Oxford Island nature reserve: the Discovery Centre and the exhibition about Lough Neagh

Tired of complaining of cold and rain, Sunday I took the lead on the issue and I decided that, whatever would have been the weather, we were going to Oxford Island, the nature reserve on Lough Neagh southern shore, which is close to Lurgan.

We took a taxi and in about 15 minutes we arrived in the middle of the green and blue of Oxford Island.

oxford islandlogoThe taxi left us at the Discovery Centre:

discovery centre lough neaghlogo…and we thought to start our day with a coffee at the bar of the building, with a wonderful view:

breakfastlRight after breakfast we went to the info point to search for a map (we collected like a million to be sure to not loose even a little piece of the path) and from there they suggested to visit the exhibition which was going on in the inside:

the living lough exhibitionIt’s an exhibition dedicated to the history and the natural marvels of Lough Neagh:

I liked especially the part dedicated to the Corn Dollies and the Countryman’s Favours:

intreccilThe Corn Dollies are handcrafts linked to the european pagan culture; in the past was belief that the Spirit of the Corn was living in the fields and that so the harvest was leaving him without a home. People were thinking that he was retreating from the oncoming reapers and taking refuge on the last corn. Exactly these were the ones from which were made the Corn Dollies, then preserved during all winter and put back again in the fields in spring, so the Spirit of the Corn was free again.

Some of the handcrafts in the photo are Countryman’s Favours: a man was collecting the last corn from the field, generally three, and, after he plaited them, he was gifting them to his loved one; if the next time he was seeing her she was wearing the favour on her heart, his love was reciprocated.

In the middle of the exhibition there was even a part dedicated to viking clothes, with a sign telling to try them on: Stevie couldn’t miss this precious occasion 😛

After taking the photos we found out that his seeming “an angry baker” (cit.) was because he put on female clothes 🙂

After visiting the exhibition we decided to go still a bit around the Discovery Centre.

We found out that the under the roof the building is full of birds’ nests. You don’t believe it? Here is the proof:

birds nestslogo Then we took some photos around, enjoying the beautiful panorama by the lake…

…it is so big that in some moments you could think it’s a sea:

lough neaghlogoAt this point, map (one of the many) in the hands, we decided to start our walk; but this is the story you’ll find in the next post 😉


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