33 River Shannon Facts: The Famous River From Europe!

Supriya Jain
Aug 31, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Jan 17, 2022
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
River Shannon facts will tell you why the River Shannon source makes it an important waterway.

Meandering across the countryside and the cityscape, with its pristine waters in Ireland, is the River Shannon.

The river is of great historic and cultural significance. It boasts of being the longest river in Ireland.

Draining the Shannon River Basin, spanning over 10,540 mi (16,865 km), is the Shannon River that runs over 200 mi (360 km). The drainage basin alone constitutes one-fifth of the area of the island.

The river flows untamed and crisscrosses the country by dividing the provinces of Connacht in the west and Leinster and Munster to the south. It is a physical barrier and a natural border that divides the east and the south. The name Shannon was derived from the name of a Celtic goddess, Sionna.

Did you know that Shannon had made her first appearance in the maps of Ptolemy, the renowned Graeco-Egyptian geographer? It says how significant the river has been since times immemorial.

The river traverses southwards from the Shannon pot in County Cavan, through 102 km long Shannon estuary, before meeting the Atlantic Ocean. The city of Limerick stands at the estuary and Shannon flows tidal east to this major city of Ireland.

The Shannon River flows southwards in County Cavan and thereafter it turns westward before entering the Atlantic Ocean via the Shannon estuary which is around 63.4 mi (102 km).

Read on to know more about the importance of Shannon Erne Waterway and Shannon Harbour. Afterward, also check River Wye facts and River Wear facts.

History Of River Shannon

Shannon bears a rich history and carries the glory of the country to this date. Symbolic of rich heritage and historicity, the River Shannon carries the pride of the warfares and kingdoms that emerged on its bank.

In the 10th century, the Vikings occupied the land and the river helped them reach distant territories. In the year 937 AD, the Limerick Vikings and the Dublin Vikings got into warfare and the former got defeated. By the 17th century CE, Shannon had acquired strategic prominence and backed the military campaigns that Ireland witnessed.

Following the conquest of Ireland and setting up of plantations, Oliver Cromwell declared that the remaining ones would go to western Ireland or Connacht, across the river. The eastern landholdings were meant for the English settlers.

Again, in the Williamite War in Ireland, which extended from 1689 to 1691, Shannon gave refuge to the Jacobites who failed to resist the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The cities of Limerick and Athlone, which bridges the western and Southern Ireland, were stage to bloody sieges. The Easter Rising of 1916, though a failure, was driven by a  motive to ‘hold the line of the Shannon’.

Folklore Of River Shannon

There are some folklores that the river carries and this is being taken over by the generations that flourished on its banks.

The Irish mythology throws light on a legend that the River Shannon was named after Sionann who was the Irish sea god Lir's granddaughter. In order to get wisdom, she reached Connla's Well despite numerous warnings.

There she caught the Salmon of Wisdom to become the wisest individual on the planet. But unfortunately, the well cracked and drowned Sionann, carrying her straight to the sea. Therefore, Sionann is regarded as the river goddess.

Canals From River Shannon

The Shannon River is connected to a number of villages, towns, and cities by the navigable canals which also link the tributary, forming a network of transportation.

There are several canals bound to the River Shannon. The River Shannon is bridged to Dunlin and the Irish Sea by the Royal Canal and the Grand Canal. The Shannon-Ene waterway connects them with River Erne and Lough Erne.

The tributary, River Suck connects Ballinasloe with the River Shannon, and the Boyle canal connects Boyle with Shannon. To the south of Lough Derg is the Ardnacrusha Dam, supplied by the Ardnacrusha canal. The Lecarrow village is connected to Lough Ree by the Lough Ree Canal. River Shannon is connected to Jamestown by Jamestown canal and Albert Lock.

River has great historic and cultural significance

Tourism Around River Shannon

Ireland has a name and fame for its waterways, luxurious cuisines, grant restaurants, and spawning islands. River cruising will be a living and cherishing experience if it’s on the Shannon River. Its banks display vivid landscapes that would enliven our Ireland memories. Read further to note the places you can’t miss out here.

Ireland is popular for its castles.  One such is King Johns Castle, built in the 13th century in the heart of Limerick. With the campaign’s tent and heritage of sieges, the castle gives lifetime memories.

Another site that exhibits the grandiose of the ties is the historical religious site of Clonmacnoise, packed with cathedrals, churches, crosses, and round towers. They also display the early grave slabs of Western Europe.

Did you know that a Riverfest is held every year on the banks of River Shannon? This arouses awe in tourists' hearts. Hosted by Limerick, the Riverfest come with amusing fireworks and adventurous water sports.

A shoutout to the avid golfers out there! If you wish to play your favorite sport in the country mood, on the river banks, enjoying the river breeze and landscape, then the Glasson Golf Course will not disappoint you.

Last but not least, falls the Athlone Castle that has its head high for fo serving the local families of Dillions and O’Kellys on the waterfront. It also served as military barracks for the past 300 years or so.

If you are in search of interactive activities, engaging games, boating holidays, and marvelous exhibitions, then you are in no doubt, at the right spot!

The River Shannon has first appeared in maps by the Graeco Egyptian geographer named Ptolemy. This river has played its parts in Celtic mythology. The River Shannon reaches the Shannon estuary at County Limerick finally.

The Shannon estuary has a total length of 63.44 mi (102.1 km) long. By the general tradition, the River Shannon is said to start in the Shannon Pot near County Cavan. The river flows generally south from the Shannon Pot.

The Grand Canal connects the Shannon and the Irish Sea. The Upper Shannon has a catchment (with Shannon's traditional source, the Owenmore River, and the Boyle River Basin).

The River Shannon is also seen at Clonmacnoise, County Offaly. The River Shannon divides and the Shannon River creates a major physical barrier between east and west, unlike many rivers that divide the southern and eastern provinces.

The major exception is County Clare, which is located west of the River Shannon and is part of the Munster province. A spring at Tiltinbane, on the western extremity of the Cuilcagh mountain ridge, is the highest point in the watershed.

River Shannon is Ireland's longest river. The Shannon is not only the longest river in Ireland, but it is also the greatest river in terms of flow in Ireland.

Other major rivers include the River Liffey. Limerick city stands at the confluence of the river and the estuary's seawater. The county Leitrim native is found as settlements by the water.

Through the River Suck, the Shannon Erne Waterway is connected with the Shannon River. It is an extremely important waterway of the region, making it a cornerstone of the local economy.

Fishing is also carried out on a commercial scale in the tributaries of the River Shannon as well as the lakes located along the route of the river. Lough Ree or the Lake of the Kings is an extremely important tourist attraction that allows travelers to explore the nearby historic islands and traditional villages.

Derg was discovered first before discovering River Shannon. Lough Derg is a freshwater lake. Abhainn na Sionainne is the county Leitrim native name. There is also the important Shannon harbor. The River Shannon is also found at the bay of many towns such as county Westmeath as well as Leitrim village.

Lough Forbes is a river water basin for River Shannon. Between Jamestown and Drumsna, there is a river loop, as well as lateral canals at Lanesborough and Roosky. The River Shannon travels through county Fermanagh.

The river is known for turning west and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. There are multiple lakes that this river water meets, like the lakes Lough Bofin and Lough Boderg. There were no towpaths in the river portions, and shoals remained in the summer months, there were no harbor facilities in Limerick.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for River Shannon facts then why not take a look at River Tweed facts, or River Jordan facts.

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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