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Counties Fermanagh & Tyrone

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© Lonely Planet Publications
676

lonelyplanet.com

COUNTY FERMANAGH

Counties Fermanagh
& Tyrone

ENNISKILLEN
pop 11,500

The ancient landscape of Fermanagh is shaped by ice and water, with rugged hills rising
above quilted plains of half-drowned drumlins and shimmering, reed-fringed lakes. A glance
at the map shows the county is around one-third water – as the locals will tell you, the lakes
are in Fermanagh for six months of the year; for the other six, Fermanagh is in the lakes.

The limestone ridges to the south of Lough Erne are riddled with caves – at Marble Arch
you can explore an underground river; the higher hills are swathed with blanket bog, a
rare and endangered habitat. This is all grand walking country, but there are also rainy-day
attractions, such as the contrasting stately homes of Florence Court and Castle Coole, and
the world-famous pottery at Belleek.
County Tyrone – from Tír Eoghain (Land of Owen, a legendary chieftain) – is the homeland
of the O’Neill clan, and is dominated by the tweed-tinted moorlands of the Sperrin Mountains,
whose southern flanks are dotted with prehistoric sites. Apart from the hiking opportunities
offered by these heather-clad hills, the county’s main attraction is the Ulster American Folk
Park, a fascinating outdoor museum celebrating Ulster’s historic links with the USA.

HIGHLIGHTS
„ Climb to the Lost World Hike over rare

blanket bog to the remote summit of Cuilcagh Mountain (p688)
„ Faces from the Past Ponder the meaning

Ulster
American
Folk Park

of the strange stone figures on White Island
(p684) and Boa Island (p685)

Bank of Ireland (%6632 2136; 7 Townhall St)
Eason (%6632 4341; 10 High St; h9am-5.30pm

Boa Island;
White Island

„ Blazing Paddles Hire a canoe and explore

the reed-fringed backwaters of Lough Erne
(p687)
„ The American Connection Learn about the

Marble
Arch Caves

Lough Erne

Cuilcagh
Mountain

historical links between Ireland and the USA
at the Ulster American Folk Park (p690)
„ POPULATION: 227,000

The main street changes name half a dozen
times between the bridges at either end; the
prominent clock tower marks the town centre. The other principal street is Wellington
Rd, south of and parallel to the main street,
where you’ll find the bus station, tourist office and car parking. If you’re driving, try to
avoid rush hour – the bridge at the west end
is a traffic bottleneck.

Information

„ River of Adventure Follow the course of an

underground river as it flows through the
Marble Ar...
COUNTIES FERMANAGH
& TYRONE
COUNTIES FERMANAGH
& TYRONE
lonelyplanet.com COUNTY FERMANAGH •• Enniskillen
The ancient landscape of Fermanagh is shaped by ice and water, with rugged hills rising
above quilted plains of half-drowned drumlins and shimmering, reed-fringed lakes. A glance
at the map shows the county is around one-third water – as the locals will tell you, the lakes
are in Fermanagh for six months of the year; for the other six, Fermanagh is in the lakes.
This watery maze is a natural playground for anglers – the loughs and rivers are stuffed
with trout and pike – and for boaters. You can hire a motor cruiser and spend a week or
two navigating the scenic waterways of Lough Erne and the River Shannon, which together
form a 750km network of rivers, lakes and canals. If you prefer your boats without engines,
the 50km Lough Erne Canoe Trail is a paddler’s paradise.
The limestone ridges to the south of Lough Erne are riddled with caves – at Marble Arch
you can explore an underground river; the higher hills are swathed with blanket bog, a
rare and endangered habitat. This is all grand walking country, but there are also rainy-day
attractions, such as the contrasting stately homes of Florence Court and Castle Coole, and
the world-famous pottery at Belleek.
County Tyrone – from Tír Eoghain (Land of Owen, a legendary chieftain) – is the homeland
of the O’Neill clan, and is dominated by the tweed-tinted moorlands of the Sperrin Mountains,
whose southern flanks are dotted with prehistoric sites. Apart from the hiking opportunities
offered by these heather-clad hills, the county’s main attraction is the Ulster American Folk
Park, a fascinating outdoor museum celebrating Ulster’s historic links with the USA.
Counties Fermanagh
& Tyrone
COUNTY FERMANAGH
ENNISKILLEN
pop 11,500
Perched amid the web of waterways that link
Upper and Lower Lough Erne, Enniskillen
(Inis Ceithleann, meaning Caitlin’s Island)
is an appealing town with a mile-long main
street that rides the roller-coaster spine of
the island’s drumlin. (The locals say you’re
only a true Enniskilliner if you were born
‘between the bridges’; that is, on the town’s
central island.) Its attractive waterside set-
ting, bustling with boats in summer, plus a
range of lively pubs and restaurants, make
Enniskillen a good base for exploring Upper
and Lower Lough Erne, Florencecourt and
the Marble Arch Caves.
Though neither was born here, both
Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett were pupils
at Enniskillen’s Portora Royal School (Wilde
from 1864 to 1871, Beckett from 1919 to
1923); it was here that Beckett first studied
French, a language he would later write in.
The town’s name is also prominent in the
history of the Troubles – on Poppy Day (11
November) in 1987 an IRA bomb killed 11
innocent people during a service at Enniskil-
len’s war memorial.
Orientation
The main street changes name half a dozen
times between the bridges at either end; the
prominent clock tower marks the town cen-
tre. The other principal street is Wellington
Rd, south of and parallel to the main street,
where you’ll find the bus station, tourist of-
fice and car parking. If you’re driving, try to
avoid rush hour – the bridge at the west end
is a traffic bottleneck.
Information
Bank of Ireland (
%
6632 2136; 7 Townhall St)
Eason (
%
6632 4341; 10 High St;
h
9am-5.30pm
Mon-Sat) Local-interest books and maps.
Enniskillen Library (
%
6632 2886; Hall’s Lane;
h
9.15am-5.15pm Mon, Wed & Fri, 9.15am-7.30pm Tue
& Thu, 9.15am-1pm & 2-5pm Sat) Internet access £1.50
per 30min.
Post office (3 High St) In Dolan’s Centra grocery store.
Tourist Information Centre (
%
6632 3110; www
.fermanagh.gov.uk; Wellington Rd;
h
9am-7pm Mon-Fri,
10am-6pm Sat, 11am-5pm Sun Jul & Aug, 9am-5.30pm
Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm Sat, 11am-5pm Sun Easter-Jun &
Sep, 9am-5.30pm Mon-Fri & 10am-2pm Sat & Sun Oct,
9am-5.30pm Mon-Fri Nov-Easter) Books accommodation,
changes money, sells fishing licences and provides a postal
and fax service.
Ulster Bank (
%
6632 4034; 16 Darling St)
Sights
Enniskillen Castle
(
%
6632 5000; www.enniskillencastle
.co.uk; Castle Barracks; adult/child £2.95/1.95;
h
2-5pm Mon
& 10am-5pm Tue-Fri year-round, also 2-5pm Sat May-Sep &
2-5pm Sun Jul & Aug;
w
), a former stronghold of
the 16th-century Maguire chieftains, guards
the western end of the town’s central island,
its twin-turreted Watergate looming over pass-
ing fleets of cabin cruisers. Within the walls
you’ll find the Fermanagh County Museum, which
has displays on the county’s history, archaeol-
ogy, landscape and wildlife. The 15th-century
Keep contains the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Regimental Museum, full of guns, uniforms
and medals – including eight Victoria Crosses
awarded in WWI – and is dedicated to the
regiment which was raised at the castle in
1689 to support the army of William I.
In Forthill Park, at the eastern end of
town, stands Cole’s Monument (adult/child £1/50p;
h
1.30-3pm mid-Apr–Sep)
. It commemorates Sir
Galbraith Lowry-Cole (1772-1842), who was
one of Wellington’s generals and the son of
the first earl of Enniskillen. Climb the 108
steps inside the column for a good view of
the surrounding area (tickets on sale at the
Enniskillen Tourist Information Centre).
Activities
The Kingfisher Trail is a waymarked, long-
distance cycling trail that starts in Enniskil-
len and wends its way through the back
roads of counties Fermanagh, Leitrim, Cavan
and Monaghan. The full route is around
370km long, but a shorter loop, starting and
finishing in Enniskillen, and travelling via
Kesh, Belleek, Garrison, Belcoo and the vil-
lage of Florencecourt, is only 115km – easily
done in two days with an overnight stay at
Belleek. You can get a trail map from the
Enniskillen Tourist Information Centre.
You can hire bikes from the Lakeland Canoe
Centre (
%
6632 4250; www.arkoutdooradventure.com;
Castle Island; half-/full-day £10/15). They also rent out
two-person canoes (£20 for two hours).
You can buy fishing permits and licences
from the tourist information office, or
Home, Field and Stream ( p681 ).
POPULATION: 227,000 AREA : 5274 SQ KM
HIGHLIGHTS
Climb to the Lost World Hike over rare
blanket bog to the remote summit of Cuil-
cagh Mountain ( p688 )
Faces from the Past Ponder the meaning
of the strange stone figures on White Island
( p684 ) and Boa Island ( p685 )
River of Adventure Follow the course of an
underground river as it flows through the
Marble Arch Caves ( p688 )
Blazing Paddles Hire a canoe and explore
the reed-fringed backwaters of Lough Erne
( p687 )
The American Connection Learn about the
historical links between Ireland and the USA
at the Ulster American Folk Park ( p690 )
Folk Park
American
Mountain
Boa Island;
White Island
Arch Caves
Marble
Cuilcagh
Lough Erne
Ulster
© Lonely Planet Publications
676 677
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