Fishing at Lough Brohly, Bonniconlon in Co. Mayo

Lough Brohly is located approximately seven miles south-east of Ballina. It is part of a chain of lakes stretching south-westwards if the widely acclaimed sisters Lough Conn and Lough Cullen. These lakes are Cartron, Ballymore and Carrowkeribly. The Irish name for it is Loch Brothlaighi.

The lake got its name from a famous battle held during the sixteenth century. The battle which took place at Lissardmore near Lough Brohly was between the men of the north and locals from Coolcarney (Bonniconlon and Attymass) It is said that the northmen were surrounded at Lough Brohly and that in desperation they endeavoured to cross the lake but they waded breast deep into the water, and from this the lake got its name, Loch Brollaigh.

The lake was not always as extensive as it is today. Originally it was only 10 acres but today it is four times that size. Part of it was once used to cut turf. There are members of the older community who remember their parents and grandparents spreading turf here. Embankments built the waterworks scheme on the lake helped to increase the concentration of the lake and hence its acreage now, water covering the former sites of the bog.

Trout Fishing on Lough Brohly

In the 1980s the Lough Brohly Development Committee began to assess the potential of the lake for trout fishing and for tourism on a small-scale basis initially. Money left over from funds raised for the building of the Bofield Community Centre went towards Lough Brohly.

A site was bought between the lake and the road and this was developed making car parking as well as a little beach available for the public to use.

In June 1988 the lake was stocked with a thousand brown trout after electrification. It is still stocked annually with brown trout which make for lively fishing at any time through the season. The lake also has rainbow trout, eels, and pike. Boats are also available for hire locally and from the North Western Regional Fisheries Board.

Historical Lough Brohly

Lough Brohly also has a rich ancient and social history attached to it. Lios Ard Mór or the great high fort is situated on a hill overlooking Lough Brohly and borders the townland of Carracastle in the parish of Attymass. It is a Celtic fort measuring 18 yards wide but only the ring shaped structure remains today.

Folklore reveals that a cave leads from it to another local one known as Grey Fort. Close to the fort there is also a cromlech which is believed to be a giant’s burial place and is treated with much local fear and superstition. A priest who was hunted in the penal times is also buried in the area and his final resting place is indicated by a flat stone.