Off the Beaten Track – Church Island and Lough Beg

Off the Beaten Track – Church Island and Lough Beg

Church Island and Lough Beg, together with the vast expanse of the Strand, was described by Nobel poet Seamus Heaney as ‘my favourite place in the world’. A National Nature Reserve and an Internationally designated Ramsar Site, this is a site unparalleled on these islands, with its mix of spirituality, myth, legend and literature.

Church Island and Lough Beg

The Island of St Taoide or Church Island, seen here in Winter surrounded by Lough Beg

With a monastic settlement on the island from the time of St Patrick (6th century AD), this has been a place of worship for over 1500 years and continues today with an annual pilgrimage on the first Sunday of September. The church spire was a later addition c.1798 by Bishop Hervey, the Earl Bishop of Derry, who had the spire added to the existing tower to enhance his view from his new palace at nearby Ballyscullion.

Church Island and Lough Beg

Church Island and the Strand at Lough Beg in Spring

The palace is long gone but the spire remains intact today. If you are after a place of solace, with an enormous weight of history and spirituality, then Church Island and the Strand are a must visit on any Irish journey.

church island and lough beg

An Architects Impression of Bishop Hervey’s Palace at Ballyscullion, almost completed before his death in 1803.

InSIte Tours Ireland offer guided walking tours across the Strand to Church Island (lasting c. 3 hours) and we can arrange boat trips of Lough Beg for small groups.

BBC Countryfile visit Church Island and Lough Beg as part of their Northern Ireland Special broadcast on Sunday 11th June 2017 at 7.00p.m on BBC1 and available later on the iPlayer.



Our Commitment to You

Offering walk-on guides to coach and tour operators and individual driving and walking tours of the destination, you and your visitors can discover a unique part of Ireland with a huge story to tell. And told well, with a consummate knowledge, personal warmth and good humour.

About InSite Tours Admin

InSite Tours Ireland is owned and managed by Fergal Kearney and offers specialist guided tours focusing on the distinctive characteristics of his native Northern Ireland. With over 20 years experience in tourism on the island of Ireland, with 15 of those spent at Tourism NI, Fergal has an unsurpassed knowledge of the destination and its unique culture and environment.

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