River Feale

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River Feale
River Feale Finuge Crossing 1.JPEG
River Feale at Finuge Crossing, County Kerry
EtymologyFial, a mythical woman
Native nameAbhainn na Féile  (Irish)
CountiesCork, Limerick, Kerry
TownsAbbeyfeale, Listowel
Physical characteristics
SourceMullaghareirk Mountains
 • locationCounty Cork
MouthShannon Estuary
 • location
Ballyduff, County Kerry
 • coordinates
52°28′59″N 9°41′21″W / 52.48294°N 9.68903°W / 52.48294; -9.68903Coordinates: 52°28′59″N 9°41′21″W / 52.48294°N 9.68903°W / 52.48294; -9.68903
Length75 km (47 mi)
Basin size445.2 sq mi (1,153 km2)
 • average34.6 m3/s (1,220 cu ft/s)
Beach seine fishing for salmon in River Feale near by town Ballybunion, year 1975.

The River Feale (An Fhéil or Abhainn na Féile in Irish) rises near Rockchapel in the Mullaghareirk Mountains of County Cork in the southwest of Ireland and flows northwestwards for 75 kilometres [1] through Abbeyfeale in County Limerick and Listowel in County Kerry before finally emptying into Cashen Bay, a wide estuary north of Ballyduff. Then it flows out through the Shannon's estuary and joins with the Atlantic Ocean with a flow rate of 34.6 m2/s.[2] The river, along with its tributaries, combine to add to over 160 km (100 miles) of waterways. For the final 10 km (6 miles) stretch it is known as the Cashen River. The river contains a large salmon and sea trout population.

The headwaters of the Feale rise approximately 4.3 km northeast of the village of Rockchapel between the townlands of Rockhill West, Rockhill East and Tooreenmacauliffe on the southwestern slopes of Mullaghareirk mountain.[3]


According to Geoffrey Keating's Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (compiled in the 1630s), the river takes its name from a legendary woman:[4][5]

Fuair Fial bean Lughaidh mic Íotha bás do náire ar bhfaicsin a nochta da céile ar dteacht ó shnámh dhi; gonadh uaithe ghairmthear Innbhear Féile don abhainn sin ó shoin i le
Fial wife of Lughaidh son of Ioth died of shame on her husband seeing her naked as she returned from swimming; and from her that river has ever since been called Innbhear Feile

— Foras Feasa ar Éirinn, part 22

In Co Limerick and north Co Kerry the Feale is also referred to as one of the Three Sisters. These are three rivers which all rise close to each other in the Mullaghareirk mountains in north Co Cork and generally flow north or northwest into the Shannon Estuary. The other two rivers being the Maigue and Deel. This term is not to be confused with three of Ireland's larger rivers, the Nore the Suir and the Barrow, which are also collectively referred to as The Three Sisters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Fishing in Ireland.info
  2. ^ [2] Case Study Report - Shannon River Basin
  3. ^ ""Google Maps coordinates 52.31841305806651, -9.102413274665476". Google Maps. Google Maps". Google Maps. 29 January 2021. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  4. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/online/T100054/text032.html[bare URL]
  5. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/G100054/index.html[bare URL]