Most, if not all, of the outstanding geographical features which shape the land of Ireland have associated stories and threads of tradition. Those pertaining to Lough Neagh are spread over an extraordinarily long period of time and emanate from a rich diversity of peoples. Throughout the centuries, the lough has featured in tales written and told in Latin, Irish and English, in scholars’ texts and in children’s rhymes.
It has been claimed that this body of water formed from an overflowing well, that a curious fish-woman lived beneath its surface and that a giant scooped out a massive sod of earth to make the Lough Neagh basin. Other sources tell how the lough once turned to blood, how holly wood left at the bottom will become stone, how immersion in its waters affects a powerful cure.
This short book takes a fresh look at the wonders and legends inspired by Lough Neagh, revisiting sources composed more than a thousand years ago to relate how the stories were originally told, what message their authors were trying to convey and what natural phenomena they may have observed around the lough in the early Middle Ages.