The Rivers

In Our Parish by Pete Coghlan B.A. by admin

The Rivers

Naturally the rivers flow from the higher areas Northwards into the valley along which flows the River Laune which drains Killarney Lakes and after a course of fourteen miles empties itself into Castlemaine Bay.

The word “Laune” (Leamhain) has two meanings one of which has to do with the word “Ian” meaning “full” which appears in Government notices. Some say it means “River of the Elms” or most likely has same meaning as the Leven, which drains Loch Lomond in Scotland and means “slow – flowing water.”

The Laune was noted by Ptolemy, the famous Egyptian Scientist and Geographer in 130 A.D. under the name Iberius. The name Laune abounds in Salmon and Trout, but in it also are found pearl fish and in the past, some fine pearls were got from it. Those pearl fish can still be got in it especially along the Beaufort Section.

The River Loe drains the Gap of Dunloe lakes and after a tumultuous and winding course enters the Laune near Dunloe Castle. At the mouth of the Loe many kinds of fish may be caught namely Salmon. Trout, Perch and even Fluke.




The Spideog is perhaps the best – known stream in the parish as it flows so near the Parish Church and also flows into the Laune at Gurrane.

A local chieftain owed some debt and made a bargain with the Devil to get a loan from him and if he had not paid it back by a certain date the Devil would claim his soul. The appointment day came and the chieftain had not the where – withal to pay.

The Devil claimed his rights but seeing his client so sorrowful said he would give him one more chance. He gave him a sieve and as there were on the bank of the stream, he told him to fill it with water. The poor chieftain tried in vain to get the water to stay in the sieve. And was about to give up in despair, when a little robin appeared on the branch of a tree over his head, and whispered to him to smear the inside of the sieve with clay and in that way filled it and escaped the claws of the Devil. The stream is ever since called “The Spideóg”, The Robin.

The River Giddagh has a very descriptive name Giddagh means taking away or stealing. One has only to look around to see the amount of land the Giddagh has swept away, when in flood it is a most ferocious river and often overflows it’s banks and covers acres and on some occasions has swept away all the bridges on it. It rises at a very rapid rate as it flows directly from Cumcailli Lakes and so has a fall of hundreds of feet until it enters the Laune at Bawncloon.

It supplies water from the whole big Mid – Kerry Scheme with the intake at Gaortha.

The Caol or Owenacullin River rises at the base of Cnoc a Bhraca and flows down between Alohert and Coolcumisk and into Giddagh at Keelohane.

An Fionnglaise rises in Gulba Mountain and flows into the Laune at Meanus. This river may be the stream mentioned in the account of the death of Cu Rí Mac Doire at the hands of Cuchulainn who took revenge on Cu Rí for taking away Blathnoid. She persuaded him to send off all his men to get stones for his big fort and also hid Cu Rí’s sword. She then signalled to Cu Chullainn to come by pouring milk into the stream – hence Fionnglaise (fair or white stream). Cuchullain killed Cu Rí and brought off Blatnoid. Cu Rí son, Lugaid or Lug who lived at Dunloe killed Cuchullain in revenge for his father’s death. That struggle of Cuchullain is shown in the Big Bronze Figure in the G.P.O. Dublin.