River Slaney

Coordinates: 52°20′N 6°27′W / 52.333°N 6.450°W / 52.333; -6.450
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River Slaney
SlaneyAtStartford 4444w.jpg
River Slaney at Stratford-on-Slaney
Nore River Map.jpg
Map of the rivers of southeast Ireland
EtymologyOld Irish sláine, "health"[1][2]
Native name
  • An tSláine (Irish)
  • Abhainn na Sláine (Irish)
Physical characteristics
 • locationLugnaquilla, County Wicklow
 • elevation549 metres (1,801 ft)
MouthIrish Sea
 • location
Wexford Harbour, County Wexford
Length117.5 kilometres (73.0 mi)
Basin size1,762 square kilometres (680 sq mi)
 • average37 m3/s (1,300 cu ft/s)
Basin features
 • leftRiver Derreen, River Derry, River Bann, River Ballyedmond, River Sow
 • rightBrowns Beck Brook, River Clody, River Urrin, River Boro

The River Slaney (/ˈsln/; Irish: An tSláine)[3] is a large river in the southeast of Ireland. It rises on Lugnaquilla Mountain in the western Wicklow Mountains and flows west and then south through counties Wicklow, Carlow and Wexford for 117.5 km (73 mi),[4] before entering St George's Channel in the Irish Sea at Wexford town. The estuary of the Slaney is wide and shallow and is known as Wexford Harbour. The catchment area of the River Slaney is 1,762 km2.[5] The long term average flow rate of the River Slaney is 37.4m3/s[5]

Towns that the Slaney runs through include Stratford-on-Slaney, Baltinglass, Tullow, Bunclody, Enniscorthy and Wexford. The river is crossed by 32 road bridges and one railway bridge.[6]


Varied and plentiful wildlife can be found in the environs of the river. In Wicklow, herds of deer can be seen, as well as swans, dippers, wild ducks, herons and kingfishers. At dusk, bats, owls and otters may be seen, while the mudflats of the estuary are favoured by black-headed gulls, redshanks and oystercatchers.[7] The rare goosander can be seen on the Slaney at Kildavin. In season, salmon and trout and pike are fished.[8]


Ptolemy's Geography (2nd century AD) described a river called Μοδοννος (Modonnos, "mudflats") which may have referred to the River Slaney, though scholarly opinion remains divided on the issue.[9]

There is a reference to the Slaney in the Irish ballad Boolavogue,[10] commemorating the Battle of Vinegar Hill in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.


Tributaries of the Slaney include the River Derreen, the River Derry, the River Clody, the River Bann, the River Urrin, the River Boro, and the River Sow.


  1. ^ "The Slaney – IWAI".
  2. ^ "sláine". eDIL (An Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language). 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2023.
  3. ^ "An tSláine/River Slaney". logainm.ie. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  4. ^ Ordnance Survey of Ireland: Rivers and their Catchment Basins 1958 (Table of Reference)
  5. ^ a b South Eastern River Basin District Management System. Page 38 Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Duffy, John. River Slaney, from source to sea, 2006, ISBN 978-0-9554184-0-2, p.30
  7. ^ Duffy, p.19
  8. ^ "Slaney River Trust". Archived from the original on 2 January 2008.
  9. ^ "Ireland" (PDF). www.romaneranames.uk. p. 3. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  10. ^ McCall, PJ 1898, (High Kings version). "Boolavogue Lyrics". bellsirishlyrics.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.

External links[edit]

52°20′N 6°27′W / 52.333°N 6.450°W / 52.333; -6.450