Lough Neagh Partnership and the Rivers Trust are delighted to support the local community groups around the shores of Lough Neagh who want to change attitudes to litter. Around Lough Neagh we can see the damage done to valuable wildlife habitats through our careless attitude to litter. Plastic bottles, straws and single use coffee cups are blown from roads and lanes into streams and into Lough Neagh where we are contributing to killing of sea birds and sea animals. Lough Neagh Partnership and the Rivers Trust are throwing our efforts behind the Live Here Love Here Campaign to do our bit.
Because we Live Here beside the Lough
We Love Here and do not want our place looking like a skip!
Please join and like our Lough Neagh Litter Campaign on facebook
Next events coming up: –
Saturday 27 July Derrytresk Community Centre 12noon
Saturday 3 Aug Newmills at the MACE shop at 10:30am
Siobhan Thompson, the project lead for Saving Nature in the Area has been working alongside Bryonie and Gemma from Quarto to explore Community Connect with Moss.
Local community members joined us on two walks through the moss, one along the condemned rampart and one on the ramparts behind Derrytresk community centre.
We looked at how the moss has changed and altered over the lifetime of local people, and to get a sense of what is important for you as community and how we could help move this forward.
We had a lot of good discussions with people and have collated insights from those that came along, from local place-names to stories of using special moss shoes and the right way to stack the peat. There were a lot of photos taken and there will be a final workshop on Wednesday the 26th June at Washing Bay Community Centre @ 7.30pm which we hope as many local people will get along to as possible… Children are also welcome to come along and take part…
The curlew have been very active, and our Ornithology team on the ground (which consists of Kendrew Colhoun and Kerry Mackie) have been out monitoring and watching – as well as getting lots of cups of tea, and pieces of cake – they tell me this element is particularly vital and an integral part of the hard work they are doing – and actually it is, as the information they get from you is massively important and helps us shape our project for the current and future benefit of the Curlew and other wildlife.
We are well into the season, the Curlew arrived mid-March and have been busy courting one another, setting up nests, guarding their nests from aerial/ground predators, and trying to get their eggs to the hatching stage.
From our monitoring we have observed one pair has managed to get their eggs to hatching point – as they are ground nesting birds many of the eggs in nests are predated by other birds, or by ground predators, and never get to hatch.
We watched with great excitement as the pair we know got the eggs to hatching stage, but sadly we suspect the chicks that hatched have already been predated.
These birds as ground nesting birds have a lot of contend with and we hope that in years to come we can help manage this local landscape with your help for their benefit. Future funding will include how we can create a benefit for the community as you have been integral in shaping this landscape to date.
Rosalind Lowry our project artist has been working with Kingisland Primary school, and together with the students and staff, has created and painted the beautiful mural you can see on the gable wall… it shows the wonderful wildlife you have in the area, from Curlew, Cuckoo, Meadow Pipits, to Large heath butterfly and insect eating plants known as sundew which are a wonderful plant found on bogs. If you get the chance pop along to see it, it blends in very well with the colourful school grounds. We have also delivered some workshops to the students on Curlew and local wildlife and have been very impressed by the Curlew calls the kids can make…
We will be meeting with Anne Reid the Access and Recreation officer for Mid Ulster Council in the next week – to progress discussion around access and recreation across the site, across ramparts and through the moss – from discussion with many of you we know that this is something that local community would like to see happen – the roads are busy in the area and it’s good to have routes you can take that avoid traffic and lead you through beautiful areas.
We will also be raising the matter of the walk way between Kingsland primary school and Derrytresk community centre – though we have been told this is a matter for the Department of Infrastructure
We are in the final stages of working with the Department of Education over the lease. As with all legal processes it is proving to be one thing that requires patience, and we will keep the community committees informed as to what is happening with this aspect. So please feed any questions with respect to this either directly to me or to your local community committee members and they will pass it on to us.
Upcoming Workshops, and information talks:
Wednesday 26 June – Exploring community connection to the moss – for all members of local communities to attend at washing Bay Community Centre at 7.30 – 9.30 pm (approx.)
Wednesday 3rd July – Painting the land – Derrytresk Community Centre – 7.30 – 9.00 pm
Wednesday 10th July – A Conversation in Clay – Washing Bay Community Centre – 7.30 – 9.00 pm
Meet the Ornithologist – Update on the moss Curlew & other birds – Date & Venue TBC
Access & recreation – Consultation with Community – Date & Venue TBC
We welcome feedback on the timings of our workshops – we could hold the last two towards end of July but understand a lot of people may be away – please let us know your thoughts, or ideas for info talks/workshops you would like.
One of the discussions we were having on one of the community walks on the moss was how you do make a peat creel… Has anyone any idea of the local design used? Would you in interested in trying to build couple with us?
A new series taking UTV presenter Joe Mahon on a unique tour of Lough Neagh has been launched to an invited audience with Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council ahead of its first episode, which will be screened on UTV at 8pm on Monday 17 September.
The eight part series takes Joe onto and around the largest freshwater lake in the UK and Ireland where viewers will see him fishing for eel in the dead of night, canoeing and learning hunting skills on the shores of the lough, digging with archaeologists, visiting the oldest thatched roofed pub in Ireland and learning the traditional craft of boat building.
Joe said of the new series: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring Lough Neagh for this new UTV programme. It was a hugely enjoyable learning experience and the beauty about learning something new is the idea that you can then share it with the viewers. I hope that everyone will not only enjoy the series, but also learn a little bit more about the Lough.”
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael, commented: “Lough Neagh is the heart of Northern Ireland and on behalf of all the Councils involved in Lough Neagh Partnership, we thank Joe Mahon, Westway Films and UTV for showcasing the history and heritage of our Lough. We are extremely proud of the connection with the Lough and on Tuesday of this week, we officially cut the sod for the new Lough Neagh Gateway Centre, which is due to open at the end of Summer 2019. In the meantime, we all look forward to welcoming more visitors, that Joe’s new series will attract, to our stunning Lough Neagh.”
Gerry Darby of Lough Neagh Partnership said: “This is the first locally produced television series dedicated to exposing the culture and heritage of Lough Neagh and its surrounds. It has been a pleasure for the team at Lough Neagh Partnership to be able to work hand in hand with Joe on this series to showcase the authenticity of this area. We believe he has really captured the essence of everyday life in the heart of mid Ulster to enthral UTV viewers with this unique insight into the place that we are so proud of.
Terry Brennan, UTV’s Head of News and Programmes said, “In the 20 plus years that Joe has been bringing programmes to our homes, he has enthralled and delighted the viewers with his unique style, outstanding locations, amazing characters, and delightful stories, and with Lough Neagh, that trend will continue. We are absolutely thrilled at UTV that Joe has uncovered yet more amazing stories about Northern Ireland’s rich cultural heritage.”
Lough Neagh, sponsored by Connollys of Moy, starts Monday 17 September at 8pm on UTV.
OVERHEAD AND UNDERFOOT – THE SECOND WORLD WAR LEGACIES AROUND LOUGH NEAGH
The Second World War was to have a massive impact on the greater Lough Neagh area and this is still very evident in the built and cultural heritage of the area today. In order to explore the cultural legacy of the Second World War on the Lough Neagh area, Lough Neagh Partnership is hosting a free to attend two day conference on 16 and 17 October.
The two day event begins in The Old Courthouse in Antrim on 16 October exploring the role of the Second World War through various talks to inform delegates of the stories associated with those from the Lough area and the service personnel based there. Associated stories of rationing, military aviation, haunted places, evacuees and refugees, soldiers and airmen. Delegates will then be encouraged to participate in lively discussion after each session.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael commented: “I am delighted that this interesting conference is taking place in our Borough. Antrim and Newtownabbey has a diverse history and I would encourage everyone to attend to learn about the cultural legacy of the Second World War in the Lough Neagh area.”
Liam Campbell, Lough Neagh Partnership, said: “Covering a diverse range of topics the packed agenda on this two day conference will appeal to anyone interested in history and the future of life and living on the Lough.
“We have engaged community historians, archaeologists, authors and leading researchers, who have a very real interest on the impact of the Second World War around Lough Neagh to share their knowledge during what promises to be a great two days.
“This conference seeks to foster relationships among many community groups, institutions, government bodies and practitioners, as well as academics who have an interest in the impact of the Second World War around Lough Neagh.”
On 17 October delegates will be taken on a guided bus tour of the major Second World War sites including Toome, Ardboe/Clontoe, Langford Lodge and will visit the Ulster Aviation Society at Maze Long Kesh.
To attend ‘Overhead and Underfoot’, book your place by contacting Lough Neagh Partnership on tel 028 7941 7941 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org as advance booking is essential.
“Bartlett in the early 1600s is going around mapping out what existed here, so we’ve a wonderful map of the period,” said Liam Campbell, built and cultural officer with the Partnership.
“Richard Bartlett’s map shows a fort here and we know that there are between 1000 and 1200 soldiers mustered here.
“And yet nothing remains on the surface of this place now.”
Lough Neagh, known as Lough Sydney in the early 17th century, used to lap the bottom of a cliff face just 100m or so from where the fort would have been.
But the lowering of water levels over the century has left the site almost four times as far from the water’s edge now.
“If you take all of Ulster, Lough Neagh is like the hub of a bicycle wheel and all went out from around it,” Mr Campbell said.
“So, this place might look peripheral, but it was really, really central.
“We’re on the historical lough shore – this was a major source of food and protein, so people are actually here hunting, gathering and fishing.
“So it’s no surprise these were centres of population and settlement for a very, very long time.”
The dig has confirmed that the history goes back far beyond the 17th century fort, evident in geo-physical surveys carried out before the work started.
The archaeologists explored between three and four metres down, finding not only evidence of the fort, but of a settlement going back thousands of years.
“We’ve excavated everything manually, and we have uncovered a considerable ditch running across our trench,” said Ruairí Ó Baoill, an archaeologist with Queen’s University Belfast.
“In that ditch is 16th century pottery, fragments of rotary querns for grinding corn, red brick, Gaelic Irish pottery, bits of [Victorian] clay pipe and we’re very happy,” he added.
“Everywhere we’ve dug we’ve found archaeology.
“Elsewhere in the trenches we’ve found material dating back thousands of years – 7500 years to the end of the period of the first hunter-gatherer settlers, the Mesolithic period, and we’ve found their flints.
“We’ve found 6000-year-old flints, projectile heads and knives from the time of the first farmers.
“They’re all living here, all in County Tyrone, all on the shores of Lough Neagh and all exploiting the lough.”
The finds have included the blade of an implement probably used to cut meat, which is still sharp 7500 years after it was carved.
The entire site has been meticulously recorded and will be written up, so while the trenches have been filled in, the discoveries and the archaeology will still be available.
“Because the landscape has changed so much, it’s got people really interested in their place,” Mr Campbell said.
“And part of the reason we did this was not just to do archaeology for the sake of it, but actually to get people reconnected to their past.”
Join us on Saturday 24th March for the launch of Northern Ireland’s largest anti-litter campaign, The BIG Spring Clean, at Rea’s Wood in Antrim. This is Northern Ireland’s biggest volunteer cleanup and it needs your help to keep the positive work going. In 2017 the cleanup, with the help of an amazing 111,000 volunteers, managed to lift an incredible 141 tonnes of litter. This year we’d love to help increase that total, starting with the launch event in Rea’s Wood. This years launch will run from 10am to 2pm on Saturday 24th March with lunch being provided for volunteers by Tesco’s.
Rea’s Wood can be accessed by the lowest car park in Antrim Lough Shore Park.
Please wear suitable clothing and footwear. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Karina at: Karina.Magee@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org
The BIG Spring Clean supports local community clean-ups across all 11 council areas in Northern Ireland. It is open to individuals, schools, community groups and businesses wishing to rid their streets of litter and discarded rubbish.
You can find more information from the following links:
Peatlands Park contains some of the best examples of raised bog habitat around Lough Neagh. However scrub and rhododendron are beginning to encroach onto the peat. We are inviting volunteers to come help us clear the scrub back from the edges of the site and protect this valuable habitat. There will be refreshments and a guided walk on the rare plants and animals on the site.
Please bring warm clothes, wellies and a packed lunch. Tools and PPE will be supplied