Loughareema is a distinctive vanishing lake in Northern Ireland located on the coast road, just a few miles from the seaside town of Ballycastle. The lake vanishes from time to time. The water does disappear and reappear within hours. For this reason, the lake is known as the Vanishing Lake.
The lake sits on a leaky chalk bed with a sinkhole that often gets blocked up when peat washes into it. During the rainy season, water from the surrounding landfills builds up the Loughareema depression. As a result, the depression turns out to be a lake. However, the lake vanishes once the blockage is cleared.
The lake drains quickly underground, and a passerby who is not aware of the lake and its disappearing act would never even know it existed in the first place. Loughareema Lake can vanish within a few hours. This phenomenon has made Vanishing Lake one of the most unique lakes in the world.
Interestingly, the road to Ballycastle runs right through the lake, though the modern road sits high enough to avoid flooding. It may be possible that the road engineers who constructed the road were misled by the lake’s trickery. In earlier days, the route was often underwater, occasionally for weeks on end, making crossings precarious.
It was during one particularly bad state of flooding in 1898 that a certain Colonel John Magee McNeille, apprehensive about catching the 3 p.m. train from the town, convinced his coachman to drive a covered wagon pulled by two horses through the lake. When they reached the middle of the lake, the cold water reached the bellies of the horse, and they became nervous.
The coachman used the whip; the horse went rearing up on its back legs and turned to the side. The Colonel, his coachmen, and the two horses soon succumbed to the perfidious, cold waters. Since that fateful day, several people have reported seeing a phantom carriage pulled by two horses and ridden by a military man on the lonely shores of Loughareema.
The road has been raised about the maximum flood level, and just in case, a stone wall has been created on each side of the road as it approaches the Lough so that no one can ever meet the same watery end as Colonel McNeille did on the afternoon of September 30, 1898.
Loughareema - The Vanishing Lake of Northern Ireland
Loughareema – The Vanishing Lake of Northern Ireland
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Vanishing Lake
Vanishing Lake


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