Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh

Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the British Isles. It has a central position in Northern Ireland, being surrounded by 5 of the Province’s 6 counties. Legend has it that the lake was formed when the Irish giant, Finn McCool, scooped up a handful of land to throw at a rival. Science, however, brings us back down to earth to tell us that the Lough was created in the early Tertiary when a fault line caused an area of land to sink. This area filled with water and Lough Neagh was created.

Lough Neagh travel

flickr image by Bobby McKay

The legends carry on with the name of the lake which means the Lough (Lake) of the horse god Eochu, lord of the underworld, who is supposed to live in the Lake. The legend is perpetuated as the surface winds create whirlwinds that in turn create loud booming noises, called water guns, and these are said to be the horse god galloping at the bottom of the lake.

The size of Lough Neagh makes it an ideal centre for water sports as it never gets crowded. It is also a very shallow body of water, the average depth being around 30 feet.

Sailing is very popular on the lake. There are four yachting marinas at Kinnego, Ballyronan, The Battery and Sandy Bay. Kinnego Marina is the largest marina and it includes a caravan and camp site, children’s play area and sailing and power boat tuition. Unlike many lakes which are surrounded by mountains, Lough Neagh is quite exposed and subject to strong winds causing the water to become rough with very little warning. For fishing enthusiasts the Lough offers the chance to catch roach, bream, perch and brown trout. There are also several unusual species of fish to be caught such as dollaghan, pollan and freshwater herring.

Lough Neagh is a well-known venue for birdwatchers as there is a large number and variety of birds which spend the winter and summer on the lake shores. Over 100,000 wintering wildfowl fly in from far away places such as Canada, Iceland, Greenland and the Russian Arctic.

One of the best ways to appreciate Lough Neagh is to take a cruise on one of the many boat trips that are available. The Maid of Antrim is one of the longest serving boats on the lake and offers trips with comprehensive commentaries as well as views of the lake. The Maid of Antrim departs from Ballyronan Marina.

The shores of Lough Neagh also have much to attract the visitor including its own cycle trail, the Peatlands Park and Lough Neagh Discovery Centre.

Contact Details:
Lough Neagh Partnership Ltd
Unit 3 The Marina Centre
135a Shore Road
Co. Derry
BT45 6JA
Tel: 028 7941 7941

Date posted: 23rd May, 2017

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