Lady's Island Lake
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|Lady's Island Lake
The lake is technically a back-barrier seepage lagoon, one of only two in Ireland. The other is nearby Tacumshin Lake (Irish: Loch Theach Cuimsin). The lake has no outlet, but is separated from the Atlantic Ocean at the southern end by a sand and gravel bar 200 m wide. Salt water seeps through the barrier, while fresh water flows into the lake from run-off from the land around the lake. This means that the lake is neither fresh nor salt water but somewhere in between. Every so often, storms break through the sandbar and salt water flows in from the sea, increasing the salt levels considerably. Wildlife in the lake must therefore be able to cope with variable levels of salinity.
The lake is an important breeding ground for terns. It is estimated that the lake is home to over 1,200 breeding pairs of Sandwich Terns and, more importantly, to 76 breeding pairs of the rare Roseate Tern.
At the north end of the lake is the village of Our Lady's Island. The 'island' itself has been joined to the mainland by a causeway, so it is actually a peninsula sticking out into the lake from the village. On the peninsula are a castle, a leaning tower, church ruins and a graveyard. The leaning tower is a small stone tower which was built on unstable ground and now leans at an angle. The space in front of the castle is a pilgrimage site associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary: the pilgrimage takes place in August each year, when believers come from all over Ireland to gather and pray.