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Lough Rea in Loughrea County Galway
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Loughrea Lake   ~  Loughrea

Baile Loch Riach: the town of the grey or dappled lake - takes its name from the beautiful lake, on the northern shore of which the town stands.

Lough Rea, a large limestone lake, covering an area of c.260 hectares, was most likely formed by erosion during the last Ice Age which ended about 9000 BC.

Lough Rea in Loughrea County Galway
In addition to providing the town's water supply, this attractive waterscape is Loughrea's most valued amenity. It is also of value in terms of its ornithology and archaeology.

Swimming and Lakeshore Amenities
For the past six years, Lough Rea's excellent water quality and well maintained shore has earned it the European Blue Flag status making it one of the few inland lakes to receive this much coveted environmental award. The Long Point swimming area is well equipped with changing rooms and showers, ample parking and picnic areas. The promenade provides a delightful walkway whatever the season. The walkway through Corrys' Fields, located adjacent to the Fair Green at the Gort Rd. is a haven for the walking enthusiast. This lakeside walkway through c.15 acres of natural wetlands and meadow is dotted with wild flowers and a good vantage point for birdwatchers. The adjoining Fair Green on which the Court House is located boasts a very well equipped playground, a large kick about area and picnic facilities.

Wildlife of Loughrea Lake
With regard to natural history, the lake provides much of interest for the ornithologist. The lake is a very important site for waterbirds. In winter, large numbers come in from continental Europe and leave in spring. In summer, a good number of waterbirds nest around the lake. The site is of international importance for Shoveler and of national importance for Tufted Duck and Coot. It is of regional/local importance for a further ten species of waterfowl including Cormorant, Grebe, Wigeon, Pochard, Heron, Teal and Goldeneye. The main reasons for the attractiveness of the lake to waterbirds is the good quality of the water which allows plentiful aquatic insect and plant life, the shallow nature of large parts, and the size and shape of the lake. All this allows good undisturbed feeding for large numbers, especially of diving birds. It is a great and unusual asset for a town to have such large numbers of waterbirds in its vicinity. Birds such as mallard, coot and mute swan are near the shore while most others can be seen with binoculars from vantage points along the shore line.

Loughrea Lake is sometimes an angler's dream but can at times test an angler's skill and patience. Stocked by the Loughrea Angling Association, it is well supplied with trout. There is also a good quantity of coarse fish, namely perch and pike. The fishing season opens on St. Patrick's Day, the 17th of March and ends on the 30th of September. During the season, fly fishing is unlimited and trolling is allowed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Local anglers will advise on the best locations and flies to be used. The Green Peter, Bibio and Alexander have good reputations and dapping the Daddy Long Legs in late August and September can be very productive. Late evening during the summer months is a favourite time for fly fishing. Boats are available for hire and a fishing permit is also available for a modest fee. These include the Duniry River, near Dalystown, which yields good trout. The Bullaun River, north of Loughrea, contains plenty of brown trout and occasionally salmon. The Kilcolgan River, which runs from Kiltulla through Craughwell and enters Galway Bay at Kilcolgan, has excellent fishing. The fishing on all these rivers is free.

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