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Lough Ree

Enchanted islands and a reported lake monster

The second largest lake on the Shannon Lough Ree is assigned a Special Area of Conservation.



Discover Lough Ree

Known as the Lake of the Kings, this lake is dotted with islands and is synonymous with Celtic myth and legend. Nestled right at the heart of the country, Lough Ree separates Longford and Westmeath from Roscommon. The islands in Lough Ree have multiple monastic sites as it was a religious place of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. On the island of Inchcleraun (Quaker Island) see the ruins of six churches, graveyards, and a fort for protection against Viking raids. According to legend, it was on this island that the infamous Celtic Queen Maeve was killed.  

Cross the lake with care as on May 28, 1960, the BBC reported that three priests had spotted a monster in Lough Ree, measuring an enormous six feet in length and a head of about eighteen inches in diameter. There have been a few other sightings by locals and fishermen along with reports of thumps on the hull of many Shannon cruisers. Coincidentally, the area is also famous for a commercial eel fishery, usually catching smaller varieties of eel.

Barley Harbour is situated on the eastern side of Lough Ree and has a wonderful bogwood sculpture and craft workshop. Walk to the town of Newtowncashel, decorated with sculptures, before exploring the ruins of a 15th-century Augustan monastery on nearby Saints Island. 


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