The first ever River to Lough Festival took place at Toome Eel Fishery on Saturday 27th September with organisers hailing the success of the event.
It is estimated that over 2,500 people attended the event which saw live cookery demonstrations lead by celebrity chef Paula McIntyre.
The world-renowned Lough Neagh Eel was the dish of the day with local chefs also taking part in the show.
They included Michael Lennon and Stuart Duckett from the White River House Hotel in Toome, Dean Coppard of Uluru Bistro in Armagh and Dolan Heaney of Bryson’s in Magherafelt. The audience enjoyed delicious samples offered by the chefs after each of the demonstrations and free recipe cards to test their culinary skills for when they got home.
To complement the cooking at the festival, a range of market stalls selling delicious artisan food products were also showcased within the fishery.
One of the most popular activities during the festival was the in depth tour of the fishery where people met the fishermen of Lough Neagh and heard about the epic migration of silver eels. Eel tanks were also displayed during the guided tours and many of the children enjoyed the chance of seeing the eels up close.
The festival was organised in association with Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative.
Pat Close Chairman and CEO of The Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative said: “The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the Lough Neagh Eel, together with its recently designated Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) status. We wanted to highlight the work of the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative and the work of the fishermen on the Lough.
“We are delighted that so many people took the time to come to the festival and we hope everyone enjoyed hearing about the work of the fishery and also that they got to taste some of the delicious eel dishes created by our invited chefs.”
The festival committee would like to thank the event funders; Magherafelt District Council, DARD Regional Food Programme & Waterways Ireland, without their assistance it would not have been possible to run the event.
To see recipes, event video & photography from the event, please check our Facebook page: River to Lough Festival