The Lakes of Westmeath

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  • Aspects of Westmeath


County Westmeath is widely known as 'The Lakeland of Ireland'. Close to 22,000 acres of the county are occupied by water, mostly in the form of lakes.

From Lough Ree, which acts as a border on the west of the county to the historical Lough Derravaragh, there is plenty to explore about the lakes of Westmeath. Let's look at them in greater detail.

Lough Ree

Lough Ree is one of the three main lakes found on the River Shannon. The other two are Lough Derg to the south and Lough Allen to the north.

The lake stretches for close to 29kilometres from Lanesboro in County Longford to Athlone Town. It is 7 miles in width at its widest point. Lough Ree acts as a border between the three different counties of Roscommon, Longford and Westmeath.

Lough Ree is also famous for unusual sightings down the years. In May 1960, three local priests were fishing when they witnessed a strange shape in the lake. It was like nothing they had ever seen before. Was it possible that they had just seen the Lough Ree Monster?

After a report appeared in the Westmeath Independent, many locals came forward with their own tales and stories from the lake. Some were propelled around the lake by an unidentified force and others thought it was just cattle that were swimming from one of the lake's islands.

Scientists arrived in 2001 to study the lake and its contents. Sadly, they failed to find any evidence to support the stories of the locals. So, the mystery of the Lough Ree Monster still survives today.