Rams Island


 Rams Island Heritage Project  Supported By


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click for Directions to Sandy Bay Marina for Ferry to Rams Island


What's New?


The Rams Island Heritage Project is now being supported by Live Here Love Here.

Find out all about them by visiting http://www.keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org/

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful





After months of negotiations including a visit to the North Pole by RBLNA members and a visit by Santa to Rams Island.

FRIDAY, SATURDAY and SUNDAY 5th, 6th and 7th December 2014

follow below link for sailing times

All aboard the Island Warrior to Rams Island, Santa's Magical Island where Santa Claus will be meeting and greeting children of all ages. Santa Claus will present children with a small gift. Included in the fare there will be kiddies drinks, treats, non alcoholic mulled wine, tea ,coffee and snacks served on the Island. Marshmallow Toasting at a campfire and a short ride aboard the Elf Quad Train to the cottage. Each trip will  last approximately 90 minutes. All Children must be accompanied by an adult. Lifejackets (provided on board) must be worn by children.  Please arrive at Sandy Bay Marina BT28 2 LQ at least 15 minutes before sailing time. Cost £10.90 per person adult or child. Cancellation only in exceptional circumstances.

Booking Essential

click on link to book






Lough Neagh Secures Funding from Heritage Lottery Fund

details click here



to be continued this Friday

                                                    BALSAM WARS from Rams Island on Vimeo.

     Himalayan Balsam Bash 

To Help the Lough Neagh Environment  

FRIDAY 27th June 2014 Volunteers Wanted

Members of Public Welcome

Boat Leaves from Sandy Bay Marina 11a.m.

Light Lunch Provided by River Bann and Lough Neagh Association

Contact email michael@ramsisland.org or telephone 07715368050

Children accompanied by an adult welcome.

Helping the Environment
                Supported by Antrim Borough Council 

On FRIDAY 27th June 2014 the

Rams Island Heritage Project team in Conjunction

with ASDA plan to carry out removal of the invasive species

 plant Himalayan Balsam on Rams Island

  Photos from previous events

Its pretty pink flowers are an attractive sight on the Lough’s edge, but Himalayan Balsam is a menace that needs to be stopped in its tracks. On Rams Island particularly at the northern end it has eradicated many of the native species that had established themselves around the small pond and beyond.

Himalayan Balsam is an annual and grows fresh each year from last years seeds germinating in March/April grows up to 2.5 metres high flowering in July and producing over 1000 seeds in Sept /October from each plant. The seeds can be waterborne and have spread all around the Lough.

A bit like a Busy Lizzie on steroids, this native of the Nepalese mountains escaped from the sedate environment of the garden flowerbed. It may be a wonder of nature, but it is a real threat to the wildlife on Lough Neagh.

Once seed-pods have formed, any disturbance will cause them to burst open, hurling seeds with incredible force that can only be compared to projectile vomiting. If you are unfortunate enough to brush against one at eye-level, it could actually damage your eyesight.

The seeds are spat out by a coiled spring mechanism within the seed-pod, which can be seen dangling from the pod afterwards.

Himalayan Balsam has crowded out native plants such as mint (mentha aquatica) and even young willows, which are important food sources for insects (which are themselves a vital part of the Lough’s food-chain). Our local insects seem to find this brash intruder repulsive, and steer clear of it. Any absence of insects means that the whole ecology of the Lough has been damaged.

One (perhaps the only) piece of good news about the Himalayan balsam is that it is incredibly easy to pull up.

Until the Balsam has been eradicated from Rams Island and hopefully Lough Neagh the chances of seeing rare plants such as Irish Lady's-Tresses Orchid (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) are slim indeed.

The Northern Ireland Environment Service have stated in their Natural Heritage Strategic Plan .

“The native flora and fauna of Ireland has developed in post-glacial times and, as an island situated on the edge of the European continent, the natural range of species is limited. This flora and fauna has been supplemented by many introduced species. Protecting our natural species, and their genetic make-up, from the impacts of invasive species or through contamination of unique gene pools is an important biodiversity objective.”

Our plans for Himalayan Balsam will mean complete eradication from the Island and replanting with native species to recover the habitat lost to this species in the last few years. This will not be any easy task as the timing of removal of the plants is crucial as the factors involved are not to disturb any nesting birds but not to leave it too late until seed pods mature as the pods will explode as the plants are being removed and scatter new seed to germinate the following year. Another problem is that the seed can survive for several years. We expect it to take between three and five years to get the Balsam under any sort of Control.




Lough Neagh Secures Funding from Heritage Lottery Fund

details click here




                           To Help Celebrate                   

World Wetlands Day  

On Rams Island Lough Neagh

Saturday 15th March 2014

 Volunteer Litter Lift and Tour

Boat leaves Sandy Bay 11.00a.m.

Details contact Michael


email michael@ramsisland.org

This event was postponed from 1st of February due to adverse weather

Children accompanied by an adult welcome.

A family day out on Lough Neagh with light refreshments provided by RBLNAC.

Helping the Environment
                Supported by Antrim Borough Council 

pictures  below from previous  events

2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – so the Ramsar Convention chose Wetlands & Agriculture as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014. And what a great theme for Ramsar, given that wetlands are so often intimately linked with agriculture. The slogan Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners for Growth, placing a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors (and the water sector too of course) to work together for the best shared outcomes.

For more info about World Wetlands Day visit www.ramsar.org


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.



A short video about the Woodcarvings on the Island


Woodcarver from Rams Island on Vimeo.


For Older What's New? clips click here


The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Co has produced a guide for the two major Islands of Lough Neagh, Coney Island and Rams Island.
48 pages of information about the flora and fauna, history and a small hint of scandal.

Its available now for £6 plus £1.50p&p


also available for local pickup

email: michael@ramsisland.org


Ram’s Island Heritage Project

Join Us in this project

Ram's Island is located approximately one mile offshore from Lennymore Bay and Sandy Bay on the Eastern Shore of Lough Neagh. Rams is the largest island on Lough Neagh. Lough Neagh was designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site in 1992, 1996 and 1976 respectively.  It has been suggested that Rams was formed as a Glacial Esker. It is nearly one mile long by a quarter of a mile wide at the widest southern end. Notable features of the Island are a round tower (a scheduled ancient monument 58:16, the remains of a Celtic Monastic Settlement about a thousand years old) and the ruins of the O’Neill’s’ nineteenth century summer house. The Island was last permanently inhabited in the 1920s by the Cardwell family who were caretakers for the O’Neill’s. The remains of Cardwell’s harbour, left dry by the lowering of Lough Neagh, can be seen near the ruins of Cardwell’s little house. The Island has quite a number of mature deciduous trees including Oak, Ash, Alder, Willow, Birch, Beech, Sycamore, Lime, Horse Chestnut, and unusually Walnut. There are Yew, Snowdrops, Bluebells, Primrose, Lords and Ladies (Jack in the Pulpit), Wild Mint, Wild Garlic, Lesser Celandine, Ferns and a carpet of Daffodils, depending on the season. Fungi such as Scarlet Elf’s Cap and Jelly Ear can also be found. There are also various Mosses and Lichens. Although overgrown, there are remains of a carriageway along the elevated central spine of the island. There are overgrown paths along the entire length of the Island. Its remote, wilderness and ‘lost in time’ qualities make Ram’s a pleasant and attractive place to visit.



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This site was last updated 15-Dec-2014