Lough Corrib or Loch Coirib is one of the Great Western Lakes of Ireland. Loch Coirib is a corruption of Loch Oirbsean. According to placename lore, this refers to Oirbsen or Oirbsiu—another name for the Tuatha Dé Danann figure Manannán mac Lir - who is believed to have been a god of the sea.
It spans 17,00 ha in size, stretching a distance of 55 km from within 6 km of Galway City and within 2 km of Maum Bridge in Connemara. The catchment area of Lough Corrib (313,843 ha) includes L. Mask, L. Carra and the drainage basin of the R. Clare. L. Mask has a surface water level 11 m above that of the Corrib. No natural surface drainage exists between L. Corrib and L. Mask but there are extensive subterranean inputs to L. Corrib near Cong via fissured limestone separating the two lakes. In addition there is some input via the Cong Canal, especially in times of high rainfall. Its waters eventually flow into the River Corrib and from there into Galway Bay at the Claddagh. The shoreline is over 120 miles and consists of wetland, limestone grassland, marsh,bog and woodland. While it is reputed to have 365 islands, a recent survey suggests a figure of 1327 (angling charts).
Its picturesque scenery is captured excellently by one of its enthusiasts Sir William Wilde when he wrote in his book in 1867 -
"....and then launch on the blue, island-studded waters of Lough Corrib, where, traversing its breadth in a trim and commodious steamer, or gliding into its glassy bays in a rowboat, we can enjoy some of the most picturesque scenery in the land..."
Wilde, Sir William. 1867. Lough Corrib, its shores and islands with notices of Lough Mask. Reprint 2002 'Wilde's Lough Corrib".
It was anciently called Lough Orbsen after Orbsen Mac Alloid also known as Mannanan Mac Lir - a famous navigator of the Tuatha De Danann. Orbsen was killed in battle by Uillin on the western shore of Lough Corrib at Maigh Uillin (the Plain of Uillin or Moycullen). It is also referred to as Loch Coirib in a reprinted edition of Wilde's Loch Coirib (3rd Edition; printed in 1936), the editor being Colm O Lochlainn who expresses dismay at the 'mutilation of our place-names by the map-makers of the Survey' i.e. the map-makers of the Ordnance Survey Maps.
According to Patrick Weston Joyce in this publication 'Irish Local Names Explained', he states:
”Lough Corrib; the correct Irish name is Loch Orbsen, Four Masters, which was corrupted by the attraction of the c sound in Loch to Orbsen, and by the omission of the syllable sen. Orbsen was another name for Manannan Mac Lir, a celebrated legendary personage".
Lough Corrib is an important source of drinking water for the citizens of Galway City and County and for a variety of businesses, hospitals etc. throughout Galway. It is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
See ‘relevant links’ to read a document about Lough Corrib's SAC status from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) website. It is also designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) since it provides an important habitat for wildfowl. Some of the species of interest include the freshwater pearl mussel, the brook lamprey, the lesser horseshoe bat, salmon and the otter (to name just a few).
Lough Mask is an important source of water for Lough Corrib. Lough Mask has a large catchment basin of 225,000 acres and receives waters from the Partry Mountains and tributaries. From Lough Mask water flows underground through caverns of limestone rock in an area that separates the two lakes between Ross Hill and Cong.
These rivers include the Clare, Grange, Abbert, Sinking, Dalgan and Black to
the east, as well as the Cong, Bealanabrack, Failmore, Cornamona, Drimneen and Owenriff to the west.
Rivers that flow into Lough Corrib include Rivers: Cong, Shrule, Cloch an Uabhair, Coill Rua, Creaga and Claregalway. Also Fuathaí (or Abhainn Ruibhe) is a major stream which collects all the water from a "chain of lakes that margin the great road into Conamara, and especially those of Lochs Bó Finne and Glenn Gabhla" which enters the lake at Oughterard (Wilde, 1867). Also the River Béalánabreac receives water from mountains in the Joyce country and Conamara mountains along with its tributary the Faill Mór and mix with Lough Corrib at Bun Bonáin near Mám.
To the north-west the Dumha Éaga provides the principal supply which "drains the watershed between the west and south-west sides of Binn Sléibhe and the south shoulder of the hills that run from Loch na Fuathaí and Lough Mask to Lough Corrib" near Corrnamona (Wilde, 1867).
For anyone who wishes to learn more about the natural heritage of Lough Corrib, please go to ‘relevant links’ where the user can access Tony Whilde’s Corrib Country Ecotour (1985). Page 10 of the document outlines a tour of the Corrib which can be done by car/bicycle etc. It describes the flora, fauna and other geographical features of the Corrib when broken down into different vantage points.
Courtesy of JSTOR
Courtesy of JSTOR
|Geography of Lough Corrib|
|Management of the Corrib|
|Towns and villages around Lough Corrib|
|Galway Clifden Railway Line|
|Mills and lime kilns|
|Islands of Lough Corrib|
|Corrib Boat Builders|
|Castles around Cong|
|Lagarosiphon major (African Weed)|
|Images of invasive species|
|Boating Accidents and Disasters|
|1916 and Civil War|
|Famine and emigration|
|Media and film|
|Lyrics of Anach Cuan song|
|Current Rowing Club|
|History of rowing|