River Maine (County Kerry)

River Maine
River Maine near Currans - geograph.org.uk - 581612.jpg
River Maine near Currans
EtymologyPossibly Old Irish mang, "[female?] fawn"
Native nameAn Mhaing (Irish)
CitiesCastlemaine, Currans, Castleisland
Physical characteristics
 • locationTobermaing, County Kerry
 • location
Atlantic Ocean via Castlemaine Harbour
Length42.6 kilometres (26.5 mi)
Basin size399 square kilometres (154 sq mi)
 • average0.53 m3/s (19 cu ft/s)
Basin features
 • leftBrown Flesk, Little Maine

The River Maine (Irish: An Mhaing[1]) is a river in County Kerry, Ireland.[2][3]

History and legend[edit]

According to an ancient tradition recorded in Lebor Gabála Érenn, three rivers "burst forth" during the reign of Fíachu Labrainne as High King of Ireland. One was Innbhear Mainge — the Maine. The Annals of the Four Masters contains the same story, but spells it Mand.

The Metrical Dindshenchas records Inber Cíchmaine, cid cress, gáet co líth-baile láech-bress Maine ergna, úais ella, mac Medba ocus Ailella. ("At Inber Cichmaine, though it be narrow, was slain (a mighty onslaught) far-famed Maine, son of Medb and Ailell, exulting in fury of warlike combats.")[4][5]

A possible etymology is from Old Irish mang, referring to a fawn or young deer.[6]

The Maine was the traditional division of the Kingdom of Desmond: south of the Maine was controlled by the Gaelic MacCarthys, while north of the Maine was controlled by the Norman Earl of Desmond. A castle on the boundary was constructed on a stone bridge over the river at Castle Maine.


The River Maine rises at Tobermaing and flows westwards. It passes through Castleisland and under the N23, then meets its main tributary, the Brown Flesk. It continues through Currans and is bridged by the N22. In Castlemaine it passes under the N70, flows past the Ardcanaght Stones and enters the harbour.


In 2014 the river was reported as polluted with ammonia.[7]


The River Maine is a noted salmon and sea trout fishery. The brook lamprey also lives in it.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "An Mhaing/River Maine". logainm.ie.
  2. ^ "Ballysadare Estuary: sampling fish for the Water Framework Directive – Transitional Framework" (PDF). Central Fisheries Board (CFB) and the North Western Regional Fisheries Board (NWRFB). 2008–2009 – via Inland Fisheries Ireland.
  3. ^ Irish Water (18 March 2015). "Milltown Waste Water Discharge Authorisation (D0331-01)" (PDF). Letter to Environmental Protection Agency.
  4. ^ "The Metrical Dindshenchas".
  5. ^ "The Metrical Dindshenchas".
  6. ^ "EDIL – Irish Language Dictionary".
  7. ^ "Experts attempt to trace sources of Kerry river pollution". 8 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Brook lampreys spawning in the River Maine". Lamprey Surveys. 10 April 2014.

52°13′42″N 9°19′42″W / 52.228373°N 9.328336°W / 52.228373; -9.328336