Lough Ennell

Coordinates: 53°27′N 7°25′W / 53.450°N 7.417°W / 53.450; -7.417
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Lough Ennell
Loch Ainninn (Irish)
Looking northwest
Lough Ennell is located in island of Ireland
Lough Ennell
Location in Ireland
Coordinates53°27′N 7°25′W / 53.450°N 7.417°W / 53.450; -7.417
Lake typeglacial lake
Primary inflowsRiver Brosna
Primary outflowsRiver Brosna
Catchment area117.62 km2 (45.41 sq mi)
Basin countriesIreland
Max. length6.5 km (4.0 mi)
Max. width2 km (1.2 mi)
Surface area11.56 km2 (4.46 sq mi)
Max. depth30 m (98 ft)
Surface elevation81 m (266 ft)
Designated7 June 1996
Reference no.848[3]

Lough Ennell (Irish: Loch Ainninn)[4] is a lake near the town of Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. It is situated beside the N52 road, off the Mullingar/Kilbeggan road.[5] The lake is part of the Lough Ennell Special Protection Area.[1] It is 6.5 km (4.0 mi) long by 2 km (1.2 mi) wide,[1] with an area of about 12 km2 (4.6 sq mi).[2] Lough Ennell has a large area of shallow water with nearly two-thirds of its area being less than 25 feet (8 m) and almost half of it being under 10 ft (3.0 m) deep. The lake produced Ireland's largest ever lake brown trout at 26 lbs (11.8 kg).[6][7]

The main river flowing into Lough Ennell is the River Brosna, which enters on the Mullingar side of the lake and exits on the opposite side at Lilliput. Lilliput and Lilliput House were frequently used by Jonathan Swift as a holiday home and place to write, local tradition states that Jonathan Swift was in a boat on the lake when he looked back at Lilliput and noticed how small the people looked at that distance, hence the inspiration for his most famous book Gulliver's Travels.[citation needed] Lilliput at the time was called "Nure" however after the publication of Gulliver's Travels locals began to refer to the lakeshore as Lilliput, the name stuck and today the area is known as Lilliput.


The loughside has a caravan and camping park, boat hire facilities, hotels and restaurants and a fishery. Belvedere House is also an attraction and is managed by the County Council, it hosts a number of sporting and cultural events annually such as concerts and triathlons.[citation needed]


Lough Ennell fishery is part of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board's Midland Fisheries Group of managed waters. Brown trout and pike are the main catches.[6] In recent times it appears that stocks of both game and coarse fish in the lake have been declining. There is speculation locally as to the reason for this. In 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency declared the water quality at Lilliput beach on the Lough as "poor".[8]


  • Westmeath County Council has banned the use of jet skis on the lake. The prohibition came into effect in October 2006 and currently does not apply to speed boats.
  • The shores of Lough Ennell host Mullingar Golf Club, the local golf club to the north east of the lake.
  • The lake hosts Triathlons at Lilliput and Belvedere.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Lough Ennell SPA". National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland). Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b Free, Gary; Little, Ruth; Tierney, Deirdre; Donnelly, Karol & Caroni, Rossana (2006). A Reference Based Typology and Ecological Assessment System for Irish Lakes (PDF) (Report). Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland). p. 11. Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Lough Ennell". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Loch Ainninn/Lough Ennell". Placenames Database of Ireland (logainm.ie). Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  5. ^ "Lough Ennell". Discover Ireland. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Fishery: Lough Ennell". Shannon Regional Fisheries Board. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Lough Ennell - The Name". Ask About Ireland. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Five bathing areas still poor, despite overall improvement in Irish waters". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 April 2020.