LEITRIM RIVERS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The principal of the numerous rivers is the Shannon (originally Sionan, signifying "calmness," but anciently written Shenan), which enters the county in a copious stream about four miles from its source in the midst of the lonely district of Glangavlin, in the county of Cavan, and descends southward into Lough Allen, whence it emerges near Drumshambo and pursues a winding southern course by Leitrim, Carrick-on-Shannon, Jamestown, and Drumsna; it thence proceeds southeastward, and after forming the Loughs Bodarig and Boffin, quits the county below Roosky. Throughout the whole of its course from Lough Allen to this point it separates the county from that of Roscommon, and is navigable.

The Abhain-Naille, which takes its name from St. Naille, or Natalis, who built a monastery at its source, rises in Killowman lake, on the summit of Lacka mountain, whence it issues in a copious stream, and being soon joined by other rivulets, becomes a river of considerable size, and descends with rapidity to join the Shannon. The Duibhachar river runs from Belhovel lake southward into Lough Allen, it is but four miles in length and is at first a small stream; but being joined by numerous tributaries descending from the mountain and hills of Barradaaltdeag, or "the tops of the twelve dingles," it becomes both wide and deep.

The smaller rivers are very numerous, rippling through endless varieties of scenery in various parts of the county, but the only one worthy of especial notice is the Boonid or Bonnet, which flows through the beautiful vale of Dromahaire into Lough Gill. The Shannon has been rendered navigable throughout its entire length by means of several cuts, or short canals; the principal is that from the south-eastern extremity of Lough Allen to Battle Bridge, four miles, above Carrick: it was completed in 1817 by means of a parliamentary grant of £15,000, and is about 5 miles in length; hitherto it has been of little advantage, but from the great mineral wealth of the districts with which it is connected, the high reputation the iron found in them has already acquired, the railway now in progress from the Arigna works to Lough Allen, and the numerous advantages to be expected from a spirit of internal commerce judiciously directed, it is to be hoped that this fine canal, now nearly choked with reeds, will be made available towards increasing the internal prosperity of the country.

Other short cuts, more or less connected with the Shannon near the shores of Leitrim, belong properly to Roscommon, and are described in the article on that county.

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