| Legend has it that the giant Finn McCool, in a fight
with a rival giant, scooped up a vast handful of earth
so creating Lough Neagh. Finn then threw the handful of
earth towards England, but it fell short into the Irish
Sea and became the Isle of Man.
Despite its size, Lough Neagh is not that easily accessed
or viewed. Its marshy edge means roads seldom follow
the lakeshore and you can drive quite close to the lough
without seeing it. However, if some motorists have difficulty
in locating it, not so millions of baby eels born in
the Sargasso Sea, who swim across the Atlantic and find
the lough without fail every year.
||Covers area of 400 sq km (153
sq miles) Approx. 20 miles long and 9 miles
||40-50 ft, except at the north
end where there is a narrow gut' over 100
||Formed by melting of glaciers
at the end of the last Ice Age (c 20,000
Did you know?
- The name means the lake of the horse-god Eochu.
He was the lord of the underworld, who was supposed
to exist beneath its waters.
- The lough is Europe's greatest source of eels.
- 6 major rivers flow into the lough, but only one
leaves it - the Lower Bann
- It is a designated Ramsar site - a wetland of international
- The level of the lough has been lowered on 4 occasions,
the first in 1846 and the last in 1959.
The Your Place & Mine radio
team visited the lough in July 2004 for a special
programme. Click on the pictures or text below
to hear from some of the people they caught up
Did you know?
- Lough Neagh is an important source of water for
- The distance between waves on the lough is very
short and this is known locally as the 'three sisters'.
- Waterguns (as the fishermen call them) are booming
noises sometimes heard on the lough and are associated
with whirlwinds on the surface in sultry weather.
- Pieces of petrified wood, altered by silica salts
in the water, are sometimes washed up on the shore
of the lough. They resemble pumicestone and used
to be known as Lough Neagh hones and sold as knife
and scythe sharpeners.
- Eels, fresh-water herring (pollan) and dollaghan
(salmon-trout) are caught commercially.
(YPAM reporter Paddy O'Flaherty found out
more about dollaghan at Ballinderry during
the radio programme's Lough Neagh special.
See further up the page to listen to this programme.)
- The Lough Neagh fly (chironomid midge) may be
harmless and non-biting, but when these midges
descend in clouds during the spring and summer
they can get into everything!!
- Waterfowl number up to 100,000 in winter.
- 6% of the world total of whooper swan visit the
- It has the largest concentration of diving duck
in Britain and Ireland.
Useful web links
For basic facts and figures
about the lough and its wildlife visit the Lough
Neagh and Lower Bann Wetlands website.
Plans are afoot to carry
out restoration work on Ram's Island - the River
Bann and Lough Neagh Association.
Keep safe while out on
the water - read about the Lough
Neagh Rescue service that operates on the
Find out more about the Lough
Neagh Partnership, which works on initiatives
to improve the Lough Neagh area.
Cycle the Lough Neagh region
- on the Lough
Find out more about the Oxford
Island National Nature Reserve, including
the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre.
Walk through 2 national
nature reserves - at Peatlands
Soak up some history. These
are just a few of the places you could visit
Castle grounds, Cranfield
Church and holy well and Mountjoy
Websites of local
councils whose areas border the lough, provide
a useful range of information.
(The BBC is not responsible for the
content of external websites.)