Black Lough in Dungannon is part of the system of lakes
and waterways that were built to feed the Moygashel
mills. Dungannon park has the oldest dam in Ireland.
Black Lough, Co.Tyrone - a best kept secret?
YP&M reporter John Gregg met up with three people
who have a special fondness for this place.
Ronnie Irvine of Cookstown, tells
us that as long ago as 1964 he came here as a young
teacher to sit and listen to the birds while he took
his lunch. “The lough was always a favourite walk
for local people” he says.
Mary Ferris says that the Black Lough
is home to her. She feels lucky to live beside it.
“Even in the winter when it rains or snows, there
is still that beauty here”, she says, "It
never stops us walking around this lough. It is surrounded
by green hills. People come to feed the ducks &
Joan Carson has also been coming to
the Black Lough for about 30 years. She particularly
likes winter, spring and early autumn when she says
it is a tremendous place to watch birds. "We get
a lot of birds here. In a couple of weeks the first
summer migrants, Sandmartins, will hopefully arrive".
says for many years the lough has been one of Dungannon’s
best kept secrets, known mainly to birdwatchers. On
a nearby crannog there are Tufted Ducks & Cormorants
which come in from Lough Neagh. You can also see Mallard,
Golden-Eye and Widgeon here & Teal, not to mention
the unusual “Ruddy Duck”.
Joan says she still doesn’t know where the Black
Lough actually gets its name but explains that Ballysaggart
is townland of the priests. Towards the north of the
lough was the place where the monks lived.
In 1963, one of the last severe winters, it is a matter
of record that a Dungannon man drove his car across
the surface of the frozen lake. Joan tells how she has
skated on the lake in the winter during the ‘70s
and ended up reported in the local newpapers for “endangering
Mary Ferris thinks that the most scenic view around
the lough is that from the south bank looking at the
lake with the town in the bakground with the hills.
On a summer evening, she says, “its amazing the
number of red skies you get”.
to right - Joan Carson - Mary Ferris - Ronnie
Do you know where the Black Lough got
it's name? Let us know - reply below.
The Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs - www.ufrc-online.co.uk
The Mid-Ulster Walking Club - www.midulsterwalkingclub.org.uk
Ani Quinn - Jan '07
I was born at Edendork and raised in the white city,
Dungannon. I have lived in Essex for the last 25 years.
The Black Lough was the local " lovers lane",
needless to say there are many fond memories,It also
was where as boy racers we would compete in races around
the lough, starting at the ponda and runing anti clockwise
finishing back at the sprickley well. Truely a gem
of a place.
Robert Molloy - Aug '06
I was born in Dungannon in 1938 and moved to Australia
in 1956. In the late 40s Bobby Neil had a flat bottomed
boat which we borrowed and rowed around the lough. Drew
Watt later aquired the boat . I spent many a school
holiday rowing over to the island and swimming across
the lough in the early 50s. About 1952 there was a dry
summer and the water level was very low. The area between
the island was dry and we could walk across. The north
east corner was a damp bog. It was then that Eskragh
lough dried out as well and some prehistoric lake dwellings
were exposed and a bronze age axe head was found.While
pike were the main catch in the lough I remember bringing
home lots of perch. There was a fairly solid freezing
in 1947 and again in 1953. I still can hear the morse
code ping as we skimmed stones across the ice and the
swans coming into land and sliding for 100 yards across
the ice. I was pleased to see the lough again in 1999
after a 43 year absence.
GFH - June '06
This is an excellent site. I was born in Dungannon 63
years ago, then moved to Lurgan, then the past 42 years
in England. I still visit cousins and friends in Dungannon.
Like you JPG I have fond memories of the Black Lough.
I caught my first "Jackpike" at the sprickley
well and the sluice like you JPG. I always visit this
area and did so in early June this year. The well and
sluice have not changed much except for being over grown,
but the water is still running from the Lough. I took
some photos from this point looking up to the "Big
Hill" as we called it, and down to the "Windmill"
(Beechvalley). The Railway station is gone and has been
replaced with a beautifull little park.
JPG - March '06
Fantastic Place, My grandfather took me there every
weekend to walk the dogs, and in winter we skated or
walked out to the island.
Manys a day was also spent in the 'sprickly well' over
near the sluice.
Feeding the birds, getting pecked by the geese.
When ever I get back to Dungannon, I always go out
to the lough, it reminds of my grandfather (who was
involved in the car caper) and happy times.
Kenny Taggart - March '06
Thanks for the article on the Black Lough. I live in
New Zealand but was brought up there so it brings back