– Located a few miles from the town of Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, Lake Loughareema (Loch an Rith Amach) is unusual because it sometimes vanishes and then later re-appears.
To get a good view of the vanishing lake you have to be there at just the right moment. Lake Loughareema’s sudden disappearance has resulted in a number of legends trying to explain its odd behavior, but there is a scientific explanation why the lake is sometimes visible and not.
The reason why the lake sporadically appears and disappears has to do with the area’s rock structure.
The vanishing lake sits on a leaky chalk-bed, a topographical feature called the ‘chalk ‘plug hole’. Occasionally, the hole gets jammed with peat, causing the depression to fill with water, which is when the lake is visible to all.
When the plug clears, all the water in the lake drains underground at a rapid rate, and when someone passes the place he or she could not even suspect there is a lake at the site because the lake is almost completely devoid of water. All that is left is a small stream and lots of mud.
Many years ago this place was dangerous. The road to Ballycastle runs right through the lake, and at one point it used to be extremely unsafe to cross, flooded for weeks on end.
To deal with the problem, a modern road was built but at an elevation as high as maximum water level, to avoid flooding. A stone wall has also been erected on either side of the road.
In 1898, Colonel John Magee McNeille, was rushing to catch a train from Ballycastle. He was in such a hurry that he misjudged the depth of the lake’s waters and he along with his coachman and horses drowned.
Today there is still a local legend alive. It warns visitors that on nights when the lake is full, a phantom coach and its passengers haunt the lake shores to this very day.