Ashley Park House sits on the shores of Lough Ourna. The name, according to local legend, came about after the local priest saw two farm hands toiling in the fields on the Sabbath. He scolded them and sent them off to Mass with the words, “You’ll never harvest barley in this field again” ringing in their ears. When the farm hands returned from Mass, the field was covered by a lake – Lough Ourna – Gaelic for Lake of the Barley.
There is probably an element of truth in this delightful story as the lake is artesian, fed by constant inflow of clean, fresh water. The lake has been regularly stocked since 1994 with brown trout which have grown substantially as a result of the excellent mayfly rise.
As a result, there is excellent fishing to be had on an unspoilt private lake. Pictured below is the record catch (so far) by Joe Carey with a 9lb brown trout caught in June 1998 for the lunch prepared for the visit of President of Ireland, Mary MacAleese. The visits by the President are rare, the big fish are not!
The lake is made even more special by the abundant wildfowl who take advantage of the sanctuary status of Ashley Park. The lake is well known to bird watchers throughout Ireland as a popular resting place for migratory wildfowl.
Excellent fishing is also available on Lough Derg, a five minute drive away. Serious fishing advice is available in abundance at the local pub – stories as tall as the fish!