Rich island habitat in Lough Neagh
Coney Island is located 1km offshore in the southwestern corner of Lough Neagh. The island is rich in mature woodland, providing a good habitat for many species of woodland birds.
Evidence of human habitation dates back to Mesolithic times. An Anglo-Norman motte nearby is thought to be the most westerly Norman stronghold in Ulster. The tower on the island was used by Shane O’Neill as a lookout post and stronghold for his riches in the early sixteenth century.
After his death in 1567, Henry Sidney, the lord deputy of Ireland, laid claim to the O’Neill treasures, reputedly becoming the richest man in England.
In 1895, James Alfred Caulfield, the seventh Viscount and eleventh Baron of Charlemont, built a Victorian summer cottage on the island, which still remains today. Caulfield’s remains are entombed in the tower on the island.
The island is now owned by the National Trust and managed by Craigavon Borough Council. Access is usually from the slipway in Maghery.
© Peter McClelland. Reproduced with kind permission of the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association.