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Lough Key - Roscommon - Lake View

Scenic photo

Lough Key is a lake in Ireland. It is located in the north of County Roscommon, to the northeast of the town of Boyle. The lough's name is believed to come from Ce', a legendary druid who, according to legend, drowned when the lake was created.

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Photo Details

  • County: Roscommon
  • Town:Lough Key
  • Scene: Scenic View
  • Date: circa 1910

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  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper
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  • Read about Lough Key below

Lough Key

Lough Key is a lake in Ireland. It is located in the north of County Roscommon, to the northeast of the town of Boyle. The lough's name is believed to come from Ce', a legendary druid who, according to legend, drowned when the lake was created.

The lake is several kilometres across, almost circular, and contains over thirty wooded islands including Castle Island, Stag Island, Bullock Island, and Drummand Island. Castle Island contains a castle known as Macdermott's Castle (Formerly McGreevys Castle) for one of the most important traditional families in the district. It is a fine trout and coarse fish lake.

Immediately to the south of the Lough is the Lough Key Forest Park, a popular destination for recreational walkers. The park covers 800 acres (3.2 km²), and was formerly part of the Rockingham estate. The Moylurg Tower, standing on the site of the old Rockingham house now stands overlooking the wonderful lake to the north and impressive lawns to the south. This was the seat of the Stafford-King-Harman family until 1957,who at the end of the nineteenth century owned over 30,000 acres (120 km²) in north Roscommon and Sligo. The impressive Rockingham House itself was badly damaged in a fire in 1957 and was regrettably demolished in 1970, despite earlier pledges by the Irish State to restore this historically important building.

Sir Cecil Stafford-King-Harman (1895-1987), 2nd and last Baronet of Rockingham, ensured that the land went back to the people of Ireland through the Irish Land Commission , who subdivided the pasture land into several farms of fifty acres or so on average and granted these to local people .

Through a far sighted government decision an extensive area around the then derelict Rockingham house became the Forest Park and this was looked after by the Irish Government's Department of Forestry. It is currently in the care of Coillte, a semi-state body. The park contains the remains of five ring forts, giving evidence of the long habitation of this region. There are many amenities in the park including boat tours, boats for hire, water activities, camping and caravan park, an outdoor playground and shop.

The area surrounding the lake is significant in mediaeval Irish literature and legend. Starting around 1000 AD, the Annals of Boyle were compiled on Trinity Island, and from 1253 to 1590 the Annals of Lough Key continued from where the Boyle annals ended. Lough Key was also the site for the legend of Una Bháin. Famed Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan is buried at Kilronan, three miles (5 km) to the north of the lake.

The lake is northern part of the River Shannon catchment, and feeds a short tributary of that river which joins the main river at Lough Drumharlow, 13km (8mi) to the east. One can see an impressive view of the lake from the N4 road as it ascends the Curlew Mountains after bypassing Boyle. The view is enhanced by a modern steel sculpture of an Irish chieftain mounted on horseback.