18 May 2022

Local history project wins top award

The online presentation and quiz took place in the summer.

Local history project wins top award

An online presentation and interactive quiz has clinched the County Derry prize at the 2020 National Heritage Awards.

'Horrible Histories of Lough Neagh' received the accolade at a recent awards ceremony, moved online for the first time amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project brought together three heritage projects; Spreading the Words, the Northern Ireland Place-Name Project and Unlocking the Vikings.

It also follows on from the publication of 'A History of Ireland in 100 Words', a book authored by Máire Ní Mhaonaigh, Gregory Toner, and Sharon Arbuthnot, who is behind the presentation.

She said Lough Neagh was the centre of many interesting stories, but that winning the award came as something of a surprise.

“I'm absolutely delighted to have won and really didn’t expect it at all.

“This is part of a larger project called ‘Spreading the Words’. We try to tell the stories behind Irish words and names that people will know, even if they have little or no Irish themselves.

“Lough Neagh is a terrific subject as the name was explained in medieval times as meaning ‘Echu’s Lough’.

“There’s an unforgettable tale about how Echu allowed a gigantic horse to urinate and that formed a well and the well overflowed to form Lough Neagh.

“So, almost inevitably we had a ‘horrible histories’ event! The main feature of the Lough Neagh project was a live, online event for which we got tremendous support from the community.”

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