The lake's name derives from the Druid of Nuadha of the Silver Arm, known as Ce'. The druid was said to be the king of the ancient Tuatha de Danann. Legend has it that he was drowned when the lake's waters erupted from the earth. In the 800-acre park, which surrounds Lough key, ring forts are perhaps the oldest evidence of habitation. Five ring forts are contained within the park itself and many more can be seen in adjacent fields and woods. Medieval ruins are scattered among the many tiny islands dotted through Lough Key. The remains of a Franciscan Priory can be seen on Church Island and Castle Island has traces of the once mighty homestead of the Mc Greevy and Mc Dermot Clan. The McDermots ruled this area until the 17th century when it was granted to the King family under the Cromwellian settlement. Currently a folly castle built in the early 19th century by the King family stands on the island. The area surrounding the lake is significant in medieval Irish literature and legend. Starting around 1000 AD, the Annals of Boyle were compiled on Trinity Island, and from 1253 to 1590 the Annals of Lough Key continued from where the Boyle annals ended. Lough Key was also the site for the legend of Una Bhαin. Famed harpist Turlough O'Carolan is buried at Kilronan, three miles (5 km) to the north of the lake.
Sir Cecil Stafford-King-Harman (18951987), second (and last) Baronet of Rockingham, ensured that the land went back to the people of Ireland through the Irish Land Commission, who subdivided the pasture land into several farms of approximately 50 acres (20 ha) and granted these to local people. An extensive area around the then-derelict Rockingham house became the Forest Park and this was looked after by the Department of Forestry. It is currently in the care of Coillte, a semi-state body.
In the summer you can rent a rowing boat and row out to the islands. The Castle Island is approximately a 10-minute row from the Rockingham Harbour and a 20-minute row to Trinity Island.
Boat hire opening hours: 11:00-18:00
Or you can enjoy the beauty, tranquility and history of Lough Key, on board of 40-seater boat "The Trinity". These tours are available on the hour during the summer season, which starts the last week June until the last week of August. Trinity boat tours in the summer season: 13:30, 15:00, 16:30 subject to number of passengers.
For more details see "Useful links".
The landscaped caravan and camping park at Lough Key is set within mixed woodland and provides pitches for 52 touring caravans with a separate area for tents. A residents service and reception building provides a recreation room, toilets, showers and laundrette with an adjacent outdoor play area for children. The caravan and camping park is open from 15th April to 4th September 2011 and 22nd to 31st of October 2011.
Boat hire: +353 (0) 71 966 7037, +353 (0) 86 8142424
More about Irish Castles you will find HERE.
There is no charge for exploring the many trails throughout the Park and Estate. Car parking fee.
boats for hire
camping and caravan park
forest canopy walkway
children's play areas
Tel.: +353 (0) 71 967 3122
Ballinafad Castle Ruins within 7.9 km
Ballindoon Dominican Friary / Abbey within 11.9 km
Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nathy, Roman Catholic, Ballaghaderreen within 24.6 km
Clonalis House within 29.8 km
Cloonshanville Dominican Priory of the Holy Cross, Frenchpark within 17.5 km
Creevelea Franciscan Friary Abbey, Dromahair within 27.3 km
Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre, Tulsk within 23.5 km
Drumanone Dolmen within 8.2 km
Elphin Windmill within 15.4 km
Strokestown Park House, Garden and Famine Museum within 25.2 km
Trinity Island Premonstratensian / Augustinian Priory / Abbey, Lough Key within 1.4 km
Tulsk Dominican Priory / Abbey within 23.5 km