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Displaying items by tag: Lough Neagh

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed funding of £66,000 for tourism projects by the Lough Neagh Partnership over the next three years, as the News Letter reports.

Current projects at the north end of Lough Neagh include a new sculpture, interpretive display and improvement works at The Gateway centre in Antrim, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of March.

And recently a new boardwalk and path were completed at the adjacent Lough Shore Park, where the Six Mile Water meets the lough.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery, said: “Lough Neagh is one of the greatest tourism assets, not only for our borough but across Northern Ireland.”

The News Letter has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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Yesterday (Sunday 18th) Lough Neagh Rescue came to the aid of a Bayliner speedboat with one person and a dog on board in the vicinity of Rams Island on the Lough. The vessel was experiencing engine difficulties.

Rams Island is about one mile long by a quarter of a mile wide and is the largest island on Lough Neagh. It lies approximately one mile offshore from Lennymore Bay and Sandy Bay on the eastern shore.

Lifeboats launched and proceeded to the area, quickly locating the Bayliner on the west of the island. When they arrived one crew member boarded the casualty vessel, a tow line was prepared and the lifeboat towed the vessel safely to the 60 berth Sandy Bay marina, just opposite the island. When the vessel was moored the Lifeboats were stood down, returned to base and prepared for the next tasking.

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Last Sunday (4th October) Lough Neagh Rescue Lifeboat was tasked to two people stranded on Coney Island as their vessel had mechanical issues. Coney Island is owned by the National Trust and lies in the south-west corner of Lough Neagh about 1km from Maghery, a village on the Co Armagh shore.

Due to the adverse weather conditions, it was decided to take the persons off the island and bring them to Maghery. With the two people safely ashore and handed into the care of the Lough Neagh Coastguard team it was decided that the vessel could be brought to Maghery also, so the crew went back to the island, rigged a tow and brought the casualty vessel safely to the shore in Maghery.

Lough Neagh Rescue is a charitable 24-hour voluntary search and rescue service operating from three stations on the Lough - one at Ardboe in County Tyrone, one at Antrim in the North and the other from Kinnego Marina in the south near Lurgan, County Armagh.

Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the British Isles being about 32 km long and 14 km wide. It is mostly shallow with an average depth of 9 m. It is very exposed and in windy conditions can become extremely rough very quickly. It is used extensively by a wide variety of recreation and commercial craft with two sailing clubs, one at either end – Antrim Boat Club in the north and Lough Neagh Sailing Club at Kinnego in the south.

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Environmental campaigners have hit out at a Stormont decision to approve sand dredging in Lough Neagh, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Sand dredging has been practiced in Lough Neagh since the 1930s, with no permission needed until after the lough was designated as a Special Protection Area for wildlife in 1999.

Most recently the practice has been subject of a years-long legal battle, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, with Friends of the Earth claiming that as much as 1.5 million tonnes of sand are removed from the lough each year.

The final say on the matter was left to Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure, whose minister Nichola Mallon signed off on the approval and said the decision was a “finely balanced” one “where I had to weigh up the various benefits with the potential for harm to the designation features of the lough”.

Among those criticising the move was Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey.

She said that sand dredging has “a devastating impact on the entire ecosystem of the lough”, and claimed the situation underscored the notion that “Northern Ireland is disintegrating into an environmental wasteland”.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways
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An open water swimmer has hailed her crossing of Lough Neagh as a triumph — despite being whisked to hospital after breathing water into her lungs.

As BelfastLive reports, Lurgan woman Alison O’Hagan was 13km into her 14km endurance swim on Saturday morning (11 July) when she inadvertently took a lungful of water in a sudden swell.

A paramedic on the RIB accompanying O’Hagan throughout her challenge was swift to act, and got her ashore and into an ambulance within minutes.

O’Hagan — who had trained for 18 months for her long-distance swimming feat — underwent a series of tests in hospital and was discharged yesterday (Monday 13 July), being told “everything is great and I have a good strong heart”.

BelfastLive has more on the story HERE.

Published in Sea Swim
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#LoughNeagh - Ten thousand years after the Irish elk became extinct, the remains of one of its number have been fished out of Lough Neagh this week.

As BelfastLive reports, the remarkable find — comprising the whole skull and antlers of the giant deer — was caught in the net of Ardboe, Co Tyrone fisherman Raymond McElroy somewhere between Salterstown Castle and Ballyronan on Wednesday 5 September.

A jawbone taken from the lough in the same area four years ago has been dated to at least 14,000 years — and it’s possible the latest discovery could be from the same animal.

BelfastLive has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#LoughNeagh - The UK’s National Trust is seeking a new warden — or wardens — to care for the historic Coney Island in Lough Neagh, as Belfast Live reports.

The island’s restored 19th-century cottage, which until last year was home to warden Peter McClelland for almost two decades, is now available for rent.

“If you’re into gaming and watching box-sets this probably is not the place for you,” says the trust’s Edward Mason on the house, which is powered by a generator and heated by a wood-burning stove.

There will also be plenty of chores to do throughout the seasons, not least being handy with an axe.

But the mainland, an hour from Belfast, is only a 10-minute boat trip away.

And for nature lovers, the nine-acre island — also an important Neolithic site — could make the perfect home away from it all.

Belfast Live has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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#LoughNeagh - The PSNI is investigating an alleged attack on three men as they recovered a destroyed fishing patrol boat from Lough Neagh last week, according to BelfastLive.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the patrol vessel belonging to the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Operative was burnt out in an arson attack by masked men in the early hours of Saturday 27 January, just weeks after it was delivered.

It’s now emerged that three men from the co-operative who attempted to retrieve the sunken pilot boat from the lough at Anneter were reportedly assaulted as they did so last Wednesday (31 January).

BelfastLive has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#Fishing - “An attack on fishermen” is how the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative described the the loss of their new fishing patrol boat by arson, as BelfastLive reports.

The pilot boat was delivered to the co-op only two weeks before the incident in the early hours of Saturday morning (27 January) at the Co Tyrone quay where it was moored.

The PSNI is appealing for information on the arson attack perpetrated by two masked men in the Anneter area of Cookstown shortly after midnight on Friday night.

BelfastLive has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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#LoughNeagh - After two decades as warden of Coney Island in Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland’s ‘Robinson Crusoe’ has sailed on, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Peter McClelland won out over 400 applicants in 1998 for the prize position of caretaker of the National Trust-owned island, which has a rich history dating back to Neolithic times.

The Co Antrim man, from nearby Aghagallon, says the last 19 years “were the best years of my life” as he spent his days contentedly alone and occupied by the tasks at hand.

Indeed, from his new home in Portadown, McClelland is planning to write a book about his remarkable experience as the island’s lone resident.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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