Lack School - 1863 to 1975

A History of the School and its Pupils
by James Hehir


16. Music and Leisure

(b) Leisure

Burren Lake (Lough Lómain)

Burren Lake

Burren Lake 1985

Burren Lake is located in the western side of the townland of Burren. It is recorded in the maps of the area as Lough Lómain. This was probably its local name before the anglicisation of the local place names, when it was changed to Burren Lake.

In times when the Lack school authorities adopted a relaxed approach to control, some of the senior male pupils had their lunch on the lakeshore. It was an enjoyable relaxing break from the stress of the classroom. It is likely to have involved a flexible attitude to the length of the lunch break, which was scheduled for half an hour, given the time taken in travelling to and from the lake.

The lake was one of the few sources of attraction in the area. Locals, mainly from Tonlegee, assembled there on fine Sunday afternoons throughout the Summer. The southern lakeshore was the more popular location for talk and relaxation. Bathing and swimming were generally not practised, as the lake was known to be dangerous. It had claimed two lives in the late 19th century - a coal miner and his wife. A few locals fished the lake from time to time. They included Colonel Henn from Paradise and Pappy Enright from Ardnagla.

In times of hard frost the lake froze over. When the frost was particularly severe the ice increased to many inches in thickness and the youth from the area took to ice skating on the Sunday afternoons. One such ice skater says that he recalled 20 to 30 people at a time, ice skating on the lake. The last time the lake froze over with thick ice was in the Winter of 1962/63 when I walked across it much to the horror of my parents.

During the second half of the 20th century the size of the lake diminished due to the vigorous growth of the surrounding bog and water lilies into its territory. A small pool is all that remains.

The Crahera Spa

The spa, located on the farm of Ambrose O'Dea in Crahera, was a great attraction. It consisted of a well containing water with a strong mineral content. It attracted large crowds on the Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. They drank large quantities of the water from the well and took supplies home. Smaller attendances were common on the fine evenings. It was usual for the patrons to dance a few sets on these visits. The attendance levels declined through the 1960's. I understand the spa well no longer exists, having been removed during land reclamation in the area some years ago.

Its former location is identified in the map of Crahera Bog at 15(b).