Northern Ireland – County Fermanagh

Top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in Northern Ireland

County Fermanagh and Lough Erne

1. Marble Arch Caves

The Marble Arch Caves in Western Fermanagh are a spectacular and memorable addition to a visit of this south western corner of Northern Ireland. The tour lasts about and hour and a quarter and begins with a boat journey along a subterranean river, then through brilliantly lit calcite walled chambers dripping with stalactites and fragile mineral veils. On your approach to the caves, you’ll travel along the Marlbank Scenic Loop, with great views of Lower Lough Macnean and fields with naturally occurring formations of Limestone Flagstones.

2. Castle Coole

Castle Coole is one of Ireland’s finest neo-classical houses, and the sumptuous Regency interior provides a rare treat for visitors, allowing them to glimpse what life was like in the home of the Earls of Belmore. Discover the story of the people who lived and worked below stairs as you explore the splendid suite of servants’ rooms and service quarters of this magnificent property. Savour the exquisite stately grandeur of this stunning 18th-century mansion set in an historic wooded landscape park.

3. Take to the Water on Lough Erne

Lough Erne in County Fermanagh is famously beautiful and attracts thousands of visitors to this region of Northern Ireland. The Lough consists of two main parts, Lower Lough Erne in the northwest and Lower Lough Erne in the southeast. It’s a breathtaking landscape, where land and water compliment each other in a resonant, stately harmony. Perhaps the best way to see the landscape is from a boat – cruises operate from both upper and lower Loughs.

4. Florence Court

There is something for all the family at the warm and welcoming 18th-century former home of the Earls of Enniskillen. There are many glorious walks to enjoy, as well as fine vistas and play areas in the outstanding grounds. There is even a charming walled garden. Every aspect of life in this imposing classical Irish house, with its fine interiors and exquisite decoration, are brought to life on the fascinating guided tours. Outside there are numerous unusual places to explore, including a sawmill, ice house and the thatched Heather House.

5. Castle Archdale Country Park

Castle Archdale Country Park is situated about 10 miles north west of Enniskillen and extends to cover 230 acres along the shores of Lower Lough Erne. Features within the Park include a red deer enclosure, wildfowl ponds, nature trail, butterfly garden and wildflower meadow. To make the most of your visit, be sure not to miss the Archdale Centre, which features exhibitions on the history and wildlife of the area. The park has its own campsite, and you can hire bikes, boats and fishing rods.

6. White Island

In Castle Archdale Bay off the East shore of lower Lough Erne is White Island, where you can visit a small ruined monastery dated about A.D. 1200. Set against the north wall are seven stone figures which are fine examples of early Christian carving, although they look eerily pagan. The most disconcerting statue is that of Sheila-na-Gig, a lewd female figure. Explanations range from a female fertility figure, a warning to monks of the sins of the flesh, or an expression of the demoniacal power of women, designed to ward off evil.

7. Lusty Beg Island

Quiet Lusty Beg Island, just off Boa Island in Lower Lough Erne, is a popular weekend retreat, with luxury log cabins with saunas, B&B in The Courtyard Guesthouse, canoeing, gentle walks and a good restaurant. A free car ferry will take you accross; dial 0 from the telephone on the pier. While you’re there, why not try one of the outdoor pursuits on offer at the nearby activity centre? (Cabins sleep 4 to 6 people).

8. Crom Estate

Escape to this breathtaking 2,000-acre estate, set amid the romantic and tranquil landscape of Upper Lough Erne. One of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas, Crom’s ancient woodland and picturesque islands are home to many rare species, including the elusive pine marten. The award-winning visitor centre offers a huge range of exciting activities and adventures for all the family, from boating and coarse angling to inspirational nature trails. Stay for longer in the holiday cottages or campsite.

9. Belleek Pottery

Established in 1857 Belleek Pottery holds a very special place in the cultural and commercial heritage of County Fermanagh. Nestling on the banks of the River Erne this imposing building is home to the world famous Belleek Fine Parian china. The guided tour takes approximately 30 minutes and covers all of the production areas, thereby offering guests the possibility of meeting with and chatting with the craftspeople on site.

10. Enniskillen

Enniskillen sits on an island with two narrow ribbons of water on each side connecting the Lower and Upper Lough Erne complexes. With its castle and proximity to the elegant Castle Coole, plus a town centre relatively unspoilt by shopping developments, Enniskillen is worthy of a day’s visit during its own right. It’s also ideally situated as a base for exploring lough Erne and touring the attractive local countryside.

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