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Cattle Move to Trasnagh Island on Strangford Lough

19th January 2020
Strangford Lough and its islands Strangford Lough and its islands Photo: Tourism NI

Giffiths Valuation of Ireland tells us that in the middle of the nineteenth century the sole occupant of Trasnagh Island in Strangford Lough was a John Patton writes Betty Armstrong

Now the County Down Spectator reports that for the first time in past 70 years it has a new set of occupants - a 13 strong herd of Highland cattle which local farmer and business man John McCann, has just moved the half mile offshore from Whiterock near Killinchy on the western shore of the lough. For years it wasn’t possible to have cattle on Trasnagh due to the shortage of water and the difficulty in moving the animals.

John McCann’s ancestors farmed 40 acres of islands by swimming cattle out and using large rowing boats to ferry sheep and in fact John is more used to sheep farming than Highland cattle. Using a National Trust flat bottomed vessel, the cattle were safely transported from Strangford Lough Yacht Club to nearby Trasnagh, (from the Gaelic Oileán Trasna meaning Cross Island).

Up grading of the old buildings, the well and the waterhole over the past year means the island now has an all year round water supply, fulfils environmental requirements, and as in the recent movement of cattle onto islands in Lough Erne, helps maintain and encourage the nesting of birds.

The cattle will be sharing the island with John’s flock of sheep.

The many islands in Strangford Lough are in fact, the tops of drowned drumlins and the Lough is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).

For more click here

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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