River Bann Facts

The River Bann is one of Northern Ireland’s longest rivers. It measures just under 130 km (approximately 80 miles) from source to mouth. If you include Lough Neagh, the River Bann is 159 km in length. The river flows from the southeast of Northern Ireland to the northwest of the country.

Facts About the River Bann

  • The source of the River Bann is Slieve Muck in the Mourne Mountains in County Down.
  • The Bann is divided into two parts. The Upper Bann flows from the river’s source into Lough Neagh, and the Lower Bann flows from Lough Neagh into the Atlantic Ocean at Portstewart.
  • Some of the River Bann’s tributaries include the River Clady, the Knockoneil River, the Agivey River and the Ballymoney River.
  • The Lower Bann is the only outlet for Lough Neagh.
  • There are several bridges across the River Dann including the Portadown Bridge, the Portglenone Bridge, the Agivey Bridge and the Coleraine Bridge.
  • The River Bann is home to both salmon and eel fisheries.
  • Traditionally, the River Bann has been seen as a divide between the eastern and western portions of Northern Ireland.
  • The name Bann is possibly derived from the Irish word for goddess, or it could be related to the Irish Gaelic ‘Bhan Abha’ – White River.
  • Historically, the River Bann was an important waterway for the linen, whiskey and coal industries.
  • Lots of fish species live in the waters of the River Bann, including Atlantic salmon, brown trout eel and sea lamprey.
  • The River Bann estuary is known as Barmouth, and it is now a nature reserve managed by the National Trust.
  • The River Bann flows through or by numerous towns and villages, including Portrush, Castlerock, Banbridge, Paortadown and Tandragee.
  • In Autumn and Winter, the Drowmore Lowlands to the south of Lough Neagh often flood.
  • Some scenes from the Game of Thrones TV series were filmed close to Lough Neagh.
  • A commercial port still operates at Coleraine, and it is used by ships from Londonderry and Belfast to transfer scrap metal and coal.
  • The Newry canal connects the River Bann to the Irish Sea at Portdown, but this waterway is no longer navigable.
  • At Toome Bay human artifacts were discovered by archaeologists and found to be approximately 9000 years old.
  • The River Bann bisects the counties of Derry, Down, Armagh and Antrim.
  • Seals can be seen in the River Bann close to Barmouth.
  • Lots of pleasure boats use the Lower Bann, and there are several organised boat tours, including one going from Newferry to Church Island, and another that takes passengers from Portglenone Marina to Newferry and back again.

Visit our Rivers resources page, or discover more about some of the other longest rivers in the UK.