Lough Neagh in the Belfast Blitz

During the Second World War, the tranquil waters of Lough Neagh in mid-Ulster became a training ground for troops and the scene of military plane crashes.

In the evening, two of us went up to Lough Neagh. It was lovely there, peace and quiet. Just the lapping of the waves on the shore, and the fishermen had their nets drying in the sun. There were purple mountains standing out far beyond the lough, and the fishermen were talking away.

Then a motorboat came chugging across from nowhere and the noise of its engine seemed very strange. The men steered her with oars across the shallow water.

“Och yes,” they said, “it’s funny to think we’re at war.”

“And Hitler is a troublesome bhoy,” said another.

And so, we left them and drove back to Belfast.