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The River Lagan
River Lagan
(from Irish Abhainn an Lagáin, meaning 'river of the low-lying district'; Ulster
Ulster
Scots: Lagan Wattèr)[1] is a major river in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
which runs 53.5 miles (86 km)[2] from the Slieve Croob
Slieve Croob
mountain in County Down
County Down
to Belfast
Belfast
where it enters Belfast
Belfast
Lough, an inlet of the Irish Sea. The River Lagan
River Lagan
forms much of the border between County Antrim
County Antrim
and County Down
County Down
in the east of Ulster. It rises as a tiny, fast-moving stream near to the summit of Slieve Croob; Transmitter Road runs nearby. From here it continues on its journey to Belfast
Belfast
through Dromara, Donaghcloney
Donaghcloney
and Dromore. On the lower slopes of the mountain, it is joined by another branch from Legananny (Cratlieve) Mountain, just opposite Slieve Croob. At Dromara, about four miles from its source, its height above the sea is 390 ft (119m). As the river continues on its journey to Belfast, it turns east to Magheralin
Magheralin
into a broad plain between the plateaus of Antrim and Down.[3] The river drains approximately 609 square km of agricultural land and flows over 70 km from the Mourne Mountains to the Stranmillis Weir, from which point on it is estuarine.[4] The catchment consists mainly of enriched agricultural grassland in the upper parts, with a lower section draining urban Belfast
Belfast
and Lisburn. There is one significant tributary, the Ravernet River, and there are several minor tributaries, including the Carryduff River, the River Farset
River Farset
and the Blackstaff River. Water quality is generally fair, though there are localised problems and occasional pollution incidents, mainly due to effluent from farms. Work is proceeding to restore a self-sustaining population of Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon
to the river.[5]

Contents

1 History 2 The Lagan in Belfast

2.1 Laganside Corporation 2.2 Lagan Weir 2.3 Sport 2.4 Dredging

3 The Lagan in Lisburn 4 The Lagan Navigation 5 Angling 6 Wildlife 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

History[edit] Ptolemy's Geography (2nd century AD) described a river called Λογια (Logia). The river name is thought to connect with Old Irish loeg ("calf") and with *laks ("salmon").[6] The Lagan in Belfast[edit]

River Lagan
River Lagan
and Lanyon Place, Belfast, October 2009

Lagan Weir, Belfast, October 2009

The name Belfast
Belfast
originates from the Irish Béal Feirste, or the mouth of the Farset, the river on which the city was built and which flows into the Lagan. The Farset has been superseded by the River Lagan
River Lagan
as the most important river. The Farset languishes in obscurity, covered over by the city's High Street. Laganside Corporation[edit] In 1989 the Laganside Corporation
Laganside Corporation
was established by the British government to redevelop the areas surrounding the Lagan in Belfast. Major developments of the Laganside Corporation
Laganside Corporation
along the river include the regeneration of the city's former Gasworks, the Odyssey entertainment and leisure development, and the Lanyon Place development, which includes the Waterfront Hall, in many ways the flagship of the corporation. Lagan Weir[edit] One of the earliest and most important undertakings of the Corporation was the Lagan Weir. Completed in 1994 at a cost of £14m, the weir controls the level of water upstream. One of the main functions of the weir was to reduce unsightly mud flats at low tide. This was mostly successful, but mud flats are still evident on the river. The weir is a series of massive steel barriers which are raised as the tide retreats so as to keep the river at an artificially constant level. This, improvements to the sewerage system, and massive dredging of the river by mechanical excavators, has led to a marked improvement in water quality and the environment around the river. Lagan Weir, dredging and aeration have increased water quality in the river, and salmon are returning. An otter and seals have followed the fish that now move up river to spawn in what was once an aquatic death trap. Sport[edit] The river is used by a number of rowing clubs, including Queen's University Boat Club, Queen's Ladies Boat Club, Methodist College Boat Club, Royal Belfast
Belfast
Academical Institution (RBAI) Rowing Club, Belfast Rowing Club (BRC) and Lagan Scullers Club ([1]). The Boathouses are all based between the Governors Bridge and the Stranmillis Weir. Dredging[edit] In September 2010, dredging commenced on the river Lagan. The operation was expected to last until spring 2011.[7] The Lagan in Lisburn[edit] In a similar way to the regeneration of Belfast
Belfast
riverside Lisburn
Lisburn
City Council has embarked on a series of developments around the River Lagan. The centre-piece of this strategy has been the Lagan Valley Island complex; a new headquarters for the council and an Arts Centre, wedding and conference facilities and a restaurant. Opened in 2001 the building is surrounded by the Lagan on one side and a channel linked to the river on the other. The Lagan Navigation[edit]

The old Lagan Navigational Canal (disused) at Broadwater, near Aghalee. (The disused canal is not now part of River Lagan, part of The Lagan River was a part of this canal, giving the old canal its name.)

In the late 19th century the Lagan Navigation was built from Lough Neagh to Belfast, using some of the river as a navigable waterway and diverting water from other areas to supply separate canal sections.[5] However, by the mid-20th century the route had fallen into disuse and was largely derelict. The M1 motorway (Northern Ireland)
M1 motorway (Northern Ireland)
was built across the route. Currently, the section of the navigation's towpath running from Lisburn
Lisburn
to almost the centre of Belfast
Belfast
has been restored.

The Lagan at Drumbeg

Angling[edit] Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon
became extirpated in the River Lagan, which enters the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
through the port of Belfast, between 1750 and 1800, coinciding with a period of major population growth, industrialisation and the construction of a navigable waterway based on the river. The latest record of a salmon population in the river dates from 1744. From 1950 to 1990, water quality in the river improved as a result of improved sewage treatment, the Lagan Navigation was abandoned and fell into disuse, and many industrial effluents were diverted to sewer. A fish survey in the early 1970s found no fish at all in the urban reach of river through Belfast. Brown trout
Brown trout
and several other species remained present in the upper reaches of the river throughout the worst of the downstream urban problems. The 1980s saw some recreational angling for non-migratory fish developing in the Belfast reaches of the river, and there were very occasional reports of migratory salmon or sea trout being seen in the river. In 1991, the first of a series of stockings took place and the first adult salmon returned to the Lagan in 1993.[5] Wildlife[edit] Plants such as Elodea
Elodea
and others have been recorded from the Lagan.[8] The river also hosts a population otters and a variety of wildfowl. A breeding population of yellow bellied slider turtles also live in the river, thought to be abandoned pets. A seal locally known as Sammy the Seal may often be seen swimming up the river as far upstream as Minnowburn. See also[edit]

List of rivers of Northern Ireland

References[edit]

^ "Guide to Moira Station – Department of the Environment" (PDF). Doeni.gov.uk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-27.  ^ Ordnance Survey of Ireland: Rivers and their Catchment Basins 1958 (Table of Reference) ^ "River Lagan". Banbridge District Council. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009.  ^ " River Lagan
River Lagan
Impoundment". Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. Archived from the original on 21 May 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009.  ^ a b c "Restoration of a self-sustaining Atlantic salmon
Atlantic salmon
population to the river Lagan, Belfast, Northern Ireland". Central Fisheries Board. Retrieved 28 February 2009.  ^ http://www.romaneranames.uk/essays/ireland.pdf ^ "17 September 2010 - River lagan to be dredged for first time since 1994 - Attwood Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Executive". Northernireland.gov.uk. 2010-09-17. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-27.  ^ Hackney, P. (Ed) 1993. Stewart and Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland. Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0-85389-446-9 (HB)

Further reading[edit] Simon, B. 2011. By the Banks of the Lagan Belfast
Belfast
to Drum Bridge. ISBN 978-0-9551583-4-6 External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to River Lagan.

River Lagan
River Lagan
Wildlife The River Lagan
River Lagan
Tidal Navigation and General Bye-laws (Northern Ireland) 2006 The Lagan Navigation at Inland Waterways of Ireland site

v t e

Rivers of Ireland

List

Flowing north

Bann Bush Foyle Roe

Flowing to the Irish Sea

Avoca Boyne Camac Castletown Dargle Dodder Fane Lagan Liffey Naniken Newry Poddle Quoile Santry Slaney Tolka Vartry

Flowing to the Celtic Sea

Bandon Blackwater Lee Mahon The Three Sisters

Barrow Nore Suir

Flowing to the Atlantic

Clare Corrib Erne Eske Feale Ferta Moy Robe Shannon Swilly

Tributaries of the Shannon

Abbey River Boyle River Brosna Deel Fergus Inny Maigue Mulkear River Nenagh River Suck

River names in italics indicate rivers which are partially or wholly in Northern Ireland, with the rest being wholly in the R

.