Main image

On Saturday 28th September, the River to Lough Festival returned to Toomebridge. The hugely popular food festival celebrated the recent award of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for Lough Neagh Pollan and showcased the unique cultural heritage of fishing on Lough Neagh. So we were delighted to host the main event at Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative.


Lough Neagh Pollan is a totally unique species to Ireland and only commercially available from Lough Neagh.

The event featured live pollan in aquaria as part of the lifecycle trail. It was a real treat for visitors to see pollan up close and find out all about the species, the habitat where they live, the traditional fishing methods and the food culture surrounding pollan and other Lough Neagh fish.


Lough Neagh Fishermen were at hand to show visitors the traditional methods of catching Lough Neagh Pollan and other fish.  Clearing the nets and primary processing of fish were demonstrated throughout the day.



Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) scientists had an array of specimens, equipment and samples on show to demonstrate how their technology and research help in the monitoring of freshwater fisheries.


Ruairidh from North Coast Smokehouse provided demonstrations and tasters of Smoked Lough Neagh Pollan.




We were so fortunate to have a great range of NI food producers at the event, with just a few pictured above.  Please click HERE for more details.


Paula McIntyre championed the cookery demos along with local chefs from The Elk Bistro & O’Neill Arms hotel.  You can check some of the recipes from the day on the link below.

River to Lough Festival Recipes


All visitors to the event where offered a Fried Fish Warehouse battered pollan taster as part of the event activities…. the verdict, delicious!


For the first time at the River to Lough festival, visitors got the opportunity to take to the waterways on paddle boats, canoes or a boat trip.

Check out the photos from throughout the day by clicking through to the Facebook page albums or the River To Lough website 



The River to Lough Festival was supported by:
Daera through the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme,
Heritage Fund through the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership,
Waterways Ireland,
Tourism NI – Taste the Island Events Scheme.


Taste the Island is a three month celebration of our food and drink, which aims to put a sustained focus on our wonderful foodie experiences.


To find out more about what’s happening, future tours and events in the area, visit
Lough Neagh Tours
Discover Lough Neagh
Lough Neagh Fisheries Visitor Centre