Lough Neagh (Loch nEathach in Irish) is the largest lough, or body of freshwater, in Ireland and Britian. Approximately 30 km (20 miles) long and 15 km (9 miles) wide, the lake is situated some 30 km to the west of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Lough is very shallow around the margins and has an average depth in the main body of the lake of about 9 metres (30 feet); although at its deepest the lough is about 25 metres (80 feet) deep.
Five of the six counties of Northern Ireland have shores on the Lough: Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, and Tyrone. Towns near the Lough include Magherafelt, Moneymore, and Craigavon.
Although the Lough is used for a variety of recreational and commercial activities, it is exposed and tends to get extremely rough very quickly in windy conditions.
Lough Neagh Rescue provides a rescue service 24 hours a day, it is a voluntary service, but its members are dedicated and possess significant expertise. Rescues are coordinated by the Marine Coastguard Agency.
An old Irish story tells how the Lough was formed when Ireland's legendary giant, Fionn mac Cumhail (or "Finn McCool"), scooped up a portion of the land and tossed it at a Scottish rival. He missed, and the chunk of earth landed in the Irish Sea, thus creating the Isle of Man.
Lough Neagh attracts bird watchers from many nations due to the number and variety of birds which winter and summer in the boglands and shores around the lough.
Eel fishing has been a major industry in Lough Neagh for centuries. Today Lough Neagh eel fisheries export their eels to restaurants all over the world.
There are a number of islands in the lough: Coney Island , Coney Island Flat , Croaghan Flat , Derrywarragh Island , Padian , Phil Roe's Flat and The Shallow Flat . (Note: list incomplete)
See also: List of Irish lochs and loughs
Last updated: 08-24-2005 08:53:22