Here at Abhainn Cruises we are excited to introduce a new experience for Spring 2022. Our ‘Patrick’s Pilgrimage’ tour is a unique 6 hour adventure designed to invigorate your spirit and invoke a sense of spiritual renewal and connection with nature.
Beginning in the solitude and serenity of early morning on the River Bann, this pilgrimage traverses both land and water, meandering through the nature reserve Lough Beg where Church Island resides. The ruins of the church on this island date back to the time of Saint Patrick who met with Taoide here to found an early Christian settlement.
Approaching the village of Toome, on the Northern shore of Lough Neagh, you pass under both the new, iconic, blue bridge and the historic Toome bridge commissioned by Lord O’Neill in 1792. Between the two bridges sits the largest commercial wild eel fishery in Europe. Saint Patrick is said to have drove all the snakes out of Ireland turning them into eels. These meaty Lough Neagh eels, which spawn 4000 miles away in the Sargasso Sea, have been providing sustenance for Lough Shore people since Mesolithic times.
You will pass through the beautiful remnants of the Carlisle Railway Bridge before disembarking at the Lock Keeper’s Cottage for a comfort break. Back on-board our vessel you navigate along the canal to the historic lock gates and make your way into Toome Bay, an important Mesolithic site of early man. Let yourself be inspired by the ancient stories of the perseverance of early humans who journeyed from the sea along the River Bann and into Lough Neagh.
With the expanse of Lough Neagh before you, you will experience a feeling of freedom as your senses become enlivened by the elements. You will journey from the most Northern shores of Lough Neagh right down to the South where Coney Island sits. This once inhabited island hosts a wealth of stories and secrets and is easily explored on foot. It provides a glorious natural environment as well as built heritage to discover. Before setting out to tour Coney you can sit and enjoy a locally prepared picnic.
Another interlude on land at Ardboe on the western shores of Lough Neagh affords a comfort break and a chance to savour a pint in the Battery Pub. Pause to reflect on the evocative views of the Lough before your exhilarating voyage back to the North of Lough Neagh and return to Newferry on the River Bann.
Throughout ‘Patrick’s Pilgrimage’ our Skippers will entertain and enthral you with the stories, legends and folklore of Lough Neagh and its down to earth yet creative people. This memorable journey will refresh you spiritually, uplift your soul and inspire your imagination for the year ahead.
To make enquiries or book a ‘Patrick’s Pilgimage’ please text or call Lynn on 07845 370231.
Private Charter available for groups of 6 or more.