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The Shannon rises in the north west of County Cavan, beside the village of Dowra on the Cavan/Leitrim border.
It then travels 259 kilometres in a southerly direction to enter the Atlantic Ocean via a 113-kilometre estuary below Limerick City.
It drains an area of 15,695 square kilometres.
As the main river draining the central lowland of Ireland, it is surrounded by marshes and bogs for much of its course and widens at various points into lakes, many with islands.
The source of the Shannon is generally considered to be the pools at the foot of Tiltinbane Mountain.
After a few miles it enters Lough Allen and then flows onward south.
The Shannon River is named after Sionnan, who was the granddaughter of Manannan Mac Lir, or God of the Sea.
Legend has it that she came to this spot to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which was planted by the Druids.
As soon as she eat it, the waters of the pool sprang up and overwhelmed her, drawing her down into it to flow out later across the land, thus the River Shannon sprung up.