Skating on Ballysaggart (Newsview)

Skating on Ballysaggart (Newsview)

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Lough Neagh




Digitised as part of the BFI's Unlocking Film Heritage project



black and white


01min 58sec




British Film Institute, UTV

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The frozen waters of Dungannon's 'Black Lough' call to the adventurous and the ridiculous in this extraordinary video. Dogs, dancers and the daring alike make the most of the freak conditions, with local man PG McQuaid even testing the ice in his Mini!

Beginning just after Christmas 1962, 'The Big Freeze' was the toughest winter Northern Ireland ever had to deal with – with an average temperature across the whole season of 1.51°C. And it was no mere icy snap, the freeze lasted days, then weeks, hitting -15 degrees Celsius in late-January.This material is Courtesy of the UTV Archive.


Skating parties in Northern Ireland have a delightful history. In 1895 the Belfast Newsletter reported on the antics that took place on Lough Neagh ‘this vast sheet of water in the clutches of King Frost’. The Great Northern Railway even ran special skaters’ trains to bring crowds from as far as Belfast. People could enjoy some poitín (Irish moonshine) to take a nip against the cold. And for those not ready to go home, a torch lit procession invited them to skate into the hours of darkness. This material is Courtesy of the UTV Archive.



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