I hope I find you all well this week as our Virtual Tour of Ireland continues up north in gorgeous County Fermanagh. This is a county of tranquil and idyllic lakes and waterways and boasts some 154 islands! Let’s start at one of its finest.
County Fermanagh Highlights
1. Devenish Island
To say that there is something truly magical about this place is an understatement. A water taxi takes you across to Devenish Island on Lough Erne. This is an ancient monastic site founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise. After centuries of raids and burnings it enjoyed a new lease of life in the Middle Ages as St Marys Augustinian Priory. Buildings as far back as the 12th century still survive. The stone high cross dating back to the 15th century is particularly impressive.
County Fermanagh’s main town stands on an island separating lower and upper Lough Erne. The town is steeped in history, the centerpiece being Enniskillen Castle. It boasts the greatest number of surviving 17th-century castle ruins in the country and began life as the seat of the Gaelic Maguire clan. The wonderfully informative museum charts it’s varied history through the ages.
3. Castle Coole
So now prepare to be dazzled. This majestic mansion dates back to the 18th century and designed by James Wyatt for the Earls of Belmore. Situated on a height just on the edge of Enniskillen, the lush wooded parkland sweeps down to Lough Coole and is the perfect place for a bracing walk or a gentle stroll.
4. Lough Erne
The jewel in the crown of County Fermanagh most certainly has to be Lough Erne. Home to the 5-star Lough Erne Resort and a world-class golf course and the ultimate playground for anglers and water sports enthusiasts. There’s also a tall tale attached to the lough as you would expect. It is Ireland after all! The story goes that Lough Erne came to be when a woman named Erne who was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Meabh fled with her fellow maidens from a giant in Cruachan in county Roscommon. Fleeing north, they drowned in a river and their bodies dissolved to form Lough Erne!
5. Florence Court
Time for another show stopping stately home. This stunning example of Georgian architecture is situated about 10 miles outside Enniskillen. Benaughlin and the Cuilcagh Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the former home of the Earls of Enniskillen. The gardens are magnificent and include woodlands, many nature trails and a beautiful walled garden. The perfect place to end our County Fermanagh journey.
As always, it’s great to have your virtual company. Join me next time for a trip to “Lovely Leitrim”!
Take care of yourselves and each other,
Slán go fóill!