Whatever its origins, Lough Neagh and it’s surroundings is an area rich in culture, history and wildlife. It has a tranquil atmosphere, un-spoilt scenery and secluded bays. The shoreline is a beautiful mix of woodland, bogs and fascinating wildlife. It is a real paradise for nature lovers. The lough is famous for Lough Neagh Eels which in 2011 was awarded a PGI by the EU, recognising the heritage, tradition and authenticity of the Lough Neagh Eel and distinguishing it as a unique food item alongside Palma Ham, Champagne etc. Much of the eel fishing takes place out of small harbours around Ardboe on the western store and this area is renowned for its rich and very distinctive culture and for it’s friendliness. The lough is surrounded by some of Northern Ireland’s most charming villages, Ballyronan, Toome, Maghery and Coagh among them.
With a circumference of just over one hundred miles, the area around the Lough is ideal for a day trip. Game of Throne fans will want to see Toome Canal. In the show this is the Old Valyrian Canal. This is where Tyrion Lannister was kidnapped by Jorah Mormont and taken prisoner in season five and also where the two were attacked by the Stone Men. Nature lovers meanwhile can visit Oxford Island National Nature Reserve and Peatlands Park or birdwatch at Lough Beg, a Ramsar wetland site of international importance, just a few miles from Laurel Villa. For history lovers the tenth century Ardboe High Cross is a must-see, as is Antrim Round Tower and there are a number of wonderful National Trust properties nearby.
For anyone wanting to get out onto the lough itself there are a number of companies offering boat trips and we can put you in touch with these during your stay. Some of these trips include a visit to Coney Island, a short distance from the southern shore and owned by the National Trust.