The River Erne ( , ga, Abhainn na hÉirne or ''An Éirne'') in the northwest of the island of
Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the s ...
, is the second-longest river in
Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label= Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces. It is made up of nine counties: six of these constitute Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kin ...
, flowing through
Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots, Norlin Airlann) is a part of the United Kingdom, situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, that is #Descriptions, variously described as ...
Republic of Ireland
Ireland ( ga, Éire ), also known as the Republic of Ireland (), is a country in north-western Europe consisting of 26 of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, on the eastern side of the island. ...
, and forming part of their border.
The Erne rises on the east shoulder of Slieve Glah mountain three miles south of Cavan in
County Cavan ( ; gle, Contae an Chabháin) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Ulster and is part of the Border Region. It is named after the town of Cavan and is based on the historic Gaelic territory of East Breffny (''Bréi ...
, Republic of Ireland, and flows 80 miles (129 km) through Lough Gowna
, Lough Oughter
and Upper and Lower
Lough Erne ( , ) is the name of two connected lakes in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is the second-biggest lake system in Northern Ireland and Ulster, and the fourth biggest in Ireland. The lakes are widened sections of the River Erne, ...
County Fermanagh ( ; ) is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland, one of the nine counties of Ulster and one of the six counties of Northern Ireland.
The county covers an area of 1,691 km2 (653 sq mi) and has a population of 61,805 a ...
, Northern Ireland, to the sea at
Ballyshannon () is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. It is located at the southern end of the county where the N3 from Dublin ends and the N15 crosses the River Erne. Incorporated in 1613, it is one of the oldest towns in Ireland.
County Donegal ( ; ga, Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county of Ireland in the province of Ulster and in the Northern and Western Region. It is named after the town of Donegal in the south of the county. It has also been known as County Tyrcon ...
back in the Republic.
A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wa ...
is 120 kilometres long and is used for
Fly fishing is an angling method that uses a light-weight fishing lure, lure—called an artificial fly—to catch fish. The fly is Casting (fishing), cast using a fly rod, Fishing reel#Fly reel, reel, and specialized Fly line, weighted line. T ...
Trout are species of freshwater fish belonging to the genera ''Oncorhynchus'', ''Salmo'' and ''Salvelinus'', all of the subfamily Salmoninae of the family Salmonidae. The word ''trout'' is also used as part of the name of some non-salmonid ...
Salmon () is the common name for several commercially important species of euryhaline ray-finned fish from the family Salmonidae, which are native to tributaries of the North Atlantic (genus ''Salmo'') and North Pacific (genus ''Oncorhynchus ...
, with a number of
Fishery can mean either the enterprise of raising or harvesting fish and other aquatic life; or more commonly, the site where such enterprise takes place ( a.k.a. fishing ground). Commercial fisheries include wild fisheries and fish farms, b ...
along both the river itself and its tributaries. The town of Enniskillen
is mostly situated on an island in the river, between Upper and Lower Lough Erne. It is linked to the
The River Shannon ( ga, Abhainn na Sionainne, ', '), at in length, is the longest river in the British Isles. It drains the Shannon River Basin, which has an area of , – approximately one fifth of the area of the island of Ireland.
The Sh ...
by the Shannon–Erne Waterway
The total catchment area of the River Erne is 4,372 km2
The long-term average rate of the River Erne is 101.7 cubic metres per second (m3
The river takes its name from a
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. Since "myth" is widely used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrat ...
princess named ''Éirne''.
Live aboard pleasure cruisers are available in several locations along the Erne waterway, including Belturbet, Knockniny, Carrybridge, Bellanaleck, Enniskillen
, and Killadeas. In addition to the use of the Erne for live aboard boating holidays, sections of the river are used for water skiing, bank fishing, trolling
, jet skiing and scuba diving. Boaters are cautioned, by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, that Upper Lough Erne is a maze of small islands needing careful navigation, and waves on Lower Lough Erne can reach "open-sea dimensions".
The Erne waterway is home to ancient ruins, both Christian and Pagan, with ruins found in several locations, including: Crom Estate
, on the North bank of the Upper Erne channel, Gad Island
, near Crom Estate,
Devenish or Devinish () is an island in Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Aligned roughly north–south, it is about one and a quarter miles (2 km) long and two-thirds of a mile (1 km) wide. The main place to catch a ferry ...
, Inismacsaint Island
, Davy’s Island
, White Island
, and Boa Island
. Many of these locations can only be reached by boat.
Devenish Island has a historical display centre adjacent to its ruins. Visitors sometimes use rental boats and the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland
Activity Map of Lough Erne () to locate these ancient sites.
The song ''Buachaill Ón Éirne'' is an
Irish may refer to:
* Someone or something of, from, or related to:
** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe
***Éire, Irish language name for the isle
** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit ... ballad
A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French ''chanson balladée'' or '' ballade'', which were originally "dance songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and ...
about a young boy from the Erne area. It has been recorded by such groups as
Clannad () is an Irish band formed in 1970 in Gweedore, County Donegal by siblings Ciarán, Pól, and Moya Brennan and their twin uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan. They have adopted various musical styles throughout their history, including f ...
The Corrs are an Irish family band that combine pop rock with traditional Irish themes within their music. The group consists of the Corr siblings, Andrea (lead vocals, tin whistle, mandolin, ukulele), Sharon (violin, keyboards, vocals), Caro ...
The Erne is also mentioned in a traditional song, ''An Mhaighdeán Mhara'', which has been recorded by
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh
Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (; born 26 July 1959) is an Irish fiddler and the lead vocalist for the Irish folk music band Altan, which she co-founded with her late husband Frankie Kennedy in 1987. Today, Mairéad is recognised as a leading exponen ...
, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill
, and Moya Brennan
Former railway lines
A number of places were once accessible by train along the River Erne, with the once extensive Great Northern Railway
and the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway
both serving the area.
Information and maps of the Erne from the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland
Rivers of County Cavan
Rivers of County Donegal
Rivers of County Fermanagh
International rivers of Europe