends, it was in this river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontán, the Salmon of Knowledge. The Meath section of the Boyne was also known as Smior Fionn Feidhlimthe[2] (the 'marrow of Fionn Feilim').

Boyne Canal[edit]

Section of the Boyne canal which runs parallel to the main river around the Battle of the Boyne site west of Drogheda.

The Boyne Navigation is a series of canals running roughly parallel to the main river from Oldbridge near Drogheda to Navan. Owned by An Taisce and mostly derelict, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland are restoring the navigation to navigable status. The canal at )Oldbridge which runs through the battle of the Boyne Site was the first to be restored.

Prehistoric art[edit]

A rock with indications of being Prehistoric art was found in August 2013. Cliadh O’Gibne reported through the Archaeological Survey of Ireland that a boulder with geometric carvings had been found in Donore, County Meath.[3]

Ancient log-boat[edit]

The Boyne Fishermen's Rescue and Recovery Service (BFRRS), near Drogheda, County Louth, were doing one of their regular operations to remove shopping trolleys from the Boyne, in May 2013, when they discovered an ancient log boat, which experts believe may be 5000 years old. Initial examination by an underwater archaeologist, suggests it could be very rare because, unlike other log-boats found here, it has oval shapes on the upper edge which could have held oars. Investigations were on-going as of 2013.[4]

Viking ship[edit]

In 2006, the remains of a Viking ship were found in the river bed in Drogheda during dredging operations. The vessel is to be excavated as it poses a hazard to navigation.[5]

Annalistic references[edit]

See Annals of Inisfallen (AI)

  • AI770.2 The battle of Bolg Bóinne [gained] against the Uí Néill, by the Laigin.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b South Eastern River Basin District Management System. Page 38 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Dineen: Foclóir Gaedhilge agus Béarla, 1927 ("Smior" - pg 1067, Ed.1996)
  3. ^ "Newly Discovered Prehistoric Art in the Boyne Valley". National Monuments Service. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Log Boat Found in Ireland's Boyne River". Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America. 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  5. ^ Viking News

External links[edit]