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The River Foyle at night

The River Foyle ( ) is a river in west Ulster in the northwest of Irelandmarker, which flows from the confluence of the rivers Finn and Mourne at the towns of Liffordmarker in County Donegalmarker, Republic of Irelandmarker, and Strabanemarker in County Tyrone, Northern Irelandmarker. From here it flows to the City of Derrymarker, where it discharges into Lough Foylemarker and, ultimately, the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The river separates part of County Donegal from parts of both County Londonderry and County Tyrone. The district of County Donegal that borders the western bank of the River Foyle is traditionally known as the Laggan. [90114] This district includes the villages of St. Johnstonmarker and Carrigansmarker, both of which are nestled on the banks of the river.

Sport on the Foyle

The river is home to a number of sporting clubs and a small mooring facility has been recently added for small yachts outside the Derry City Councilmarker offices in the heart of Derry. The main sports on the river are canoeing,sailing and rowing. People partake in water-skiing and jet-skiing in the summer.

Crossing the Foyle

The River Foyle is also the fastest flowing river in Europe for its size, making the construction of bridges to cross it difficult. In Derry, the main crossing point, there are two bridges. The south bridge, the older of the two, is Europe's only road traffic double decker bridge and is officially known as the Craigavon Bridgemarker (popularly called the Blue Bridge ). The northern bridge, known as the Foyle Bridgemarker, is a much larger bridge and was built to accommodate large ocean vessels at a time when it was envisaged that the city would need to accommodate such vessels. However, this proved unnecessary as the main port was moved several miles north of the city and the large vessels it was designed for never had to come so far south. Derry's most famous politician, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning John Hume, was most closely associated with the planning of the second bridge, believing that the large size was required to maintain a potential economic lifeline to the city through the port. Outside of Derry, the only bridge to cross the River Foyle is Lifford Bridgemarker, which was built in the 1960s between Lifford, the County Town of County Donegal on the western bank of the river, and Strabane, a major town in County Tyrone on the eastern bank.

Traffic on the Foyle

Traffic on the Foyle further south than the northern bridge is now more or less restricted to pleasure boats with the occasional tanker coming in the refinery at the northern end of the town. A tour of the Foyle onboard a small cruise ship is proving to be a successful venture, in the summer months.

Foyle Search and Rescue

Due to the presence of two bridges over the river in Derry, many Derry youth choose to attempt suicide by jumping into the deep and fast moving Foyle. 'Foyle Search and Rescue' was established as a charity in July 1993 and has adopted the role of protecting human life in the River Foyle from the Craigavon Bridge to the Foyle Bridge. Between 1993 and 2008 it dealt with more than 1000 people in distress.

Fishing in the Foyle

The Foyle is believed to be one of the best salmon rivers in Ireland.Details of the fishing regulations are available from the Loughs Agency. The village of St. Johnston, which lies on the County Donegal bank of the river, is a major fishing settlement on the Foyle.

Area of Special Scientific Interest

The River Foyle and Tributaries Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) includes the River Foyle and its tributaries ie that part of the River Finn which is within Northern Ireland, the River Mourne and its tributary the River Strule (up to its confluence with the Owenkillew Rivermarker) and the River Derg, along with two of its sub-tributaries, the Mourne Beg River and the Glendergan River. The area encompasses 120 km of watercourse and is notable for the physical diversity and naturalness of the banks and channels, especially in the upper reaches, and the richness and naturalness of its plant and animal communities. Of particular importance is the population of Atlantic Salmon, which is one of the largest in Europe. Research has indicated that each sub-catchment within the system supports genetically distinct populations.

See also


  1. Foyle Search & Rescue - a fourth emergency service 16 January 2008, Retrieved 2007-02-16.
  2. TREBLED: Suicide bids along Foyle -in 2007 8 February 2007 Retrieved 2007-02-16.
  3. Loughs Agency . org Retrieved 2008-09-01.

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