River Vartry

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River Vartry
Abhainn Fheartraí
Vartry Ashford 4233w.JPG
River Vartry through Ashford
Physical characteristics
Main source Calary Bog, County Wicklow
River mouth Irish Sea at Wicklow

The River Vartry (Irish: Abhainn Fheartraí) is a river in the Republic of Ireland. It rises in Calary Bog under the Great Sugar Loaf mountain in north County Wicklow. In 1861 Parliament passed the Dublin Waterworks Act creating the project to dam the River Vartry in Roundwood to form the Vartry Reservoir. This was completed in 1865 and was the first clean source of water for Dublin, replacing the canal water. There are several references to the Vartry in James Joyce's Ulysses, "… and on his expressed desire for some beverage to drink Mr Bloom in view of the hour it was and there being no pump of Vartry water available for their ablutions let alone drinking purposes...” or “Power. Particular about his drink. Flaw in the glass, fresh Vartry water.” This reservoir still supplies 40% of all of Dublin's water needs.[citation needed]

From the reservoir lakes, it flows east towards Ashford under the Annagolan Bridge and down through Devil's Glen. From there it passes the Nun's Cross Bridge (dating from the 18th century) on through Ashford, under the N11 road and continues eastwards into Broad Lough.

Broad Lough is a lake which lies approximately 1 km north of Parnell Bridge in Wicklow Town (at its closest point) and approximately 4 km north of Parnell Bridge (at its furthest point). This lake and surrounding wetlands evolved when a sand spit formed along the coastline[1] cutting off the Vartry from its original egress. This sand spit is called The Murrough/Murragh and it carries the Dublin to Wicklow coastal railway line built in the 1860s.

Broad Lough drains southwards into the Irish Sea through Wicklow Town. The name of this stretch of water (approximately 1.5 km in length) is disputed. It is variously called the River Leitrim,[2] the Broad Lough Estuary[3] and the River Vartry.[4]

According to The Life of St. Patrick and His Place in History the place where St. Patrick landed was at Inverdea, the mouth of the river Vartry in County Wicklow.

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 53°03′35″N 6°12′24″W / 53.05972°N 6.20667°W / 53.05972; -6.20667


  1. ^ "Broad Lough - Sampling fish for the Water Framework Directive". Central and Regional Fisheries Board. Ireland. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Wicklow's Living Coast". Heritage Office Wicklow County Council. Archived from the original on 2013-08-11.
  3. ^ "Broad Lough - Sampling fish for the Water Framework Directive". Central and Regional Fisheries Board. Ireland. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ "Google Maps". Google.