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Historical Figures of Enniskillen: Their Stories and Legacy

Enniskillen, with its rich history and cultural heritage, has been home to many notable figures who have made significant contributions in various fields. Here are some of the historical figures from Enniskillen and their enduring legacies.

1. Hugh Maguire (1530-1600)

Legacy: Hugh Maguire, also known as “The Maguire,” was the chief of the Maguire clan, rulers of Fermanagh during the 16th century. He played a crucial role in resisting English rule in Ireland. Maguire led his forces in the Nine Years’ War against English colonization, displaying exceptional military leadership. His legacy endures in the local culture and history, symbolizing the region’s resistance and fight for autonomy.

2. Rev. George Francis Savage-Armstrong (1845-1906)

Legacy: A poet and professor of English literature at Queen’s College, Cork (now University College Cork). Savage-Armstrong was born in Dublin but spent much of his life in Enniskillen. He is remembered for his lyrical poetry, which often reflected his deep love for Ireland’s landscapes and history. His works contribute to the rich literary heritage of Enniskillen.

3. Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)

Legacy: While not born in Enniskillen, Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett attended Portora Royal School in the town. Beckett’s experiences at Portora influenced his literary work, especially his sense of place and existential themes. He is best known for his play “Waiting for Godot,” which has had a profound impact on modern theater. Beckett’s legacy is celebrated in Enniskillen, especially during the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.

4. Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Legacy: Like Beckett, Oscar Wilde also attended Portora Royal School. Wilde went on to become one of the most famous playwrights, poets, and authors of the 19th century. His works, including “The Importance of Being Earnest” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” remain widely read and performed. Wilde’s wit, flamboyant style, and literary contributions are celebrated as part of Enniskillen’s cultural heritage.

5. James Gamble (1803-1891)

Legacy: Born in Enniskillen, James Gamble emigrated to the United States, where he co-founded Procter & Gamble with his brother-in-law, William Procter. The company grew to become one of the largest consumer goods corporations in the world. Gamble’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovation left a lasting impact on global industry, and his connection to Enniskillen is a point of local pride.

6. Colonel Sir John Leslie (1857-1944)

Legacy: Known as Sir John Leslie, 1st Baronet of Glaslough, Leslie was born in Enniskillen and served as a distinguished soldier and diplomat. He was instrumental in military and political affairs during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His contributions to military strategy and international diplomacy are remembered in historical records, and his family estate, Castle Leslie, remains a significant heritage site.

7. William Scott (1913-1989)

Legacy: Born in Scotland but raised in Enniskillen, William Scott became one of the leading British painters of the 20th century. His work, known for its abstraction and exploration of everyday objects, is held in high regard and featured in major galleries worldwide. Scott’s artistic legacy and connection to Enniskillen highlight the town’s contribution to the arts.

8. The Cole Family

Legacy: The Cole family, notably Sir William Cole, played a significant role in the establishment and development of Enniskillen in the early 17th century. Sir William Cole was instrumental in the plantation of Ulster and the construction of Enniskillen Castle. The family’s contributions to the town’s infrastructure and governance helped shape Enniskillen into an important strategic and economic center.

9. Florence Maryatt (1833-1899)

Legacy: Florence Maryatt, daughter of Captain Frederick Marryat, a well-known writer, was an accomplished novelist and spiritualist. She lived in Enniskillen for a period and wrote extensively, producing over 70 novels. Her works often explored themes of spiritualism, which was popular in the Victorian era. Maryatt’s literary contributions add to the rich tapestry of Enniskillen’s cultural history.

Visiting Historical Sites

  1. Portora Royal School: Although the school itself is private, you can visit the grounds and see where famous alumni like Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett studied.
  2. Enniskillen Castle: Explore the history of the Maguire clan and the Cole family who played significant roles in Enniskillen’s development.
  3. Local Museums and Festivals: Visit the Fermanagh County Museum for exhibits on local history and attend the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival to celebrate Samuel Beckett’s legacy.

The historical figures of Enniskillen have left an indelible mark on the town’s cultural and historical landscape. Their contributions in fields ranging from literature and the arts to industry and military strategy continue to be celebrated and remembered. Exploring their stories provides a deeper understanding of Enniskillen’s rich heritage and enduring legacy.

Photography Workshops and Tours in Enniskillen

Enniskillen, with its stunning landscapes, historical sites, and vibrant culture, is a fantastic location for photography enthusiasts. Whether you’re a beginner looking to improve your skills or a seasoned photographer seeking new inspiration, there are various photography workshops and tours available to help you capture the beauty of this region. Here are some options for photography workshops and tours in and around Enniskillen.

1. Fermanagh Photography Tours

What to Expect: Fermanagh Photography Tours offer guided tours tailored to photographers of all skill levels. The tours cover some of the most scenic spots in County Fermanagh, including Lough Erne, Enniskillen Castle, and the Marble Arch Caves. Experienced local photographers lead the tours, providing tips on composition, lighting, and technique to help you capture the perfect shot.

2. Wild Atlantic Garrison Photography Workshops

What to Expect: Located a short drive from Enniskillen, Wild Atlantic Garrison offers workshops that focus on the rugged beauty of the Atlantic coastline. Workshops often include trips to the nearby Slieve League Cliffs and Glenveagh National Park. These workshops are ideal for those looking to enhance their landscape photography skills and learn about the unique challenges of shooting in different weather conditions.

3. Seamus Heaney HomePlace Photography Workshops

What to Expect: Although slightly further afield, the Seamus Heaney HomePlace offers photography workshops that combine the literary legacy of the famous poet with the stunning landscapes that inspired his work. These workshops provide a unique blend of cultural and photographic education, perfect for those who appreciate both art forms.

4. Enniskillen Photographic Society

What to Expect: Join the Enniskillen Photographic Society for regular meet-ups, workshops, and excursions. The society often hosts guest speakers, organizes competitions, and arranges field trips to local attractions. It’s a great way to connect with other photography enthusiasts and improve your skills in a supportive environment.

5. Private Photography Tours with Local Experts

What to Expect: For a more personalized experience, consider booking a private photography tour with a local expert. Many experienced photographers in the Enniskillen area offer custom tours tailored to your interests and skill level. These tours can cover specific themes such as wildlife, architecture, or landscape photography, ensuring you get the most out of your experience.

6. Lough Erne Boat Photography Tours

What to Expect: Capture the serene beauty of Lough Erne from a unique perspective with a boat photography tour. These tours provide opportunities to photograph the lake’s islands, wildlife, and stunning reflections. Guided by local photographers, you’ll learn techniques for shooting from a boat and capturing dynamic water scenes.

7. Cuilcagh Mountain and Marble Arch Caves Workshops

What to Expect: Participate in workshops that focus on the dramatic landscapes of Cuilcagh Mountain and the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark. These workshops often include hikes to the “Stairway to Heaven” boardwalk and guided tours of the caves, providing diverse photographic opportunities from rugged mountainscapes to intricate underground formations.

8. Castle Coole and Florence Court Estate Photography Days

What to Expect: Join photography days at National Trust properties such as Castle Coole and Florence Court. These events offer exclusive access to the estates, including their beautifully maintained gardens and historic interiors. Experienced photographers provide guidance on capturing the essence of these grand properties.

9. Wildlife Photography Workshops

What to Expect: Enhance your wildlife photography skills with workshops focused on the rich biodiversity of County Fermanagh. These workshops often take place in locations like Crom Estate and Lough Navar Forest, where you can learn techniques for photographing birds, deer, and other local wildlife in their natural habitats.

10. Night Photography and Astro-Photography Tours

What to Expect: Explore the night skies and capture stunning images of stars, the Milky Way, and other celestial phenomena with night photography and astro-photography tours. These tours are typically conducted in remote locations with minimal light pollution, such as the shores of Lough Erne or the rural countryside around Enniskillen.

Tips for Participating in Photography Workshops and Tours:

  1. Bring the Right Gear: Ensure you have the appropriate camera equipment, including lenses, tripods, and filters. Check with the workshop or tour organizer for specific recommendations.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear suitable for the terrain and weather conditions. Layered clothing is often best for changing weather.
  3. Prepare for the Elements: Bring essentials like sunscreen, insect repellent, and rain gear to stay comfortable during outdoor shoots.
  4. Ask Questions: Take advantage of the expertise of your guides and instructors. Don’t hesitate to ask for tips, advice, and feedback on your photos.
  5. Be Patient: Wildlife and landscape photography often require patience. Take your time to observe and wait for the perfect moment to capture your shot.

Enniskillen and its surrounding areas provide a wealth of opportunities for photographers to explore and hone their skills. Whether you’re interested in landscapes, wildlife, or cultural sites, these workshops and tours offer valuable experiences and the chance to capture stunning images.

Day Trips from Enniskillen: Explore Beyond the Town

Enniskillen is a perfect base for exploring the surrounding region, which is rich in natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions. Here are some top day trips from Enniskillen that offer a variety of experiences for all types of travelers.

1. Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

Distance: 14 miles / 22 km

What to Expect: Discover one of Europe’s finest showcaves with guided tours that take you through a magical underground world of rivers, waterfalls, and stalactites. Above ground, explore the geopark’s scenic walking trails, karst landscapes, and beautiful viewpoints. It’s an educational and awe-inspiring experience for all ages.

2. Florence Court

Distance: 8 miles / 13 km

What to Expect: This stunning 18th-century Georgian mansion is surrounded by lush gardens and woodland. Take a guided tour of the house to learn about its history, explore the beautiful walled garden, and walk along scenic trails that wind through the estate. The famous Florence Court Yew Tree, one of the oldest yews in the world, is also a highlight.

3. Crom Estate

Distance: 18 miles / 29 km

What to Expect: Managed by the National Trust, Crom Estate offers a peaceful retreat with ancient woodlands, tranquil waterways, and historical ruins. Explore the old castle ruins, take a boat trip on Lough Erne, and enjoy the wildlife-rich environment. The estate is perfect for picnicking, walking, and experiencing the natural beauty of the area.

4. Belleek Pottery

Distance: 23 miles / 37 km

What to Expect: Visit the world-famous Belleek Pottery, established in 1857. Take a guided tour of the factory to see the intricate process of creating fine porcelain and browse the museum’s collection of historical pieces. The on-site shop offers a chance to purchase exquisite pottery as a unique souvenir.

5. Slieve League Cliffs

Distance: 57 miles / 92 km

What to Expect: For those willing to venture a bit further, the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal are some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. The breathtaking views from the top, looking down at the Atlantic Ocean, are truly spectacular. Hiking trails offer various viewpoints, and the visitor center provides insights into the area’s history and geology.

6. Devenish Island

Distance: 4 miles / 6.5 km (plus a short boat trip)

What to Expect: Accessible by boat from Trory Point or Enniskillen, Devenish Island is home to a significant monastic site with ruins dating back to the 6th century. Explore the round tower, ancient churches, and intricately carved crosses. The island’s serene atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for history buffs and nature lovers.

7. Glenveagh National Park

Distance: 77 miles / 124 km

What to Expect: Although a longer drive, Glenveagh National Park in County Donegal is worth the trip. The park features stunning landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and forests. Visit Glenveagh Castle, enjoy the beautifully maintained gardens, and explore the many walking trails that offer breathtaking views.

8. Derrygonnelly and Lough Navar Forest

Distance: 12 miles / 19 km

What to Expect: Explore the quaint village of Derrygonnelly and continue to Lough Navar Forest for scenic drives and hiking trails. The Magho Cliffs viewpoint offers panoramic views over Lower Lough Erne, making it a perfect spot for photography and picnics.

9. Monea Castle

Distance: 8 miles / 13 km

What to Expect: Visit the well-preserved ruins of Monea Castle, a 17th-century plantation castle. Set in a picturesque rural landscape, the castle offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history. The surrounding area is ideal for a leisurely walk and provides ample opportunities for photography.

10. Arigna Mining Experience

Distance: 55 miles / 89 km

What to Expect: Head to County Roscommon to explore the Arigna Mining Experience, which offers guided tours of a former coal mine. Learn about the history of mining in the region, the life of miners, and the impact on the local community. The underground tour is both educational and engaging, providing a unique insight into Ireland’s industrial heritage.

Tips for Day Trips:

  1. Plan Ahead: Check opening hours, tour availability, and weather conditions before you set out to ensure a smooth trip.
  2. Pack Essentials: Bring water, snacks, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery.
  3. Travel Smart: Consider renting a car for the flexibility to explore at your own pace, or check local tour operators for guided day trips.
  4. Respect Nature: Follow Leave No Trace principles, take your litter with you, and respect wildlife and local communities.

These day trips from Enniskillen offer a variety of experiences, from exploring historic sites and enjoying natural landscapes to learning about local culture and industry. Whether you’re an adventurer, history buff, or nature lover, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Enniskillen’s Nightlife: Best Bars, Pubs, and Live Music Venues

Enniskillen offers a vibrant nightlife with a range of bars, pubs, and live music venues that cater to all tastes. Whether you’re looking for a quiet pint in a traditional pub, a lively night of dancing, or an evening of live music, Enniskillen has something to offer. Here are some of the best spots to experience Enniskillen’s nightlife.

1. Blakes of the Hollow

Where: 6 Church Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Blakes of the Hollow is one of Enniskillen’s most iconic pubs, known for its historic interior and warm, welcoming atmosphere. Established in 1887, the pub features original Victorian fittings and a unique partitioned bar. It’s a great place to enjoy a pint of Guinness and listen to traditional Irish music, which is often performed live.

2. The Crowes Nest

Where: 12 High Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Crowes Nest is a popular spot for both locals and visitors, offering a lively atmosphere and a great selection of drinks. The pub frequently hosts live music performances, ranging from traditional Irish tunes to modern rock and pop. It’s an excellent place for a fun night out with friends.

3. Charlie’s Bar

Where: 22 Church Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Charlie’s Bar is known for its friendly vibe and live music scene. With regular performances from local bands and musicians, it’s a fantastic venue to enjoy some great music and a lively atmosphere. The bar also has a good selection of beers, spirits, and cocktails.

4. The Firehouse Bar

Where: 58 Darling Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Firehouse Bar offers a cozy, traditional pub experience with a modern twist. It features a stylish interior, a wide range of craft beers, and a welcoming atmosphere.

5. The Devenish Lounge

Where: 26 East Bridge Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Devenish Lounge combines a contemporary setting with a lively nightlife scene. The venue hosts live music, DJ nights, and themed events, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening. With its chic decor and vibrant atmosphere, it’s perfect for a night of dancing and socializing.

6. Pat’s Bar

Where: 16 Townhall Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Pat’s Bar is a classic Irish pub known for its warm hospitality and regular live music sessions. The bar serves a variety of beers, spirits, and traditional Irish whiskies. It’s a great place to experience local culture and enjoy a relaxed evening with friends.

7. The Horseshoe & Saddlers

Where: 66 Belmore Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Horseshoe & Saddlers is a popular pub and restaurant known for its excellent food and drink. The pub area offers a comfortable setting to enjoy a pint, and the venue occasionally hosts live music and entertainment. It’s a great spot for a more laid-back evening out.

8. The Westville Hotel Bar

Where: 14-20 Tempo Road, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The bar at The Westville Hotel provides a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a quiet drink. The stylish setting and extensive cocktail menu make it a great choice for a more upscale night out. The bar also features live piano music on select evenings.

9. The Ardhowen Theatre Bar

Where: 97 Dublin Road, Enniskillen

What to Expect: If you’re attending a show at the Ardhowen Theatre, be sure to visit the theatre bar. It offers a pleasant setting to enjoy a pre-show or interval drink. The theatre regularly hosts live performances, including plays, concerts, and comedy shows, making it a great cultural night out.

10. The Enniskillen Hotel Wine Bar

Where: 72 Forthill Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The wine bar at The Enniskillen Hotel offers a relaxed and elegant atmosphere, with a fine selection of wines, spirits, and cocktails. It’s an ideal spot for a quiet evening with friends or a romantic night out. The bar also hosts occasional live music events.

Tips for Enjoying Enniskillen’s Nightlife:

  1. Check Schedules: Many venues have specific nights for live music or special events, so check their schedules in advance.
  2. Experience Local Music: Take the opportunity to enjoy traditional Irish music sessions for an authentic cultural experience.
  3. Try Local Drinks: Sample local beers, ciders, and spirits to get a taste of the region’s offerings.
  4. Plan Ahead: Some popular venues can get busy, especially on weekends, so it might be wise to arrive early or make reservations if possible.
  5. Stay Safe: Make sure to arrange transportation back to your accommodation if you plan to drink.

Enniskillen’s nightlife scene is diverse and vibrant, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a quiet pub, a lively bar, or a venue with live music, you’ll find plenty of options to enjoy a memorable night out in this charming town.

Top 10 Scenic Drives Around Enniskillen

Enniskillen is nestled in the heart of Fermanagh Lakelands, offering some of the most picturesque drives in Northern Ireland. Here are the top 10 scenic drives around Enniskillen that showcase the natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural richness of the area.

1. Lough Navar Forest Drive

Route: Lough Navar Forest to Magho Viewpoint

What to Expect: This scenic drive takes you through the lush Lough Navar Forest and up to the Magho Viewpoint, which offers breathtaking panoramic views over Lower Lough Erne and the surrounding countryside. The forest itself is home to beautiful walking trails, picnic spots, and a variety of wildlife.

2. Lower Lough Erne Drive

Route: Enniskillen to Belleek

What to Expect: This drive follows the shore of Lower Lough Erne, passing through charming villages and providing stunning lake views. Highlights include Castle Archdale Country Park, the ancient ruins of Devenish Island (accessible by boat), and the picturesque village of Belleek, famous for its pottery.

3. Cuilcagh Mountain Drive

Route: Enniskillen to Cuilcagh Mountain Park

What to Expect: Drive towards Cuilcagh Mountain Park, home to the famous “Stairway to Heaven” boardwalk. The route offers scenic countryside views, rolling hills, and rugged landscapes. Park your car and hike the boardwalk for an unforgettable view from the top.

4. Florence Court and Marble Arch Caves

Route: Enniskillen to Florence Court to Marble Arch Caves

What to Expect: Start your drive at the historic Florence Court estate with its beautiful gardens and mansion. Continue to the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, where you can explore one of Europe’s finest showcaves and enjoy scenic walking trails in the surrounding karst landscape.

5. Upper Lough Erne Scenic Drive

Route: Enniskillen to Crom Estate to Lisnaskea

What to Expect: This route takes you along the shores of Upper Lough Erne, through a maze of waterways and islands. Visit the Crom Estate with its ancient yew trees and historic ruins, and continue to Lisnaskea, a vibrant market town with charming local shops and eateries.

6. Glenveagh Drive

Route: Enniskillen to Glenveagh National Park

What to Expect: Although a bit further afield, a drive to Glenveagh National Park offers stunning scenery through the rural landscapes of Donegal. The park is renowned for its rugged mountains, pristine lakes, and the beautiful Glenveagh Castle.

7. Topped Mountain Drive

Route: Enniskillen to Topped Mountain

What to Expect: A short drive from Enniskillen, Topped Mountain offers relatively easy access to spectacular views from its summit. The route takes you through charming countryside, and the short hike to the top provides panoramic views of the surrounding area.

8. Kesh Scenic Loop

Route: Enniskillen to Kesh via Boa Island

What to Expect: This scenic loop takes you to the village of Kesh via Boa Island, home to the ancient Janus figure and other historic artifacts. Enjoy the serene lake views and the peaceful rural landscape as you drive around the loop.

9. Benbulben Scenic Drive

Route: Enniskillen to Benbulben via Bundoran

What to Expect: Drive towards the dramatic Benbulben mountain in County Sligo, passing through the seaside town of Bundoran. The route offers stunning coastal views, rugged landscapes, and the striking profile of Benbulben, which is a popular spot for hiking and photography.

10. Derrygonnelly and Lough Navar Loop

Route: Enniskillen to Derrygonnelly to Lough Navar

What to Expect: This loop takes you through the quaint village of Derrygonnelly and into the scenic Lough Navar Forest. Enjoy the forest drive with its serene lakes, ancient woodlands, and panoramic viewpoints, making it a perfect day trip.

Tips for Scenic Drives:

  1. Plan Your Route: Use a map or GPS to plan your route in advance, ensuring you don’t miss any key spots or detours.
  2. Pack Essentials: Bring snacks, water, and a camera to capture the stunning views along the way.
  3. Check Weather: Ensure you check the weather forecast before heading out to make the most of your drive.
  4. Respect Nature: Follow Leave No Trace principles, take your litter with you, and respect wildlife.
  5. Local Stops: Take advantage of local shops, cafes, and markets along your route to enjoy regional specialties and support local businesses.

These scenic drives around Enniskillen offer an excellent way to explore the natural beauty, historical landmarks, and cultural treasures of the region, ensuring a memorable and picturesque journey.

Local Craft Breweries and Distilleries in Enniskillen

Enniskillen and the surrounding Fermanagh region are home to some fantastic craft breweries and distilleries. These establishments offer a glimpse into the local craft beverage scene, providing unique and high-quality drinks that reflect the rich heritage and innovative spirit of the area. Here are some top craft breweries and distilleries to explore during your visit to Enniskillen.

1. The Boatyard Distillery

Where: Tully Bay, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Located on the banks of Lough Erne, The Boatyard Distillery is an award-winning craft distillery known for its premium gin and vodka. Visitors can enjoy guided tours that offer insight into the distillation process, from grain to glass. The tour includes tastings of their signature spirits, such as the Boatyard Double Gin, which is crafted using organic wheat and local botanicals. The stunning lakeside setting adds to the experience, making it a must-visit for spirit enthusiasts.

2. Inishmacsaint Brewing Company

Where: Near Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Inishmacsaint Brewing Company is a microbrewery located close to the historic Inishmacsaint Island. This brewery produces a range of handcrafted ales inspired by the local landscape and heritage. Their beers, such as the Lough Erne Porter and the Inishmac Stout, are brewed using pure spring water and high-quality ingredients. Brewery tours are available, where you can learn about the brewing process and sample their delicious beers.

3. Lough Erne Distillery

Where: Aghalane, Derrylin, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Lough Erne Distillery is a family-owned distillery that produces a range of handcrafted spirits, including whiskey, gin, and poitín. The distillery prides itself on using traditional methods combined with modern techniques to create distinctive and flavorful spirits. Tours of the distillery provide an in-depth look at the production process, from mashing and fermentation to distillation and aging. Tastings are included, allowing visitors to sample their exceptional products.

4. Mourne Mountains Brewery

Where: Warrenpoint, County Down (a short drive from Enniskillen)

What to Expect: While not located directly in Enniskillen, Mourne Mountains Brewery is worth the short drive. This brewery is known for its innovative and flavorful craft beers, inspired by the stunning landscapes of the Mourne Mountains. Popular brews include the Mourne Mist Pilsner and the Big Rock IPA. The brewery offers tours and tastings, giving visitors a chance to learn about the brewing process and enjoy a variety of their unique beers.

5. The Spirit of Lisnaskea Distillery

Where: Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: The Spirit of Lisnaskea Distillery is a relatively new addition to the Fermanagh craft spirits scene. Specializing in small-batch gin and whiskey, the distillery uses locally sourced botanicals and pure spring water to create their spirits. Visitors can take guided tours of the distillery, where they will learn about the production process and enjoy tastings of their high-quality products.

6. The Whitewater Brewery

Where: Castlewellan, County Down (a short drive from Enniskillen)

What to Expect: The Whitewater Brewery is one of Northern Ireland’s oldest craft breweries, known for its wide range of award-winning beers. While a bit of a drive from Enniskillen, it’s a great day trip for beer lovers. The brewery offers tours that include a detailed explanation of the brewing process and tastings of their popular beers, such as the Belfast Lager and the Maggies Leap IPA.

Tips for Visiting Craft Breweries and Distilleries:

  1. Book in Advance: Tours at many breweries and distilleries can fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to book in advance to secure your spot.
  2. Designate a Driver: If you’re planning to visit multiple locations or sample a lot of products, make sure to have a designated driver or arrange for transportation.
  3. Learn the Process: Take the time to ask questions and learn about the production processes. It adds to the experience and appreciation of the craft.
  4. Purchase Souvenirs: Most breweries and distilleries have gift shops where you can purchase bottles of your favorite spirits or beers, as well as branded merchandise.
  5. Check Seasonal Offerings: Some places offer seasonal or limited-edition products that are only available at certain times of the year, so ask about any special offerings during your visit.

Exploring the local craft breweries and distilleries around Enniskillen provides a unique and enjoyable way to experience the region’s rich culture and heritage. Whether you’re a beer aficionado or a spirits enthusiast, these establishments offer something for everyone, ensuring a memorable and flavorful visit.

Hidden Gems of Enniskillen: Off the Beaten Path Attractions

Enniskillen is brimming with well-known landmarks and attractions, but some of its most charming features are found off the beaten path. Discover these hidden gems that offer unique experiences and insights into the town’s rich heritage and natural beauty.

1. Tully Castle

Where: Near Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Tully Castle is a lesser-known 17th-century fortified house and bawn. The ruins are set in picturesque surroundings overlooking Lower Lough Erne. Visitors can explore the remains of the castle, wander through the beautifully restored gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the lough. It’s a peaceful spot, perfect for a quiet picnic and some reflective time away from the crowds.

2. Headhunters Barber Shop & Railway Museum

Where: Darling Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Combining a working barber shop with an extensive railway museum, this quirky attraction offers a unique glimpse into Enniskillen’s history. The museum features a collection of railway memorabilia, including model trains, historic photographs, and artifacts. The friendly owners are passionate about local history and provide fascinating stories and insights during your visit.

3. Crom Estate

Where: Upper Lough Erne, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Managed by the National Trust, Crom Estate is a stunning property featuring ancient woodlands, tranquil islands, and historic ruins. Explore the remains of the old Crom Castle, walk along the serene trails, and spot a variety of wildlife, including deer and rare butterflies. The estate also offers boat hire, allowing visitors to explore the lough and its islands at their own pace.

4. The Buttermarket

Where: Down Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Buttermarket is a vibrant arts and crafts center housed in a restored 19th-century market square. It’s home to a variety of artisan shops, galleries, and studios where you can purchase unique handcrafted items, from jewelry and ceramics to textiles and paintings. The Buttermarket is also a venue for art exhibitions and cultural events, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

5. Erne Gallery

Where: Wellington Road, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Erne Gallery is a hidden gem for art lovers, showcasing contemporary and traditional artworks by local and international artists. The gallery features a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works. It’s a serene space to appreciate fine art and perhaps take home a unique piece as a souvenir of your visit.

6. Castle Archdale Country Park

Where: Lisnarick, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: While Castle Archdale Country Park is known for its outdoor activities, its historical significance is often overlooked. The park is home to the ruins of a 17th-century castle and served as a base for Catalina flying boats during World War II. Explore the heritage trail, visit the museum, and enjoy the peaceful woodland and lakeside walks.

7. Inishmacsaint Island

Where: Lower Lough Erne

What to Expect: Inishmacsaint Island is a small, tranquil island with a rich monastic history dating back to the 6th century. Accessible by boat, the island features the remains of an ancient church and graveyard. It’s a serene spot for those interested in early Christian history and offers beautiful views of the surrounding lough.

8. Monea Castle

Where: Near Derrygonnelly, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Monea Castle is one of the best-preserved plantation castles in Ulster. Nestled in a rural setting, the castle features impressive ruins with large, round towers and fortified walls. It’s a fascinating site for history buffs and offers a quiet, picturesque spot for photography and exploration.

9. Florence Court Walled Garden

Where: Florence Court, Enniskillen

What to Expect: While Florence Court itself is a popular attraction, its walled garden is a hidden gem. This beautifully restored garden features a variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables, along with historic glasshouses. It’s a peaceful spot to enjoy the beauty of nature and learn about traditional gardening techniques.

10. Drumskinny Stone Circle

Where: Near Irvinestown, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Drumskinny Stone Circle is a lesser-known prehistoric site featuring a stone circle, a cairn, and a stone alignment. Dating back to the Bronze Age, this ancient site offers a glimpse into the region’s early history. The peaceful setting provides a perfect spot for reflection and photography.

11. Ely Lodge Forest

Where: Near Enniskillen

What to Expect: Ely Lodge Forest is a beautiful woodland area offering several scenic walking trails. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife and features stunning viewpoints overlooking Lower Lough Erne. It’s an ideal spot for nature walks, birdwatching, and enjoying the tranquility of the great outdoors.

12. Topped Mountain

Where: Near Tempo, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Topped Mountain offers a relatively easy hike with spectacular views from the summit. The trail takes you through beautiful countryside and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. It’s a perfect spot for a short, invigorating hike and some breathtaking photos.

Exploring these hidden gems in and around Enniskillen will provide a richer, more nuanced experience of the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in ancient ruins, serene landscapes, or vibrant art scenes, Enniskillen’s off-the-beaten-path attractions offer something for every curious traveler.

Art and Culture: Exploring Enniskillen’s Creative Scene

Enniskillen is a vibrant town with a rich cultural heritage and a thriving creative scene. From galleries and theaters to festivals and historical sites, there’s plenty to explore for those interested in art and culture. Here are some of the top cultural attractions and events in Enniskillen.

1. The Ardhowen Theatre

Where: Dublin Road, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Ardhowen Theatre is the cultural hub of Enniskillen, offering a diverse program of events, including plays, musicals, concerts, dance performances, and comedy shows. The theatre also hosts workshops and community events, making it a vibrant part of the local arts scene. Check the schedule to catch a live performance during your visit.

2. The Buttermarket

Where: Down Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Buttermarket is a charming arts and crafts center housed in a restored 19th-century market square. It features a variety of artisan shops, galleries, and studios where you can browse and purchase handmade crafts, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and artwork. The Buttermarket is also a venue for art exhibitions and cultural events, making it a great place to experience local creativity.

3. Fermanagh County Museum

Where: Enniskillen Castle, Castle Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: Located within the historic Enniskillen Castle, the Fermanagh County Museum offers fascinating exhibits on the history, culture, and heritage of County Fermanagh. The museum’s collections include archaeological finds, traditional crafts, and historical artifacts that provide insight into the region’s past. Special exhibitions and events are often held, showcasing various aspects of local culture.

4. Headhunters Barber Shop & Railway Museum

Where: Darling Street, Enniskillen

What to Expect: This unique combination of a working barber shop and a railway museum offers an intriguing glimpse into Enniskillen’s cultural heritage. The museum features an extensive collection of railway memorabilia, including model trains, historic photographs, and artifacts. The friendly owners are passionate about local history and are happy to share stories with visitors.

5. Castle Coole

Where: Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Castle Coole is a stunning 18th-century neo-classical mansion set in a picturesque estate. The National Trust property offers guided tours of the house, where you can admire the exquisite interiors and learn about the history of the estate. The grounds also host various cultural events, including outdoor theatre performances and art exhibitions.

6. Florence Court

Where: Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

What to Expect: Another National Trust property, Florence Court is an 18th-century Georgian mansion known for its beautiful architecture and gardens. The house and grounds host a range of cultural events, including craft fairs, historical reenactments, and guided tours that provide insight into the estate’s history and heritage.

7. Enniskillen International Beckett Festival

When: August

Where: Various venues in Enniskillen

What to Expect: The Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, also known as “Happy Days,” is a unique celebration of the works of playwright Samuel Beckett. The festival features performances of Beckett’s plays, readings, film screenings, and discussions. It attracts artists and audiences from around the world, making it a highlight of Enniskillen’s cultural calendar.

8. Fermanagh Live Arts Festival (FLive)

When: October

Where: Various venues across Enniskillen

What to Expect: Fermanagh Live Arts Festival, or FLive, is a celebration of the arts that includes a diverse program of music, theatre, visual arts, literature, and dance. The festival showcases local and international artists and offers workshops, performances, and exhibitions. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience the vibrant arts scene in Enniskillen.

9. Devenish Island Monastic Site

Where: Lower Lough Erne, near Enniskillen

What to Expect: Accessible by boat, Devenish Island is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Northern Ireland, dating back to the 6th century. The island features ancient ruins, including a round tower and several churches, which provide a fascinating glimpse into early Christian art and architecture. The serene setting makes it an inspiring place for photography and contemplation.

10. Local Art Galleries

Where: Various locations in Enniskillen

What to Expect: Enniskillen is home to several art galleries that showcase the work of local and regional artists. These galleries often feature exhibitions of contemporary and traditional art, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works. Visiting local galleries is a great way to support the arts community and discover unique pieces of art.

11. Traditional Music Sessions

Where: Local pubs and venues

What to Expect: Experience the rich musical heritage of Enniskillen by attending a traditional music session at a local pub. These informal gatherings feature live performances of traditional Irish music, with musicians playing instruments like the fiddle, tin whistle, and bodhrán. It’s a lively and authentic way to enjoy Enniskillen’s cultural scene.

12. Writing and Literary Events

Where: Various venues and bookshops

What to Expect: Enniskillen has a strong literary tradition, and the town often hosts writing workshops, book readings, and literary events. These events provide an opportunity to meet local authors, participate in discussions, and celebrate the written word. Check local listings for upcoming literary events during your visit.

Enniskillen’s rich cultural scene offers a diverse array of experiences for art and culture enthusiasts. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, attending festivals, or discovering local art, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this vibrant town.

Enniskillen for the Adventurous: Extreme Sports and Activities

Enniskillen, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and waterways, offers a range of thrilling activities for adventure seekers. From water sports to mountain biking, there are plenty of extreme sports and activities to get your adrenaline pumping. Here are some of the top extreme sports and adventurous activities to enjoy in and around Enniskillen.

1. Kayaking and Canoeing on Lough Erne

Where: Lough Erne

What to Expect: Lough Erne is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the stunning network of lakes and waterways. Paddle through tranquil waters, discover hidden islands, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Fermanagh Lakelands. For a more challenging experience, join a guided tour that takes you through some of the more remote and rugged parts of the lough.

2. Caving at Marble Arch Caves

Where: Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

What to Expect: Explore the underground world of the Marble Arch Caves, one of Europe’s finest showcaves. Guided tours take you through a labyrinth of passages, tunnels, and chambers adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. For the ultimate adventure, try a caving expedition that delves deeper into the lesser-known parts of the cave system.

3. Mountain Biking in Castle Archdale Country Park

Where: Castle Archdale Country Park

What to Expect: Castle Archdale Country Park offers a variety of mountain biking trails that cater to all skill levels. Ride through scenic woodlands, along the shores of Lough Erne, and enjoy the adrenaline rush of tackling challenging terrains. The park also has bike rental facilities, making it easy to get started.

4. Rock Climbing and Abseiling

Where: Various locations in County Fermanagh

What to Expect: For those who love heights, rock climbing and abseiling are popular activities in the region. The limestone cliffs and rocky outcrops in County Fermanagh provide excellent climbing opportunities. Local adventure companies offer guided climbing and abseiling sessions, ensuring you have a safe and exhilarating experience.

5. Zip-Lining and High Ropes

Where: Share Discovery Village

What to Expect: Located near Enniskillen, Share Discovery Village offers a range of adventurous activities, including zip-lining and high ropes courses. Soar through the treetops on a zip line or navigate challenging obstacles on the high ropes course. These activities are perfect for adrenaline junkies looking for an exciting outdoor adventure.

6. Wakeboarding and Water Skiing

Where: Lough Erne

What to Expect: Take your water sports experience to the next level with wakeboarding and water skiing on Lough Erne. Several local operators provide equipment rental and lessons, making it easy for beginners to get started and for experienced riders to refine their skills. The thrill of gliding across the water at high speed is unmatched.

7. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

Where: Lough Erne

What to Expect: Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and adventurous way to explore the waters of Lough Erne. Rent a paddleboard and navigate the calm waters, taking in the stunning scenery around you. For an added challenge, try paddleboard yoga or join a SUP tour that takes you to some of the more secluded parts of the lake.

8. Horse Riding and Trekking

Where: Local equestrian centers

What to Expect: Experience the thrill of horse riding and trekking through the beautiful landscapes of County Fermanagh. Several equestrian centers offer guided treks that cater to all levels of experience. Ride through forests, along lakeshores, and over rolling hills while enjoying the breathtaking views.

9. Angling and Fly Fishing

Where: Lough Erne and local rivers

What to Expect: Enniskillen is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. Try your hand at angling or fly fishing in the rich waters of Lough Erne and its tributaries. Local guides can take you to the best spots and provide all the necessary equipment, ensuring a successful and enjoyable fishing adventure.

10. Scuba Diving

Where: Lough Erne

What to Expect: Explore the underwater world of Lough Erne with a scuba diving adventure. While not as well-known as other diving destinations, the lough offers unique diving experiences, including the chance to explore submerged forests and historical wrecks. Local dive schools offer courses and guided dives for all levels.

11. Bushcraft and Survival Courses

Where: Various locations around Enniskillen

What to Expect: Learn essential survival skills with a bushcraft and survival course. These courses teach you how to build shelters, start fires, find food and water, and navigate through the wilderness. It’s a great way to connect with nature and challenge yourself in a new and exciting way.

12. Paragliding

Where: Various locations in County Fermanagh

What to Expect: For the ultimate adrenaline rush, try paragliding over the stunning landscapes of County Fermanagh. Soar high above the ground and enjoy panoramic views of the lakes, forests, and hills. Local operators provide tandem flights, ensuring a safe and unforgettable experience.

Tips for Adventure Seekers:

  1. Safety First: Always prioritize safety by using proper equipment, following guidelines, and, if necessary, hiring professional guides or instructors.
  2. Weather Conditions: Check the weather forecast before planning your adventure. Some activities may be weather-dependent.
  3. Local Regulations: Ensure you are aware of and adhere to any local regulations or restrictions related to your chosen activity.
  4. Fitness Level: Choose activities that match your fitness level and experience to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
  5. Respect Nature: Preserve the natural beauty of Enniskillen by practicing Leave No Trace principles and respecting wildlife.

Enniskillen offers a wealth of extreme sports and adventurous activities that cater to thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re exploring underground caves, riding the waves, or soaring through the sky, you’re sure to have an exhilarating experience in this beautiful part of Northern Ireland.

Culinary Experiences: Cooking Local Recipes in Your Self-Catering Apartment

Staying in a self-catering apartment in Enniskillen offers the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culinary scene. By preparing local recipes in the comfort of your accommodation, you can enjoy delicious meals made from fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Here are some traditional Irish recipes and tips to help you create a memorable culinary experience during your stay.

1. Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F) and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Make a well in the center and gradually add the buttermilk, mixing until you have a soft dough.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
  5. Shape the dough into a round loaf and place it on the baking sheet. Cut a deep cross on top of the loaf.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

2. Irish Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg lamb shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups beef or lamb stock
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, brown the lamb chunks over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook until they are softened.
  3. Add the carrots and potatoes to the pot.
  4. Pour in the stock and add the thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

3. Boxty (Irish Potato Pancakes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated raw potato
  • 1 cup mashed potato
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter or oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix the grated raw potato, mashed potato, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. Beat the egg and buttermilk together, then add to the potato mixture. Mix until you have a thick batter.
  3. Heat a small amount of butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and flatten into pancakes.
  5. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or butter.

4. Seafood Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 500 ml fish stock
  • 200 ml cream
  • 200 g mixed seafood (such as salmon, cod, shrimp)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the onion, garlic, and celery until softened.
  2. Add the potatoes and carrot, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in the fish stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the mixed seafood and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the seafood is cooked through.
  5. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

5. Irish Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup of the sugar and the sliced apples.
  4. In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon on top.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Shopping for Local Ingredients

To make your cooking experience truly authentic, source your ingredients from local markets and shops in Enniskillen:

Erneside Shopping Centre – Offers a variety of grocery stores where you can find fresh produce and local specialties.

Fermanagh Farmers Market – Held on the first Saturday of every month, this market is a great place to buy fresh, locally-sourced ingredients directly from farmers and producers.

O’Doherty’s Fine Meats – A renowned local butcher offering high-quality meats, perfect for your Irish stew or other meat-based dishes.

The Buttermarket – Not only an arts and crafts centre, but also a place to find local delicacies and artisan food products.

By preparing these traditional Irish recipes in your self-catering apartment, you can enjoy a taste of Enniskillen’s culinary heritage. The experience of cooking with local ingredients will enhance your appreciation of the region’s culture and provide a memorable aspect of your holiday.