So you have a full day to explore this gem of a town at the center of County Fermanagh? Here are our top picks on what to do and where to go.
From luxury hotel resorts to the ancient castle, palatial mansions and stunning local artisans, we've put together a quick guide to getting the best out of your visit to Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.
Lough Erne Resort
For five-star treatment, Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen is top of the list. The luxurious rooms in the hotel are replicated in family lodges adjacent to the hotel, which each has its own views of the lough and added benefits of a spacious living area and dining table.
A golfer’s paradise, it is the venue of choice for Ulster man Rory McIlroy, with a Nick Faldo-designed course and training academy and a second award-winning Castle Hume Course. Non-golfers are well catered for too, with Thai Spa offering relaxing treatments; younger guests or ‘Cygnets’ are made to feel special during their stay.
There is an excellent take on Irish food in fine dining Catalina restaurant. Chef Noel McMeel goes the extra mile to source local produce and creates stunning dishes with a focus on seasonality. Ghillie Packie Trotter does fly fishing tutorials, and fishing is available year round on lake.
A grand, stately home, Castle Coole is neo-classical 18th century home of Earls of Belmore. The estate’s wooded landscape park makes it ideal for long walks, with parkland sloping down to Lough Coole, and grounds are open all year round.
The house itself is open from March to September and tours show off rich decorations and furnishings of home, with regency interiors including a State bedroom as prepared for King George IV. The unique servant’s tunnel and suite of servants’ rooms and quarters reveal what it was like for those working below stairs, and a packed schedule of music events at the house throughout summer keep National Trust property alive.
Visit the monastic site of Devenish Island, containing remains of 6th century St Molaise who founded the monastery. The remains include a Romanesque church and a striking 12th century round tower which dominates island, and which visitors can still climb to this day.
Intricately carved details, a museum with sculptures from within the church and a rich history from its foundation to its later use as an Augustinian Priory are all good reasons to visit, while journey there itself is a tourist attraction. Accessible only by ferry (which starts on Good Friday and operates until mid-September) from Trory Point, visitors must cross waters of Lower Lough Erne.
The Sheelin Lace and Vintage Fashions
The thatched museum houses a private collection of over 700 garments which shows five types of lace historically made in Ireland, each dating from 1880-1920. Discover unique qualities of Carrickmacross, Limerick Lace, Youghal Needlelace, Irish crochet and Inishmacsaint Needlelace, each with their own distinctive patterns and skills displayed in fine vintage pieces.
The adjoining shop, which is open all year, sells antique and vintage lace and has everything from decorative table linen to beautiful, hand-embroidered christening gowns, handkerchiefs and bonnets, selected with care by museum and shop owner Rosemary Cathcart.
This 6,600-year-old castle was once the stronghold of Maguire clan. The original medieval building was a small square tower-house, built to protect Fermanagh from marauding clans. In the 1600s, the castle became an English garrison fort and, after that, served as barracks for a number of years.
Today, castle grounds are home to two museums – Fermanagh County Museum which documents the heritage of this Ulster county, and Inniskillings Museum, documenting resident cavalry regiment at Enniskillen Castle, Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. Lively exhibitions and family activities keep younger visitors involved and a busy calendar of events at castle sees visiting artists show their works. As well, food and craft fairs and training courses take place throughout the year.