2018 Conference

Uk and Ireland Lakes Network Conference 2018


UK and Ireland Lakes Network (UKILN)

The UK and Ireland Lakes Network is an association of people and organisations who have an interest in managing lakes through a whole catchment approach. The body achieves this through the sharing of the experience and expertise.

UKILN brings together all those different organisations, ranging from national regulators to local interest groups and specialist professionals. It covers the whole variety of lake issues from the environment to local community needs, leisure uses and legal requirements through to the more intangible values such as their cultural and spiritual qualities.

2018 Conference

In 2018 the Uk and Ireland Lakes Network will be holding its conference in Northern Ireland in the new Seamus Heaney Homeplace Centre. Over the last number of years, the themes of the UK and Ireland conference have been fairly scientific based including, water quality management and environmental protection.  However, this year 2018 the conference will look at other aspects of Lakes that are equally important and have been less debated at conferences in the past.  These include themes such as health and well-being and the pleasure of being on water and lakes, ancient and present cultural and religious traditions associated with water and lakes and  the sublime/poetic and spiritual aspect of peoples experience on lakes and water.


The new Seamnus Heaney Homeplace centre has just been opened in 2017 in Northern Ireland.  Seamus Heaney was a Nobel laurate and internationally renowned poet whose work often celebrated the Lough Beg landscape in which he was born and brought up.   It would therefore be of relevance and opportune to maybe examine both his work and the importance of lakes and water to the cultural religious and spiritual aspects of our lives.


The theme of the conference will  be “ The Legacy of Lakes”

Speakers and potential speaker topics will therefore include:

  • The poetry and sublime inspiration of lakes and water. (Wordsworth, Heaney, Yeats).
  • The healing power of water and Lakes.
  • The importance of water and lakes to ancient people. (The archaeology of lakes as food sources, sanctuaries and places of worship and habitation.)
  • The language and names of places of Loughs and Lakes. (How places around lakeshores are called and interpreted and linked to landscape)
  • The cultural legacy and traditions stemming from lakes and associated potential tourism products eg traditional fishing boats, religious traditions, songs and ballads of lakes, heritage buildings left on shores
  • Living on water both past and present (Sustainable living projects on water and there environmental and well-being benefits)
  • An ecoservices approach to Lakes. What do we mean by a sustainable lake and what are the health, social and economic benefits ?


  • Increase awareness of importance between human well-being and lakes
  • Discussion of sustainable future of lakes and their health, economic and social well-being benefits
  • Ecoservices approach to lake management and on what do we mean by a sustainable lake?
  • Improved understanding of rich ancient built and archaeological heritage associated with lakes and lessons to learn about future protection
  • The poetic inspiration and sublime nature of lakes and water and links to potential tourism products and best practice
  • Identification of the present value of cultural traditions and customs from living and working on or by lakes.
  • Increased understanding of the rich legacy of Irish and UK Lakes, Loughs, Lochs and Llyns


Dates and Timeline

Monday 21st May 2018


2pm – 5pm      Tour of Heaney Country –  the starting point of the tour is Seamus Heaney Homeplace 45 Main Street, Bellaghy.  BT45 8HT


You will be taken on a guided tour around Heaney Country by Gerry Darby, you will visit some of the sites referred to in his writing, hear poetry recitals and gain an understanding of his interpretation of the landscape.  Please bring appropriate outdoor wear in case of inclement weather.  Following the tour, the bus will drop you off at your hotel (Ardtara Country House) to check in


8pm                 Conference Dinner at Ardtara Country House



Tuesday 22nd May 2018


9am                 Bus will depart Ardtara Country House Hotel sharp


9.30am            Registration, tea & coffee


10am               Conference opened by Gerry Darby, Chairperson, UKILN


10.30am          Speaker 1


11.00am          Speaker 2


11.30am          tea & coffee break


12noon            Speaker 3


12.30pm          Speaker 4


1.00pm            Lunch


2.00pm            Speaker 5


2.30pm            Speaker 6


3.00pm            tea & coffee break


3.30pm            conference summary & close


4pm                 Transport to Belfast International Airport & Belfast City Airport



Getting there

By Car

The conference venue is Seamus Heaney Homeplace

45 Main Street, Bellaghy.  BT45 8HT

Click here for Google Map


The Conference dinner venue / Hotel is

8 Gorteade Road, Upperlands.  BT46 5SA

Click here for Google Map


By Air

The nearest airport is Belfast International Airport, Belfast City Airport is slightly further away.  Transfers will be provided for delegates arriving in to Belfast City & Belfast International Airport at specified times, return transport will also be provided after the conference.  You will need to email info@discoverloughneagh.com to book this transport.  Please provide details of which airport you are arriving in to, your flight number and arrival / departure time.  Please also specify where you are staying.



You are advised to book your accommodation as early as possible, there are only a limited number of rooms available.  The recommended accommodation is Ardtara Country House Hotel  8 Gorteade Road, Upperlands.  BT46 5SA


The following delegate rate has been agreed:

B&B single occupancy £99

B&B twin occupancy £139

Please telephone to book 028 7964 4490 – this delegate rate cannot be booked online, you will need to quote UK & Ireland Lakes Network


If Ardtara is fully booked, the nearest hotel is Walsh’s Hotel, Maghera https://www.walshshotel.com/  There are no special delegate rates


Dietary Requirements

Please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements

For further information, please contact:


Aaron or Eimear

Lough Neagh Partnership

Unit 3 The Marina Centre

135a Shore Road


BT45 6JA

Tel: 028 7941 7941


 Book Now:

Conference Only – £50.00

Conference & Tour – £50.00

Conference, Tour & Dinner – £75.00

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