River Brosna

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River Brosna
Bridge and old mill - geograph.org.uk - 751219.jpg
Old mill on the Brosna at Kilbeggan
EtymologyPossibly means "place of twigs"[1]
Native nameAn Bhrosnach  (Irish)
Physical characteristics
 • locationNear Mullingar, County Westmeath
MouthRiver Shannon
 • location
Shannon Harbour
Length79.26 kilometres (49.25 mi)
Basin size1,248 km2 (482 sq mi)
 • average5.13 m3/s (181 cu ft/s)[2]
Basin features
River systemShannon

The River Brosna (Irish: An Bhrosnach) is a river within the Shannon River Basin in Ireland, flowing through County Westmeath and County Offaly.

The river rises in Lough Owel north of Mullingar[3] and is a tributary of the River Shannon. It meets the Shannon at Shannon Harbour.

The River Brosna is 49.25 miles (79 km) in length.[4]


The Brosna begins as a small river, flowing from Lough Owel in a south-south-westerly direction through Mullingar, into Lough Ennell. From Lough Ennell, the river Brosna flows into Kilbeggan, where it still powers the mill at Kilbeggan Distillery. The Brosna continues flowing southwest through Clara, Ballycumber and Pullough. East of Ferbane it is joined by the Silver River. From Ferbane it heads to Shannon Harbour, north of Banagher, where it joins the Shannon


The river Brosna is popular for fly fishing and has stocks of brown trout as well as some salmon and grilse.[5] However it has, in recent years, suffered somewhat from pollution problems due to its poor assimilative capacity and the discharge of untreated sewage in the Mullingar area during storm conditions. There have also been discharges of pollutants, whether accidental or otherwise, such as one filmed at the bridge of Clonmore industrial estate in Mullingar.[6][7]


Works, to the cost of IR £750,000,[8] were undertaken on the river in the late 1940s and early 1950s to improve drainage in the river’s catchment area. As part of the Arterial Drainage Scheme, designed to tackle poor drainage caused by Ireland’s relatively low-lying topography, the river was deepened and widened, leaving the river with the high banks distinctive of many of the rivers in the Irish midlands that received this treatment. More recently, in late 2008 the river was diverted from the N52 road beside Mullingar in order to accommodate a new roundabout and bridge.[9]


  1. ^ "An Bhrosnach/Brosna". Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  2. ^ HydroNet - Environmental Protection Agency - Ireland Archived 7 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "AAI | Physical Landscape". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007..
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey of Ireland: Rivers and their Catchment Basins 1958 (Table of Reference)
  5. ^ Fishery: River Brosna, Co Offaly & Westmeath Archived 3 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Film of discharge into the River Brosna". YouTube. Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  7. ^ "Over 50% of Brosna Polluted", Westmeath Examiner, 21 July 2001.
  8. ^ "Dáil Éireann - Volume 128 - 04 December, 1951 - Written Answers. - Work on River Brosna". Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2007..
  9. ^ An investigation of the effects of an arterial drainage scheme on the rainfall-runoff transformation behaviour of the Brosna catchment in Ireland, Bhattarai, K. P., O'Connor, K. M., EGS - AGU - EUG Joint Assembly, Abstracts from the meeting held in Nice, France, 6–11 April 2003, abstract #12112.

Coordinates: 53°13′N 7°58′W / 53.217°N 7.967°W / 53.217; -7.967