For a county so steeped in water and water activities, you’ll be surprised at the massive range of things to do in County Fermanagh. From clifftop views to bridal veils and castle walls, there’s heaps here for everyone to get stuck into and draw inspiration from – these are just a few of our favourites.
Islands of magic and delight
Lough Erne’s vast expanses of water are one thing, but its plentiful islands are a whole other experience. They’ve drawn pilgrims, visitors and the plain curious for centuries, which means that a trip to them today is more rewarding that you might think. The cemetery on Boa Island is home to two unique stone idol carvings dating back to Celtic times. The larger is a fascinating Janus figure; the smaller, known as ‘Lustyman’, is thought to be a female. Both nearby White Island and Devenish Island are also filled with Celtic mythology and early Christian symbols, including a very well preserved round tower and cloisters on Devenish Island. Explore it all via a pleasant boat trip from Castle Archdale or hire your own kayak or canoe and paddle across.
Drive through Navar Forest
Any Fermanagh local will recommend the seven-mile drive through Navar Forest. The view from the car park at the top of the cliff looks over Lough Erne from Enniskillen to Donegal and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s one of the most amazing views you will ever see. Alternatively, you can walk along the boardwalk trails in the forest as they loop around the lakes before they begin the steady ascent up the slopes past the remains of ancient Irish crannogs and native forest up to the Magho Cliff.
See the prettiest shop in Northern Ireland
Swathes of antique lace, vintage clothes, bridal veils, jewellery and gloves will seduce you in a beautiful spectacular at the thatched Sheelin Lace Shop. Then go next door to the Sheelin Kitchen, and what might be the most decadent display of treats and desserts in the country.
Go castle hunting
Fermanagh has castles aplenty – proper castles, with turrets, follies and expansive gardens. Get your medieval tabard on and explore the hidden castles of Tully and Monea. Alternatively book a stay in the unbelievably beautiful Belle Isle Castle (4*), or live like a lord and lady with afternoon tea at Crom Castle. Enniskillen Castle sits right on the edge of the Erne guarding the town and is worth exploring – especially when its hosting one of the town’s many festivals.
Descend into the depths at the Marble Arch Caves
Unexplored until little over a century ago, the Marble Arch Caves feature stalactites, cavernous passages, underground pools and streams which have been formed and reformed as the water slowly dissolved the limestone bedrock over countless millennia. Go and explore the extensive caves on foot and by boat with one of the popular guided tours and you’ll discover a mind-boggling amount of fascinating facts about geology, geography and archaeology.
All aboard at the Railway Museum
Possibly the most must-not-miss experience in Fermanagh – The Headhunters Barbers Shop & Railway Museum has a truly marvellous collection of memorabilia that should fascinate everyone, not just railway enthusiasts. Hear how railways opened up the lives of Fermanagh people, and if you need a haircut you can get one of those too… but no pressure, and free entry, making it one of the most fun things to do in Fermanagh.
Paddle your way to heaven
Last and by no means least is the water. It’s everywhere in Fermanagh and you’ll find more ways to make the most of it here than anywhere else. Cabin cruisers, kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, launches, jet-skis and other craft are readily hired and offer easy and fun ways to take to rivers and lakes and find your way from jetty to marina, from town to island and all points in between. While you’re at it, pick up a fishing rod and have a try for the plentiful pike, roach, bream and hybrids for which the county is justifiably-famed. This place will have your heart forever – hook, line and sinker.