1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Erne
ERNE, the name of a river and two lakes in the north-west of Ireland. The river rises in Lough Gowna, county Longford, 214 ft. above sea-level, flows north through Lough Oughter with a serpentine course and a direction generally northward, and then broadens into the Upper Lough Erne, a shallow irregular sheet of water 13 m. long, so beset with islands as to present the appearance of a number of water-channels ramifying through the land. The river then winds past the town of Enniskillen on its island, and enters Lough Erne, a beautiful lake nearly 18 m. long and 5 m. in extreme width, containing many islands, but less closely covered with them than the upper lough. One of them, Devenish, is celebrated for its antiquarian remains (see Enniskillen). The river then runs westward to Donegal Bay, forming a fine fall at Ballyshannon (q.v.). Lough Erne contains trout and pike. These waters admit of navigation by small steamers, but little trade is carried on. The area of the Erne basin, which includes a vast number of small loughs, is about 1600 sq. m., and it covers part of the counties Cavan, Longford, Leitrim, Fermanagh and Donegal. The length of the Erne valley is about 70 m.