F A Q                          


 Rams Island Heritage Project  Supported By


The Rams Island Heritage Project is an undertaking of the River Bann and Lough Neagh Association Company (RBLNAC).

Whats New
Interpretive Centre
Island Warrior
Photo Galleries
Contact Us


Ramís Island Heritage Project


Table of Contents

  1. Where is Rams Island ... ?
  2. What designations apply to Rams Island ... ?
  3. Who owns Rams Island ... ?
  4. How can I visit Rams Island ... ?
  5. Who is the River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company... ?
  6. What is The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company... ?
  7. How can I help ... ?
  8. What is the long term vision for Rams Island ... ?
  9. How are the Projects Funded... ?
  10. How were the rules for the Island made... ?
  11. Which Invasive Species are on Rams Island... ?
  12. What is being done about Invasive Species  on Rams Island ... ?
  13. What is the barge moored at the Island used for ... ?
  14. How can I camp on Rams Island ... ?
  15. How can I make a suggestion or a complaint ... ?

Where is Rams Island  ... ?

Rams Island is located approximately just over one mile offshore from Lennymore Bay and Sandy Bay on the Eastern Shore of Lough Neagh.

Back to Top

What designations apply to Rams Island ... ?

Rams Island enjoys the designations of Lough Neagh which was designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site in 1992, 1996 and 1976 respectively.

Back to Top

Who owns Rams Island  ... ?

Lord O'Neill of Shanes Castle has owned Rams Island since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Rams Island is private property. Lord O'Neill has leased the Island for thirty years to the River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company. Lord O'Neill is a founder member and patron of the Association.
Back to Top

How can I visit Rams Island  ... ?

The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association operate a licensed passenger vessel from Sandy Bay during the summer months at weekends on a demand basis and all year round for special interest groups who must be wardened during the nesting season (March to June inclusive) see contact us. Abhainn Cruises organises excursions to the Island as does ABC Council . Anyone with their own vessel is welcome to visit all year round. The Association in common with other wildlife reserves have a strict no dogs policy except for trained working dogs (guide dogs etc.).  Anyone wishing to camp over or visit with a group please contact us .
Back to Top

Who is The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company ... ?

RBLNA is a voluntary body of waterways enthusiasts with members whose interests are boating, natural and built heritage, conservation, bird watching, wildlife, history, archaeology and fishing. The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company belongs to the members. The Company has a board of directors who oversee the projects that the Company undertakes. The  projects are usually managed by a project manager reporting to the directors. RBLNAC has no paid staff, only volunteers who donate their time for free.

Back to Top

What is The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company... ?

The River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company is private company limited by guarantee NI 053517. It is has had Charitable Status under HM Revenue and Customs no XT3998 since July 2007. The Company is a registered Charity Northern Ireland Charity number: NIC102397

 Charities Commission website. http://www.charitycommissionni.org.uk/

Back to Top

How can I help ... ?

The Association is always looking for volunteers to help with various projects on Rams Island, large and small. Contact the project manager michael@ramsisland.org  (07715368050) for further details.

 Back to Top

What is the long term vision for Rams Island ... ?

The Island, its buildings and its wildlife have suffered over the years from various factors ( mainly influenced by man ) including the introduction of non native invasive species and of course the ravages of time. There has been no one caring for the Island for quite a long time.

 To restore and care for the natural and built heritage of Rams Island.
 To restore safe controlled access for all including disabled to Rams Island.
 To educate all about the diverse natural and built heritage of Rams Island and the Lough Neagh Wetlands.

 These three aims will take a long time to achieve but with all the volunteers working on the Island they are slowly becoming reality.

 Back to Top

How are the Projects Funded ... ?

The Association has received funding for Capital Projects from Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Ulster Garden Villages and the sales of the books produced by the Association. We have also received donations from the general public. Our running costs have been met by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Association Events, Camping and revenue earned by the Island Warrior. The Department for Communities have been a great help during the Covid Crisis. 

 Back to Top

How were the rules for the Island made... ?

To enable the Association to run the Island as efficiently and effectively as possible within the parameters of the various designations listed at question no 2 a consultant was employed by the Association to draw up a Conservation Management Plan for Rams Island. The consultant held a series of meetings with the various stakeholders, the three immediate Councils, (Antrim, Craigavon and Lisburn), NIEA, Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees, the Lough Neagh Partnership, The River Bann and Lough Neagh Association and Lord O'Neill. A draft plan was produced for further discussion and agreement. Once agreed this plan then received consent from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency which effectively gives legal agreement by the Agency for all the prescriptions in the plan. The majority of the rules and prescriptions in the plan do not affect the general public.

 Back to Top

Which Invasive Species are on Rams Island ... ?

The Association has identified in conjunction with various experts the following non native Invasive Species  on Rams Island

Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera click here for further information
Spanish Bluebells Hyacinthoides hispanica

Few Flowered Garlic Allium paradoxum

New Zealand flatworm Arthurdendyus triangulatus

Sycamore   Acer pseudoplatanus

Also before a massive eradication programme we had the Brown Rat  Rattus norvegicus which now appears to be extinct on Rams Island

Another problem species of concern are the Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus which cause problems with young seedlings of native trees but unfortunately they seem to dislike young Sycamore. Rabbits do not normally live in a woodland.

Fortunately to date no Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum or Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica have been found on the Island. Zebra Mussels Dreissena polymorpha have found near the Island. These species are becoming quite prolific on Lough Neagh.

 Back to Top

What is being done about Invasive Species  on Rams Island ... ?

The Association runs various publicised events throughout the year such as balsam bashes during the summer months. The Association also spent a massive amount of volunteer time and money on the Rat eradication programme. We are currently conducting a survey of Spanish Bluebells and Sycamores on the Island. We have consent from NIEA to remove these species and replace with native species. The Island's wardens regularly patrol looking for signs of rat reinfestation and for Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed.

 Back to Top

What is the barge moored at the Island used for ... ?

It was originally thought to provide an interpretive centre on the Island to educate visitors but following discussions with E.H.S, our own research and because of possible environmental impacts and prohibitive costs it was decided to use a floating facility aboard a barge moored at the Island.

The barge is used as a Gateway for visitors to the Island not only in the symbolic sense but groups of visitors are usually treated to hot drinks aboard the barge as they learn about the environment of Rams Island.  The barge is the recommended first port of call for visitors to learn about the various interests the Island has to offer the visitor and also to advise visitors about any negative impacts they could inadvertently cause to the Island whilst visiting. The barge also has a disabled access toilet. The barge  serves as a wet weather shelter for visitors waiting to board the ferry. It is also  used  as a workshop for special interest groups (Fungus/Bat/Birding groups etc).

The barge (JK16) an ex John Kelly coal barge was originally used to transport imported coal along the Lagan from the Belfast Coal Quays to the Gas Works in Belfast. It was subsequently sold to the sand trade on Lough Neagh and was last used by Readymix at Toome Bay. Replaced by larger barges JK 16 was donated to the Rams Island Heritage Project by Readymix in 2004.

The barge is now the cornerstone for volunteers who come to Island to work at the various environmental restoration projects that are planned/in progress (native tree planting, path restoration, habitat creation, invasive species management etc.) Up to thirty volunteers have dined aboard the barge thanks to the volunteers who staff the galley.

Local community groups who work on the Island with us  participate in volunteering weekends on the Island and the barge plays a key role in these activities as a facility for volunteers who spend a weekend working on the Island. The barge also acts as a first aid post and wardens office. The barge is also used by the wardens for overnight stays. The barge is not a public toilet with fixed opening times but visiting boaters are welcome to use the toilets aboard the barge when RBLNAC volunteers are on the Island. Also the kettle is usually on the boil.

 Back to Top

How can I camp on Rams Island ... ?

There are two methods for access to camping on Rams Island. You can come as a passenger aboard the Island Warrior  or travel on your own boat and moor at the jetty. Please check weather forecast if you intend mooring at the jetty. We do not allow drop-offs for campers except by arrangement. Either way you'll need to make a booking by text 07715368050 phone call or email michael@ramsisland.org. Costs for camping are £15 per adult per night reducing to £10 for the second night if applicable. This includes boat fares. Under 16s accompanied by an adult half price. Travel on your own boat we charge £12 per night per tent

Booking Essential

 Back to Top


How can I make a suggestion, general enquiry, or a complaint ... ?

The Association can be contacted by 

Contact telephone 07715368050

email wardens warden@ramsisland.org

email chairman chairman@ramsisland.org

email secretary secretary@ramsisland.org

General enquiries to Wardens, Suggestions and Complaints to Secretary

Back to Top

Copyright © 2011  River Bann & Lough Neagh Association Company. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13-Jun-2021.


RBLNAC is a recognised charity NIC102397 and company limited by guarantee  NI 53517

Home | Camping | Media | Whats New | Interpretive Centre | Visitors | F A Q | Island Warrior | Events | Biodiversity | History | Photo Galleries | Mission | Volunteers | Ballinderry | Links | Contact Us

This site was last updated 13-Jun-2021