County Fermanagh Holiday Guide
In fact, the county is around one-third water. Famous for the beauty of its shimmering lakes, rivers and loughs brimming with trout and pike, and an incredible maze of waterways perfect for exploring by boat – either motorised or driven by paddle power – visitors can spend countless relaxing days marvelling at County Fermanagh’s natural attractions.
Loughs to Remember
At the heart of County Fermanagh lies Lough Erne. A massive lake complex surrounded by gorgeous countryside, it has had a huge part to play in Fermanagh’s history.
Most visitors are attracted to the lower lough, a vast expanse of water that is home to more than 90 islands. Early settlers were well protected by the landscape and the islands and shoreline are littered with important early religious sites. In medieval times the lough became an important part of the pilgrimage route to Station Island across the border in County Donegal.
White Island, probably the lough’s most haunting monastic site, is home to the ruins of a small 12th century church while the remains of an Augustinian monastery can be found on Devenish Island. Boa Island is renowned for its spooky graveyard where you’ll find the famous Janus Stone, a pagan figure dating back some 2,000 years.
The upper lough is made up of islands, inlets, reed-covered bays and tranquil waterways that are rich in bird life. Ireland’s biggest heronry can be found on the island of Inishfendra, close to the Crom Estate, the largest area of natural woodland in Northern Ireland.
Located on the shores of Lough Erne, the thriving little village of Belleek is famous all over the world for its pottery. Founded in 1857 to provide work in the wake of the Potato Famine, beautiful pieces of Parian china are produced from an imposing Georgian-style building. There is a visitor centre with a small museum, restaurant and showroom and there are regular guided tours of the pottery works.
A Perfect Base
The bustling county town of Enniskillen, perched among the waterways linking Upper and Lower Lough Erne, is a great place to base yourself for exploring Fermanagh.
The town, famous for helping educate writers Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, has an impressive mile-long main street, a striking castle that plays host to the Fermanagh County Museum, and an abundance of shops, pubs and restaurants.
Out and About
As well as its beautiful loughs, waterways and islands, County Fermanagh has plenty of land-based attractions.
Highlights include Castle Coole, a fabulous Palladian mansion built between 1789 and 1795 for the first Earl of Belmore, and Florence Court, a baroque country house set in pretty wooded grounds in the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain.
Located about 10 miles from Enniskillen, the Marble Arch Caves are a superb example of the subterranean limestone caverns which lie to the south of Lower Lough Erne.