Here in Northern Ireland good weather is often too hard to come by, with rainy days often dominating the weather it can be difficult to make the most of summer. Not to worry though, here are 8 of the best activities you can do out and about Lough Neagh during those all too common rainy spells.
Antrim Forum Leisure Centre
Whatever the weather Antrim Forum is a great place to spend the day. With indoor facilities including a swimming pool, health suite, six lanes of 10 pin bowling as well as a café, there’s plenty for everyone. With close proximity to Antrim Castle Gardens, Lough Shore Park and Junction One shopping outlet, you won’t have to go very far to find even more great things to do when the clouds lift.
Website: Antrim Forum Leisure Centre
A historic fortified house and bawn in the small County Derry village of Bellaghy this almost 400-year-old building takes pride of place in the heart of Bellaghy. The bawn contains a museum with information on the history of the bawn and of Bellaghy as a whole. The main attraction of the library is the section dedicated to the works of the late Seamus Heaney, one of the most famous and important Irish poets of all time. The bawn provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about the local history and with the assistance of Seamus Heaney’s work it provides a fascinating insight into the changes locally within the last century.
At current, Bellaghy Bawn is only open from 12noon to 4pm on Sundays.
Website: Bellaghy Bawn
Located discretely on the outskirts of Moneymore, Springhill farm is a National Trust run historic house dating back to 1680. Offering guided tours, Springhill is a beautifully preserved building that, upon entering, transports you to a bygone era. Springhill has a number of interesting activities including their costume closet which allows visitors to dress up in attire similar to what was worn by the Lenox-Conyngham family back in the 1800s with a costume exhibition also open in Springhill. For any avid ghost hunters out there, there is also believed to be a friendly ghost ‘Olivia’ that occupies the building so be sure to be on the lookout for spooky goings on
Website: Springhill House
The Lissan House is much more than just a stunning home, the house has a fantastically rich history that begs to be explored. A rich fabric of fascinating stories and captivating characters has been woven over the course of several hundred years at Lissan House and it’s hard not to be drawn in by it. From Thomas Staples building the first house on the property, his son Robert forming the earliest part of Lissan House as it is known today up to the antics of Victorian artist ‘The Barefoot Baronet’. Along with this, the site contains a vast number of artefacts from years gone by, providing another fascinating insight into the history of the property. With a major restoration completed in 2012 and guided tours now being offered, there has never been a better time to visit and enjoy this fantastic piece of local history. For those looking to unwind during their visit, be sure to visit the Lissan tea room and the second-hand bookshop on site.
Website: Lissan House Trust
Craigavon Watersports Centre
Let’s face it, you’re going to get wet anyway so why not spend a rainy day at Craigavon Watersports Centre? The Watersports centres boasts an impressive variety of activities for watersports enthusiasts to participate in including a variety of watersport courses (Sailing, Kayaking, Wakeboarding, Water skiing and windsurfing), group activities and kids activities taking place on Lough Neagh. Activities are available for larger and smaller groups with prices provided on the Craigavon Watersport Centre Website.
Website: Craigavon Watersports Centre
The Braid is a museum and arts centre in the heart of Ballymena, providing great access to Northern Ireland culture and history. One of two main functions for visitors are the museum exhibitions that are hosted regularly at the Braid. One of the biggest attractions of the Braid is the constant supply of live performances of stage shows and music acts with a large list of upcoming shows available on the Braids website.
Website: The Braid, Ballymena
Kilmore Archery Centre
Kilmore Archery Centre is an archery range and shop that is located outside of Lurgan. If you have ever been interested in archery, Kilmore offers a rare opportunity in Northern Ireland to give the fun and exciting sport a try. The site includes outdoor and indoor ranges so you can go whatever the weather. it’s a great way to spend a day out trying something new, fun and just a little bit different.
Website: Kilmore Archery Centre
A Historic building in Glenavy and the birthplace of former New Zealand Prime Minister John Ballance. The house provides access to photos and information on John Ballance’s life as a politician and his role in pushing for woman’s right to vote in New Zealand as well as his championing of rights for the Maori populace. Ballance House hosts a range of regular and annual events to look out for including their annual Strawberry Tea Fair.
Website: The Ballance House
Visit our website for further information about Lough Neagh & Its Waterways: discoverloughneagh.com