Rams Island Heritage Project Supported By
The Rams Island Heritage Project is an undertaking of the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association Company.
Rams Island Now Litter Free!!
For the First Time Since the Rams Island Heritage Project Started (2004) the Island is now completely litter Free
World Wetland Day Celebrations,
Halloween Litter Lift,
Snowdrop Litter Lift.
With help from Antrim Borough Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Tidy Northern Ireland and all the volunteers who worked hard lifting the litter the Island is now looking as it should naturally. The Snowdrop litter lift on Saturday, 26 February 2011 has left Rams Island Litter Free.
Autumn/ Winter 2010/2011
With the main visitor season slowing it is now time to consider works for this winter. We are planning to get started earlier this year because as usual the spring nesting season will be upon us once again before we know it.
Tasks this season will include the continuing battle against the litter mainly on the west shore.
Volunteers will be ferried to the Island aboard Island Warrior from Sandy Bay. Boat owners are welcome to come in their own boat.
Litter Lifts, Fencing/Fencing Repair, Tree Surgery, Path Maintenance, Equipment Repair/Maintenance and a Woodland Audit.
If you wish to volunteer for any of these, contact Michael Savage 07715368050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some of the above can only be undertaken by qualified volunteers but there are tasks for everyone. The volunteer experience this winter will be enhanced by the facilities aboard the floating interpretive centre moored at the Island.
It must be stressed that the
litter has been brought to the Island by floods and not left by
visitors. Visitors to the Island are usually very cooperative
and do not as a rule leave litter.
enjoy the sight of the many thousands of snowdrops on the Island
European Heritage Open Days
Saturday 11th September Sunday 12th September 2010
This year’s European Heritage Open Days (EHOD) took place on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September 2010. One of the two hundred and sixty events took place on Lough Neagh. Sponsored by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency nearly two hundred members of the public visited Lough Neagh’s Rams Island. Guided tours were led by volunteers from the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association’s Rams Island Heritage Project. Michael Savage Project Manager explained the effects of the various lowerings of Lough Neagh on the size of the Island and the benefits to the residents of the shores of Lough Neagh. Michael also spoke about the exotic garden, the “Cottage Orne” created by Lord O’Neill in the early nineteenth century and of the monastic settlement with its round tower built in the tenth century. The round tower is a scheduled ancient monument one of ninety built throughout Ireland. Visitors were shown names carved on the trees by the American Servicemen who visited the Island during World War Two. Rams Island Heritage Project members were on hand to explain about life for the people who lived on Rams Island and the wildlife of Rams Island and Lough Neagh. Light refreshments were served aboard the floating interpretive centre barge JK16 Sandmartin which arrived at the Island earlier this year. The Rams Island Heritage Project is now in its sixth year and is proving a very popular visitor destination and could not have taken place without the support of the organisations listed on the page header.
RAMS ISLAND LITTER LIFT
Saturday 6th February 2010
As part of the World Wetlands Day celebrations a litter lift took place on Rams Island on Saturday 6th February.
Leaving aboard Island Warrior from Sandy Bay Marina, fifteen volunteers from Antrim, Crumlin, Randalstown, Carrickfergus and Glenavy took part in the event organised by the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association with sponsorship and help from Antrim Borough Council and the Lough Neagh Partnership. After a break for tea and coffee on the Island the volunteers worked hard lifting litter throughout the Island. Michael Savage Rams Island Heritage Project manager said “It must be stressed that the litter had been brought to the Island by the recent floods and not left by visitors. The people who visit the Island are usually very cooperative and do not as a rule leave litter. The rubbish ranged from plastic toys, bottles, a two hundred litre barrel and even a fridge door.” The volunteers removed two boat loads of rubbish from Rams Island which will help the environment of Rams Island and the Lough Neagh Wetlands.
For more information on World Wetlands Day visit www.ramsar.org
Sunday 6th August 2006 Wedding on Rams Island
On Sunday the sixth of August a bride and groom fulfilled their dreams by getting married on Lough Neagh. An armada of boats carried Victoria Savage, Robert McCormac and their guests one mile across Sandy Bay for the wedding ceremony on Rams Island. The ceremony was held in the shade of the round tower, the remains of an ancient Celtic Monastic Settlement around a thousand years old, near the ruins of Lord O’Neill’s’ nineteenth century summer house.
The Island was last permanently inhabited in the early part of the last century by Robert and Jane Cardwell who were caretakers for Lord O’Neill and known as the King and Queen of Rams Island. Both Robert and Jane died on the Island after some 50 years living there, Robert in his late 90s and Jane was 102. Hopefully the King and Queen of Rams were smiling down on the young couple making their marriage vows on their Island.
Victoria and Robert were following in the footsteps of another pair of young lovers immortalised by the Clancy Brothers in the song Ballinderry. The song tells the tale of two young lovers who would visit “bonny” Rams Island and sit beneath the trees.
The wedding was the realisation of a dream that began during a visit to the Island by the couple shortly after they became engaged. Victoria, who has been visiting Rams since her childhood, remarked light-heartedly that Rams would be a lovely location for a wedding. After that it snowballed into reality. You would have to visit Rams to understand why the couple chose it for their wedding ceremony. It has an atmosphere all of its own and has an exquisite natural and historical setting.
Watched by both families, guests and visiting boaters the bridal procession arrived up the central avenue to the tower to the strains of “She Moves Through The Fair” played on the harp by Ciara McCormac. The marriage ceremony was performed on the Island by the groom’s brother Douglas, a Seventh Day Adventist Pastor. After the wedding and a reception at the nearby Ballymac hotel the newlyweds headed to Westport for their honeymoon.
Whether there were any weddings on Rams Island in the past is uncertain, there could well have been as there was a church on the Island but the church now long gone had been unused for centuries. What is certain there have not been any weddings on the Island in living memory.
Saturday 22nd October 2006 Bluebell Planting
In a event organised by RBLNAC in conjunction with Antrim Community Forum 38 children and adults from Antrim planted five hundred native bluebell bulbs (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) on Rams Island. The bulbs should make a show in the spring and within in a few years will carpet the sides of the paths of the Island with their vivid blue flowers. The bulbs were supplied by Conservation Volunteers Nursery in Belfast grown from native stock.
Saturday 6th August Rams Island Rally
25 Boats arrived from Sandy Bay, Morrows Point, Battery Harbour, Antrim and Kilrea for a small Rally at Rams Island. Berthing space was at a premium with boats rafted together four and five abreast. Music and BBQ went on until early hours of Sunday morning. With fair weather on the day a good time was had by all.
Saturday 25th June 2005
A Himalayan Balsam Bash and educational fun day took place on Rams Island on Saturday 25th of June.
Leaving in a small flotilla of boats from Crumlin Marina at Sandy Bay, fifty children plus Group Leaders from Antrim Community Forum Community Groups, (Springfarm, Greystone ,Rathenraw, and Townparks South) took part in the event organised by the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association with sponsorship and help from Antrim Borough Council, Antrim Community Groups, Craigavon Borough Council, Lough Neagh Rescue, the Lough Neagh Advisory Committee, the Lough Neagh Partnership, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (Lough Neagh Coastguard), Scotts Northstone and Dale Farm Ice Cream. After short tour of the Island and an educational talk about the Himalayan Balsam and the problems it is causing to the environment, the children worked hard pulling up Balsam from a large stand at the south end of the Island .
After the Balsam Bash as a reward for their hard work the children were treated to a barbecue prepared by members of Antrim Community Forum.
A Lough Neagh Rescue Lifeboat from the Ardboe Lifeboat Station arrived and took the children for a high speed cruise around Sandy Bay.
The day was rounded off with a man overboard demonstration by Lough Neagh Rescue.
The event was covered by Brian Black from Ulster Television.
Saturday 21st August 2004
A litter lift and educational fun day took place on Rams Island on Saturday 21st of August.
Leaving in a small flotilla of boats from Crumlin Marina at Sandy Bay, twenty four children plus Group Leaders from Antrim Community Forum Community Groups, (Springfarm, Greystone ,Rathenraw, and Townparks South) took part in the event organised by the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association with sponsorship and help from Antrim Borough Council, Antrim Community Groups, Lough Neagh Rescue, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (Lough Neagh Coastguard) and Dale Farm Ice Cream. After a guided tour of the Island the children worked hard lifting litter throughout the Island.
A Lough Neagh Rescue Lifeboat from the Kinnego Lifeboat Station arrived at two o'clock and took the children for a high speed cruise around Sandy Bay.
After the Lifeboat trip Davey Galloway, a River Bann and Lough Neagh Association member who works in the Forestry Service, took the children and adults for an educational wildlife and woodland walk through Island.
The day was rounded off with a water safety awareness talk and parachute flare demonstration by Michael Savage a River Bann and Lough Neagh Association member who is also a member of Lough Neagh Coastguard.
PHOTOS (click to enlarge)
"Your Place and Mine" Radio Ulster Lough Neagh Special
Saturday 24th July 2004
Radio Ulster Your Place and Mine every Saturday between 7.30am - 9.00am
Your Place & Mine presenter John Toal takes to the saddle of his trusty bicycle for a special Your Place & Mine Programme focusing on Lough Neagh. A cycle trail now runs right round the Lough and John and the team stop off at points along the route to explore the history, flora and fauna of this beautiful, but perhaps less well known part of Northern Ireland.
click above to listen to whole programme
click below to listen to Rams Island Interviews
you will need real player to listen to these
this can be downloaded free at
This site was last updated 11-Jan-2019