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    Thus, under existing conditions the Newport and Annagh Rivers form a system with a pronounced valley, independently of the Shannon, instead of being directly tributary. They turn sharply southward a few miles to the east of the main stream, and are tributary only after joining the Mulkear, which empties into the Shannon somewhat against its current. Again, the latest glaciation was effected by an ice-sheet which moved over the Cratloe hills, probably from the high grounds in west Clare, and fanned out eastward at Castleconnell to south-eastward at Limerick without being in the least affected in direction by the Shannon valley. In consideration of these unwonted circumstances, and having discovered what seems to me a reasonable means of accounting for an intermission of the Shannon erosion in this locality, I cannot hesitate to see in the new appearance of its course a strong suggestion of the river not having occupied it for a time at least; that, in fact, the river is, in a sense, a recent visitant there—a monarch returned, after a long absence, to a part of his dominions which by force of circumstances he had abandoned.

    JR Kilroe, 1907

    Detail from the Cary map of Ireland, 1799.
    Above: detail from the Cary map of Ireland, 1799.
    Map © Cartography Associates, from the Rumsey Collection.

    Left: detail from satellite photo (click for larger version).

    Charon (MIT Project) 1989, James Coleman ©