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Seanafaurrachain River

  Grade:   4 to 6       Rating: river rating
  County:   Galway   Date updated:15/08/2014
  Section Length:   3.5km   Version: 3 (History)

Brief River Description

Like many of the rivers in this area its gradient is lost over a relatively short distance. With water, potentially one of the best runs in Ireland.

Directions to the Put-in

From Castlebar drive towards Partry. Arriving into Partry take the R330 towards Westport and Tourmakeady. A couple of minutes drive will bring you to a fork in the road. Take the left fork heading towards Tourmakeady. Drive along this road for about 25 minutes towards Lough Nafooey. Park at the obvious pub cark park (the only one in the area. The 'Anglers Rest' I think). The river is located a two minute walk up the road from here.

Directions to the Take-out

It's another hike in. Take out where you parked.

River Description

The Seannafearrachain has it all. Boulder gardens, tight chutes, slides, ledges, waterfalls, and all pretty much back to back. The gradient of the river is also quite impressive as can be seen from the photos. The river also features in Huck’d ( However this does it no justice as the water levels were falling fast and we had some camera issues during the run. To my knowledge only a small number of people have done this run.. However once word gets out about the quality of this river I’m sure that this will change.

The walk in takes about 30-40 minutes depending how far up you start and how fit you are. You can put in as far up as the beginning of the col. This section begins with some testing drops to warm up on straight away. The entire river is easily inspected on the hike in, with the exception of the last drop which requires a bit of bush whacking.

I think that half the fun of a run like this is the sense of exploration that accompanies it. The valley that the Seannafearachain is located in feels quite remote and the river is quite well hidden from the road. So you get a real feeling of anticipation as you hike in. Adding to this the fact that you never really get a good glimpse of the entire run till your near the put in. Coupled with the spectacular setting and the elusive nature of the river this makes for an awesome run. So rather than me giving a blow by blow account of the run, check out the photo’s and as soon as there’s some rain go check it out.

Local issues

To date there have been no local issues. Access to the river is through someone’s land so due caution and respect should be exercised. The fact that the car park is by the local pub might also rouse local curiosity. If you’re not sure about crossing the land, ask.

River level gauge

Like many of the river in the area, this river comes up and down fast. If the Shranalong is working,the Seannafearrachain should be at a good level also. We'd guesstimate.

River Hazards

There are a number of hazards, which vary depending on the level of the water. I’ve given the run a III to VI rating based on the hardest drop which is half way down. This drop looks quite tempting and runnable. The drop itself consists of a tight chute which then drops off a 15ft fall onto a slab. It doesn’t look like there’s any way of boofing over or around the slab. So our best guess is that you'd twat yourself pretty badly. There exists the possibility that in mega levels a cushion wave might form off the slab allowing it to be run. I’m open to correction on this grading.

The majority of the river consists of sections of grade III, IV and V drops and rapids. None of the drops are spectacularly difficult but most are technical, tight and shallow.All are easily poratged. The last two drops are the hardest runnable drops on the river. To the best of my knowledge these haven’t been run yet. Given the right water levels they should be manageable, if a little burly.


Original Author: Graham Clarke
Latest Author: Barry Loughnane
(Full History)

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