Lough Cullin, Ireland

Lake Locations:

Ireland - West -

Lough Cullin is one of the little-known jewels of County Mayo in West Ireland. Tucked neatly between Nephin and Ox mountains, the 2500-acre shallow lough, or lake, figures prominently in Celtic mythology. The lough is named for one of Fionn MacCumhaill’s two hounds named Cullin and Conn. Lough Conn is immediately to the north of Lough Cullin, connected by a short channel of the River Deel. The lake has been known as a famous fishery for many years and plays an important part in tourism in County Mayo. The waters of River Deel flow through larger Lough Conn into Lough Cullin. The Clydagh, Castlebar and Manulla Rivers all converge into the Turlough/Ballyvary area and flow into the southern end of Lough Cullin and the River Deel,which then flows out into the River Moy. The River Moy flows north to the Atlantic. Salmon swim upstream to Loughs Conn and Cullin, creating one of the best salmon fisheries in West Ireland. Water flows freely between the lough and the ocean, and the River Moy can actually reverse course in certain circumstances.

Lough Cullin is shallow with several tiny islands and many emergent rocks. The rocks under the water’s surface make it somewhat dangerous to attempt motor boating unless one is familiar with the waters. The village of Pontoon on the northwest shore rents boats and also guides – usually the best bet for the inexperienced fisherman. In addition to the annual salmon runs, anglers come here regularly to fish for brown trout, roach, perch, pike, tench and eel. Fly fishing for trout is extremely popular in both Lough Cullin and Lough Conn; a local resort hotel actually gives classes in fly tying and fly fishing techniques. Although the larger Lough Conn has long been considered the better fishery, experts point out that all fish heading upstream to Lough Conn must pass through Lough Cullin, and the astute angler has just as good a chance at the big fish there. Brown trout in Lough Cullin haven’t shown the size of trout in Lough Conn, but fisheries experts say the size is improving.

Although not suitable for watersports, Lough Cullin is an excellent location for a holiday. At least one resort hotel overlooking Lough Cullin offers a spa, cooking and art classes and fly-fishing vacations. The area is excellent for bird-watching, and is home to several threatened waterfowl species under protection here. Although there are few large towns in the immediate area, there is no shortage of local eating places, hotels, inns, pubs and campgrounds. Ballina, about 15 miles from Lough Cullin, has an excellent golf course. Nightlife and music are a specialty of Ballina, with a variety of late-night clubs and music, both traditional and contemporary. County Mayo is sparsely populated, having lost nearly all of its residents during the Potato Famine of the late 1800s. The scenery is lovely, with craggy mountains set against desolate moors. Hiking and walking trails abound, with many small villages interspersed between bogs and windswept moors. Visitors rushing to busy Galway and Londonderry often overlook it completely, making Lough Cullin an idyllic place for a quiet nature-focused holiday. Less than five miles from Lough Cullin, Foxford Woolen Mills provides artisan shops, restaurant, and a museum highlighting the long history of the mill. Some of the machinery still in use is over 100 years old.

Visitors soon realize the history of western Ireland at Lough Cullin: prehistoric dolmens and ruins of early churches are everywhere in County Mayo, as are museums and reminders of Ireland’s tragic past. The dolmen – tombs – of ancient kings bring the past to life as do the ruins of ancient abbeys, legends of Celtic leaders, and the tales of tenants evicted by landlords desperate to reclaim their land for cattle and other crops before they, too, became penniless. County Mayo has a higher-than-average number of historical museums, all less than 50 miles from Lough Cullin. The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life is located just east of Castlebar. Displays of historic and authentic tools and materials used in daily rural life mesh with pictorial and narrative history of the area. Not far away, the Eviction Cottage features the story and the reconstructed cottage of the last family evicted at Belcarra.

Ocean fishing tours can be arranged at Westport on the Atlantic Coast. Westport is home to several ‘Blue Flag’ beaches, some of the best and safest in Ireland. A 15 minute ferry trip to Clare island, home of the famous Sea Queen Grainne Uaile (Grace O’Malley), offers tours of her rebuilt castle, a 12th century Abbey, lighthouse and beach. From nearby, visitors can climb traditional Croagh Patrick, the hill where Saint Patrick fasted for 40 days in the fifth century. A pilgrimage is held each year on the first Sunday in July when over 60,000 people climb to the summit. Traditionally, the climb is made barefoot. Westport is only 25 miles from Lough Cullin. Forty miles from the lake, Achill Island is the largest island off Ireland’s coast and an exceptional place for hiking, nature observing and exploring.

The area near Lough Cullin offers a variety of holiday lodging choices, from resorts and hotels to fishing cottages, guest houses, holiday farmhouses and bed and breakfasts. From self-catering cottages to resorts with every amenity, there’s the perfect vacation rental for you. Real estate can still be found in the area , often just a short walk from the lakefront. So, come for the perfect fly-fishing holiday. Lough Cullin and County Mayo will write its name on your heart.

Things to do at Lough Cullin

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Lough Cullin

  • Brown Trout
  • Eel
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Roach
  • Salmon
  • Tench
  • Trout

Lough Cullin Photo Gallery

Lough Cullin Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,518 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 10 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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