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River To Lough Festival Basks In Lavish Surroundings At Antrim Castle Gardens

07 June 2016

Councillor Thomas Hogg, outgoing Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, is joined by the organisers of the River to Lough Festival to celebrate it's relocation to the lavish surroundings of Antrim Castle Gardens.  Eimear Kearney (Marketing Officer, Lough Neagh Partnership), Charlie Monaghan (Manager, Lough Neagh Partnership), Shane O’Neill (Vice Cha​ir​man of Lough Neagh Partnership) and Cathy Chauhan (Product Development & Marketing Manager, Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society) are excited to be hosting the River to Lough Festival at Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday 2 July.  Now in its third year the festival is a celebration of the world renowned delicacy aimed at families and foodies.


The hugely popular River to Lough Festival has become a firm favourite in the family festivals calendar over the past couple of years and, to meet demand, this year River to Lough is setting up home in the lavish surroundings of Antrim Castle Gardens on Saturday 2 July.

The change of venue for the festival which celebrates the tradition of eel fishing and now in its third year, will enable organisers to welcome three times more visitors to River to Lough to celebrate Lough Neagh Eel because eels are tasty.

Lough Neagh Eels have been awarded for their heritage, tradition and authenticity and this year’s festival will bring to an end the inaugural ‘Eel-Eat’ restaurant week which will see 40 restaurants across Northern Ireland celebrate Lough Neagh Eel from Saturday 25 June. 

Organisers at Lough Neagh & Its Waterways took the decision to grow the festival beyond Toome’s eel fishery following last year’s sell out event and they have been overwhelmed by the response from the public already to the festival which has gained popularity as one of Northern Ireland’s most unique food festivals.

Launching the event with outgoing Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council, Councillor Thomas Hogg, Eimear Kearney of Lough Neagh Partnership, said:  “To meet visitor demand we’re taking over the sumptuous Antrim Castle Gardens to provide capacity for up to 10,000 this year.  It’s the perfect location as it’s extremely accessible and is situated right on the river and mouth of Lough Neagh.

“With the added space we’re able to provide lots more entertainment for the whole family including cookery demonstrations, eel tastings and a teddy bear’s picnic. 

“River to Lough will be the grand finale of Eel-Eat, the first ever dedicated week long celebration of Lough Neagh Eel which will take place in restaurants across Northern Ireland.”

Foodies and families will be able to descend on Antrim Castle Gardens from 12noon until 5.00pm on Saturday 2 July.  River to Lough Festival admission is priced at adults £2.00, children £1.00.

The River to Lough Festival programme includes cookery demonstrations in the Food Theatre, a cookery school with Paula McIntyre priced from £20.00 and a traditional eel supper in the pop-up restaurant priced from £5.00 (advance booking is recommended ); an eel heritage exhibition and fishermen story-telling, live entertainment, a craft and artisan food market, line demonstrations and a teddy bear’s picnic!

For more information about the festival visit www.rivertolough.co.uk or www.facebook.com/rivertoloughfestival