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Fri, 15th December 2017
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About Fermanagh

One of the smallest counties in Ireland and often referred to as Northern Ireland's lake district, County Fermanagh is the perfect holiday destination for cruising and other water based holidays. The 70 km of lakes situated in the county are now linked to the Shannon system in the Irish Republic via the Shannon-Erne Waterway Canal, making the entire system the longest navigable inland waterway in Europe.

Despite early Christian missionaries settling in Fermanagh, the religion was slow to penetrate the local pagan culture. Viking and Norman invaders couldn't subdue the region and even the Tudors were unable to do so until after 1600 - this was when Enniskillen fell to the English. Planters quickly moved in and a series of castles around Lough Hyne were established. Enniskillen was soon transformed into a centre of colonial power. Strategically its importance to the British led to the town possessing two royal regiments.

Heightened by its predominantly Catholic population, Fermanagh, at the time of Partition was slow to be drawn into Northern Ireland. In 1921 the county returned a nationalist majority in local government elections, however the abolition of proportional representation in 1922 saw all this change with a subsequent loyalist majority.

A useful centre for activities on Upper and Lower Lough Erne, Enniskillen is close to the border with a character all of its own. An island in the waterway, the town centre connects the upper and lower loughs. Attractions within the town include the Fermanagh History and Heritage Centre and the Regimental Museum of the Iniskilling Fusiliers. The Heritage Centre contains artefacts on local farming and manufacturing, whilst the museum is packed with medals, guns and uniforms of the fusiliers and the dragoon guards.

Other attractions in the area to look out for include:

Florence Court
One of Ulster's most important eighteenth century houses, Florence Court was built by the Earls of Enniskillen. A magnificent three storey mansion, it features fine rococo plasterwork, it has a 1780s walled garden and tea room.

Belleek Pottery
Situated on the banks of the River Erne, visiting Belleek is like a step back in time. The methods and techniques developed by the very first craftsmen are still followed today. A video presentation in the audio visual theatre takes visitors through the production process before the guided tour begins.

Sheelin Lace Museum
All lace in this museum dates from between 1850 and 1900. Exhibits on display include Irish crochet wedding dress, veils, shawls and parasols. The adjoining Sheelin Antiques stock a selection of ruby glass, delph bottles, paintings, oil lamps etc.

Belleek Pottery
Situated on the banks of the River Erne, visiting Belleek is like a step back in time. The methods and techniques developed by the very first craftsmen are still followed today. A video presentation in the audio visual theatre takes visitors through the production process before the guided tour begins.

Castle Coole
Coole Castle is the stateliest of all the National Trust's houses in Northern Ireland. Designed by James Wyatt for the Earls of Belmore, and completed in 1798 it a perfect example of late eighteenth century Hellenism and features fine furnishings and plasterwork.

Marble Arch Caves
The Marble Arch Caves at Florence Court are one of Fermanagh and Northern Ireland's premier visitor attractions. A tour of the system lasts just over an hour beginning with a boat journey along a subterranean river, then on through the cave's brilliantly lit chambers.

Fermanagh Crystal
At Fermanagh's only crystal factory you can watch craftsmen at work, perhaps even on your own commissioned handcut piece!

Ennniskillen Castle
This famous castle was once the stronghold of Gaelic chieftains, the Maguires and later a Plantation Castle and Army Barracks. The castle has exhibitions on the Maguires and the natural and social history of Fermanagh.

Tully Castle
A fortified house and bawn built in 1613 by Sir John Hume and burned by the Maguires in 1641. Features of the castle include a formal garden and visitor centre.

 



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