© Walkers' Home Swap, 2013
All the places and activities included on this page are within 30 minutes drive from Kesh. They are only a sample – there is lots more to do and see.
We live in an area surrounded by Lough Erne, rolling hills, forests and green fields. Lough Erne, with 154 islands, is one of the most uncongested lakes in Europe and is an ideal place for fishing. The canal between the Shannon and the Erne has now been re-opened. It is possible to hire boats and cruisers and spend some time enjoying the waterways.
Here are some links to videos of Fermanagh:
Boating on Lough Erne
Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark
National Trust properties – Florencecourt, Castlecoole and Crom estate
Golf – There are numerous golf courses within a short driving distance. The new course designed by Nick Faldo is 30 minutes drive www.loughernegolfresort.com/golf.php.
Cycling – We are close to the Kingfisher trail and local forests for cycling. More details about the trail can be found here www.cycletoursireland.com
Walking – there are a number of lovely walks around County Fermanagh and indeed aross Nothern Ireland. Follow this link for more details www.walkni.com
Belleek Pottery – Visit the world famous pottery and see craftsmen design and make the china. There is an extensive visitors centre on site including a restaurant, museum and shop. Tel: +(44) 028 6865 8501. Follow this link to find out more www.belleek.ie
Castle Archdale Country Park – This country park (free admission) extends to cover 230 acres along the shores of Lower Lough Erne and offers a marina, youth hostel, caravan site, pony trekking, cycling, arboretum, red deer park, nature trails, and butterfly park.
It has recently added a World War 2 museum detailing how the park and Lough was used as a base for Catalinas during that time. Castle Archdale is based on the demesne of the Archdale Manor House, which was built in 1773, of which now only the courtyard buildings remain.
Boats are available for hire for those wishing to explore the nearby islands, including Devenish Island and White Island. Follow this link to find out more and take a virtual tour www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/de/places_to_visit_home/parks/archdale.htm
Marble Arch Caves – Visit one of the finest show caves in Europe and explore a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls and chambers. Tours last for 75 mins. and a boat trip. Tel: +(44) 028 6634 8855. Click here for more details www.marblearchcaves.net
Castle Caldwell Forest Park – The park features ruins of an old castle, nature trails, wildfowl hide and picnic sites. However, the fiddler’s stone at the entrance to the park is what it is mainly known for. Other forest walks include: Florencecourt and Ely Lodge.
Enniskillen Castle – Located on the banks of the Erne (in Enniskillen) the Heritage Centre exhibits the collections of the County Museum. The Castle Keep houses the Museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the displays span the history of the Castle and the town.
Castle Coole – The stateliest of all the National Trust’s houses in Northern Ireland. Designed by James Wyatt for the Earls of Belmore, and completed 1798; a perfect example of late 18th-century Hellenism with a fine Palladian front. Fine furnishings and plasterwork. Mature oak woodland and lake. Wheelchair access. Sympathetic hearing scheme. Guided tour only. Tea room, shop. National Trust property. Other trust properties include Florencecourt and Crom. Click on this link to find out more about Castle Coole www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-castlecoole
Florencecourt House – there is something for all the family at this warm and welcoming 18th-century property, the former home of the Earls of Enniskillen. The house enjoys a peaceful setting in west Fermanagh, with a dramatic backdrop of mountains and forests. There are glorious walks to enjoy, as well as fine vistas and play areas. There is even a charming walled garden. Every aspect of life in this classical Irish house, with its fine interiors and exquisite decoration, are brought to life on fascinating guided tours. Outside there are numerous places to explore, including sawmill, ice house and thatched summerhouse. Click on this link to find out more about Florencourt www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-florencecourt
Crom Estate – why not escape to this breathtaking 810-hectare (2,000-acre) demesne, set amid the romantic and tranquil landscape of Upper Lough Erne? One of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas, Crom’s ancient woodland and picturesque islands are home to many rare species. You could hire a boat and explore the islands or take a guided tour. Click on this link to find out more about Crom www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-cromestate
The Buttermarket – An area of craft and design, based in Enniskillen. Visit the workshops to watch the experts at work and purchase or commission unique pieces of work. Relax and enjoy a taste of traditional fare in the coffee shop.
Portora Royal School – Visit this famous school situated on the hill in Enniskillen, whose famous past pupils include Oscar Wilde.
Devenish Island – The most important of Lough Erne’s many island church settlements, Devenish was founded in the 6th century by St Molaise. There is a church, an oratory, and a round tower 26 m/85 ft high, built in the 12th century, and the remains of a 15th-century abbey. This beautiful and historic island is accessible by ferry from Trory or the MV Kestrel waterbus from Enniskillen town www.ehsni.gov.uk/devenish.shtml.
Boat trips on Lough Erne – Take the MV Kestrel from Enniskillen to Devenish Island to explore this unspoilt early Christian settlement, dominated by its 800 year-old Round Tower and ruined Abbey.
Cuilcagh Mountain Park – Explore this internationally important area of pristine blanket bog with its unique wildflowers and birdlife.
Tours – have a stroll round the county town of Enniskillen with one of the Fermanagh Heritage Tour Guides