Loughareema is a distinctive lake in Northern Ireland located on the coast road, just a few miles from the seaside town of Ballycastle, the lake is vanishes from time to time. The water does disappear and reappear within hours. For this reason, the lake is known as the Vanishing Lake. The lake sits on a leaky chalk-bed with a sinkhole that often gets blocked up when peat washes into it. During the rainy season, water from surrounding land fills up the Loughareema depression. As a result, the depression turns out to be a lake. Though, the lake vanishes once the blockage is cleared. The lake drains quickly underground and a passerby who is not aware of the lake and its disappearing act would never even know it existed in the first place. The Loughareema Lake can vanish within just few hours of time. This phenomenon has made the Vanishing Lake one of the unique lakes in the world.
Interestingly, the road to Ballycastle runs right through the lake, though the modern road sits high enough to avoid flooding. It may be possible that the road engineers who constructed the road were misled by the lake’s trickery. In earlier days the route was often under water, occasionally for weeks on end, making crossing precarious. It was during one particularly bad state of flooding in 1898, a certain Colonel John Magee McNeille, apprehensive to catch the 3 pm train from the town, convinced his coachman to drive a covered wagon pulled by two horses through the lake.
When they reached the middle of the lake, the cold water reached the bellies of the horse that became nervous. The coachman used the whip; the horse went rearing up on its back legs and turned to the side. The Colonel, his coachmen and the two horses soon succumbed to the perfidious, cold waters. Since then fateful day several people have reported seeing a phantom carriage pulled by two horses and ridden by a military man on the lonely shores of Loughareema. The road has been raised about the maximum flood level and just in case, a stone wall has been created on each side of the road as it approaches the Lough so that no-one can ever meets the same watery end as Colonel McNeille did on the afternoon of 30 September 1898.