River Swilly

River Swilly

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River Swilly

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The River Swilly () is a river in the Republic of Ireland, which flows in an eastern direction through Letterkenny, County Donegal. Letterkenny, the largest town in County Donegal, is built on the river and became the first crossing point on the river in the 17th century.


The river takes its name SĂșileach from a man-eating water monster that was chopped in half by Saint Columba, who was born in Gartan. Letterkenny DJ and Producer produced a song, A Monster in the River Swilly, about this legend.


The River Swilly rises near Glendore, a mountain in County Donegal, and flows for around 41.8 km (26 miles) through Letterkenny before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean at Lough Swilly.

Navigation and use

The river is nearly long. A shipping industry once operated on the Swilly in Letterkenny. The river was extremely hard for larger ships to navigate, as it was narrow and has many bends near Letterkenny. The port was closed to commercial shipping in the 1960s and its warehouses were demolished in 2001. The coal yard still remains on the old site opposite the Mount Errigal Hotel. Newmills Corn and Flax Mills is powered by the waters of the river.


The Swilly traditionally produced approximately 300-400 salmon per year. The heaviest salmon recorded is of 24lbs as well as a sea trout of 12lbs. The river is considered one of the best fishing rivers in the north...
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