Erne ûrn [key], river, 72 mi (116 km) long, rising in Lough Gowna, Co. Longford, N Republic of Ireland. It flows NW through SW Northern Ireland, then back through the Republic before entering the Atlantic Ocean at Donegal Bay. Grazing predominates in the Erne basin Enniskillen is the chief town. In Northern Ireland the river expands to form two large lakes—Upper Lough Erne (10 mi/16.1 km long) and Lower Lough Erne (18 mi/29 km long). An international flood-control scheme (completed 1959) controls the water level in the lakes. Hydroelectricity is produced along the 150-ft (46-m) drop in the river's course between Belleek and Ballyshannon the lakes are a natural reservoir.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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