Lough Neagh is the largest lake of fresh water in the islands of the UK/Ireland. The waterway is an integral part of the area's economic development, providing income for the locals and recreational opportunities for visitors.
Things To Do at Lough Neagh
Visit the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre
The Lough Neagh Discovery Centre schedules guided tours and nature walks, as well as bird watching sessions. It features an excellent café and craft shops that sell creations of local artists. The Lough Neagh Discovery Centre is located on Oxford Island, which is really a peninsula, on the southern shore.
Explore the Recreation Areas
Close to the Discovery Centre are some of the best recreational areas:
- Toome, on the north shore, features the area's largest eel fishery, which sends their catch off to some of the country's best restaurants
- Nearby Peatlands Park is another Lough Neagh recreational area
Take the Bogland Railway
- Peatland Park provides a popular railroad tour of the regions boglands
Lough Neagh - Quick Facts
- The lake is 20 miles long and nine miles wide and mostly shallow, but reported to be as many as 80 feet deep in spots
- It encompasses an area of 153 square miles
- Lough Neagh receives its water from six rivers, and empties into the Lower Bann, which carries the water out to the sea
- It is the primary water source for Belfast
- The lake is a prime fishing area, known for its eels
- Native fish include salmon, pollen, perch, dollagh, bream, and roach
- It is also a habitat for a broad variety of bird life
- Lough Neagh's shorelines belong to five different counties
Lough Neagh and Irish Mythology
Folklore says that the Irish giant Finn McCool dug up a fist full of the Irish soil and threw it at an enemy over in Scotland. The hole left behind filled up and became Lough Neagh, while the soil landed in Irish Sea and formed what is known as the Isle of Man.
Finn McCool himself was the leader of the Fianna warriors whose job it was to keep Ireland safe from foreign invaders. Finn was a wise leader and a strong warrior, with special mental powers. He had a huge dog named Bran, who is believed to have been the first of the Irish Wolfhound breed.
The Fianna were able to travel into the world of the supernatural, including the afterlife. Finn was known as a giant of great proportions, and is credited in Irish folklore with the building of the Giant's Causeway in nearby County Antrim.
Lough Neagh. Image: Oisin Patenall