County Fermanagh is a water-lover's paradise. Strange, maybe, for a county without a coastline but here’s the thing: Fermanagh has an amazing abundance of lakes, rivers, inlets and waterways. Either island-hop via kayak or canoe, take a tranquil cruise, cycle waterside or trek the mountains. This is a place with a rich history. Think rock carvings dating from 3000BC, majestic estates and mysterious island sculptures.
This is also a place where organic pigs live on their very own island. Really. All sounds a little unusual, doesn’t it? Well, the Fermanagh Lakelands have always been a little different. Perhaps that’s why we like it so much…
A taste of Fermanagh's finest
Fermanagh is known for its food and drink, too – like the whole of Northern Ireland. Sit down to a seafood supper or a sizzling Ulster Fry and you can be sure that the food is free-range and locally sourced. Take Pat O’Doherty, whose black bacon sandwiches are legendary. Fancy whipping up your own gourmet meal? The stunningly located Belle Isle Cookery School boasts a state-of-the-art kitchen and private cookery lessons mean that you don’t just cook a culinary masterpiece – you eat it, too. Local specialities like champ (mashed potato with milk, butter and spring onion) and boxty (a starchy potato cake) are more must-tastes.
Exploring Fermanagh's islands – and beyond
Fermanagh's Lough Erne is home to many little islands, each as striking as the last. Explore White Island, famous for its curious stone figures that are believed to be almost 2,000 years old. Located in the remains of a 12th-century church, these six strange figurines apparently represent pilgrims. Equally haunting is Boa Island’s Janus figure (400-800AD). Carved by the Celts, this mysterious figure is known for making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end – look closely and you’ll see the statue has two faces, one male and one female.
Journey to the centre of the earth
But it’s not just islands that Fermanagh has to offer. The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is the home of one of the finest show caves in Europe. Why? Situated at the foothills of Cuilcagh Mountain, this subterranean world is filled with rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers. Check out the nearby Cavan Burren, too – a remarkable limestone plateau that dates from prehistoric times, and is part of Ireland’s Ancient East. If you’re looking for another adventure, we recommend Lusty Beg Island, where off-track driving, archery and canoeing are all on the menu.