Located roughly 1.5 miles away from Bellaghy lays the enchanting & historic Church Island. There is fantastic history behind this beautiful island on Lough Beg with it being mentioned as a monastic settlement as far back as the year 1112. Visitors will notice that the church and spire are not actually connected, the spire was only constructed in the 1700’s at the behest of Bishop Harvey who wanted to be able to view a spire from his home in Bellaghy. For any lovers of local lore, it is said that the Bullaun stone located on the island is none other than St Patrick’s kneeling stone. Notably for Heaney fans, Church Island was not only mentioned in Heaney’s poem “The Strand at Lough Beg” but was also once referred to by Heaney as his favourite place in the world.
Website: Church Island
Located between Bellaghy and Lough Beg, Ballyscullion Park is a hidden treasure with a lot of history hidden between it’s walls. The picturesque house serves not only as a great place for visitors to explore, enjoy and experience it’s charm but also serves as a highly regarded wedding venue. Interestingly, the current Ballyscullion House (built in 1840) replaced the older, unfinished Ballyscullion House which was demolished in 1825. The house is privately owned and, as such, any prospective visitors to the site must make bookings in advance.
Website: Ballyscullion Park
A few miles drive from Bellaghy is the gorgeous Portglenone Forest, located by the River Bann in Portglenone. A walk through the ancient woodlands affords visitors with a pleasant serenity within it’s glorious surroundings, providing one of Lough Neagh’s most awe inspiring locations. The forest is also well known for having a phenomenal display of flowering bluebells in May each year, it’s always a wonderful sight to look out for.
Website: Portglenone Forest
Provider of the Heaney country tours, Laurel Villa is a fantastic guest house located in Magherafelt. For Heaney enthusiasts, the Charming B&B is a great place to stay with the owners possessing a great passion for Heaney and literature as a whole. Laurel Villa, conveniently located in Magherafelt, is roughly only 5 miles away from the village of Bellaghy making it one of the best places to visit or stay when stopping by the Heaney HomePlace.
Website: Laurel Villa
Skirting the edge of the Bann, Toome Canal offers a fantastic short walk alongside the river allowing visitors to take in the wonderful variety of wildlife and fauna that the ecosystem supports. The walk is easily accessed from Toome Village and leads all the way up to Lough Neagh, providing a stunning view of Lough Neagh. The canal is perfectly suited for those looking to enjoy a short, serene walk by the River Bann. Take some time to experience the sights and sounds that inspired Seamus Heaney’s “Lough Neagh Sequence”.
Website: Toome Canal
A trout fishery located a few miles outside of Randalstown in the beautiful County Antrim Countryside, Craigmore fishery is a perfect place to enjoy a wonderful evening of fishing and enjoying the best Lough Neagh scenery. The lake itself is man-made with a spring-fed water source providing the lake with crystal clear water. With fantastic vistas looking over the Lough Craigmore Fishery is one of the best ways to experience what it is that makes Lough Neagh such a special place to visit.
Website: Craigmore Fishery
Visit our website for further information about Lough Neagh & Its Waterways: discoverloughneagh.com