River to Lough Festival is back again for the fourth time. It is a hugely popular, award winning event, showcasing the unique cultural heritage of Lough Neagh & Its Waterways, celebrating the ancient fishing tradition associated with the area.

River to Lough Festival has gained a reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s most unique Food Festivals.  The festival which has celebrated the world renowned Lough Neagh Eel, will now also honour Lough Neagh Pollan, which has recently been awarded a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the EU Commission

This year’s festival programme will centre around Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative. Their new Lough Neagh Fisheries Visitor Centre will be open for business and the factory will be home to an array of activities associated with fishing on Lough Neagh, with particular emphasis on pollan. 

Pollan are unique to Ireland and found only in 5 loughs, of which Lough Neagh is the only commercial source. You can follow the pollan life cycle trail, find out what they eat, where they breed and what makes them so special. You will meet the fishermen and see their traditional, sustainable methods for fishing for pollan and demonstrations on the preparation and processing of pollan.  Chat with the scientists who will be on hand to show you many fascinating creatures from the lough, including live species in aquariums.

The Food Pavilion will be a treasure trove of local delicacies for you to try and buy. Watch Ruairidh from North Coast Smokehouse prepare and hot smoke pollan.

Cookery demonstrations by Paula McIntyre and other local chefs will be scheduled throughout the day at The Elk Complex and O’Neill Arms Hotel.   They will be using Lough Neagh Pollan, other fish from the lough and a range of local ingredients which will make your mouth water.  These venues will offer the delicious meals as part of the menu choices on the day.

Arts and crafts are an important feature of traditional fishing on Lough Neagh so The Lock Keepers Cottage will host a range of food and craft demonstrations within their visitor centre and cafe. While there, you can watch or participate in the canoe taster sessions from Toome Canal jetty or enjoy a walk up the Canal Walk and hop on a rib boat for a short cruise up the Lower River Bann and into Lough Neagh.

This is the ultimate Food Festival, with a twist!

Thanks to our Festival Sponsors:

Taste the Island logo


Enkalon logo CMYK



Lough Neagh Partnership logo
Mid Ulster A&N