Trip idea: Cycling the Kingfisher Trail

Lough MacNean, County Fermanagh

Grab your panniers. The 298 mile long Kingfisher Trail brings you on quiet, fully signposted public roads, framed by lush landscapes, lakefronts and an eclectic mix of don't-miss sights

The trail naturally falls into two main loops, so it can be cycled as two separate routes or as one continuous figure of eight. The scenery is always beautiful and often spectacular, with wonderful panoramas over Upper and Lower Lough Erne, Lough MacNean and Lough Allen, opening out from many vantage points along the way. Enjoy.

Get the full Kingfisher Trail map from Sustrans.

The Kingfisher Cycling Trail

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The Northern Loop

Take the slow road through the tranquil lakelands of County Fermanagh with grand country houses, incredible caves and great places to eat and drink along the way.

A cycling 19 mins
Enniskillen Castle

Craft, castles and calm waters in Enniskillen

Soft shades of green and navy-coloured waters meet craggy grey granite in the town of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, where a 16th century castle overlooks the rippling River Erne. Popular with boating enthusiasts, take a look inside the castle, home to the Fermanagh County Museum; wander around the Buttermarket Courtyard, with its craft shops and galleries; or take a break and watch the traffic glide by on the water.

Don't miss:

Enniskillen might seem like an unlikely place to find sublime Greek food, but Dollakis Restaurant has gained a sturdy reputation for the quality of its cooking. Don't miss it.

B cycling 58 mins
Florence Court, County Fermanagh
Florence Court

18th century beauty at Florence Court

In the green heartlands of County Fermanagh lies Florence Court. Once the home of the Earls of Enniskillen, this elegant house embodies the style and charm of another era. And if it’s romance you’re after, you’ll certainly find it here. Swathed in history, surrounded by exquisite grounds and filled with meticulous plasterwork, the house was named after the wife of Sir John Cole, who first built a property here in the 18th century. Judging by what stands in her name, she must have been quite a lady. 

If you have more time:

At the edge of the estate is the beautifully located Tullymill Restaurant, a great stop for lunch.

C cycling 38 mins
Marble Arch Caves
Marble Arch Caves

Embark on an underground adventure

Man-made beauty gives way to the forces of nature next at the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, one of the finest show caves in Europe. Enter into this subterranean limestone wonderworld and you'll be blown away by the rivers, waterfalls, rock formations and winding passages. Historically, the caves had been treated with superstition by the local population until a young French explorer ventured inside in 1895. 90 years later, the caves opened to the public, and have been a top attraction ever since. 

If you have more time:

Book a table for some fine dining at the award-winning MacNean House – a destination-restaurant in County Cavan.

D cycling 2 hrs 20mins
Beleek pottery making in practise
Belleek Pottery

Crafting a piece of history at Belleek

The Kingfisher Trail continues through the glorious lakelands to Belleek Pottery on the banks of the River Erne. One of the world's oldest operating potters, Belleek was defined by the perfectionism of its founder, John Caldwell Bloomfield, who declared that any piece with even the tiniest flaw should be destroyed. This principle has been strictly adhered to since 1857 with Belleek's reputation famous all over the world. Don't miss the tour here, which will bring you through the history, as well as the process of crafting a piece of Belleek Fine Parian china using traditional methods passed down through the generations.

If you have more time:

At Finn Lough in Fermanagh, the Bubble Domes are much more than a run-of-the-mill bed for the night. With transparent walls between you, the forest, and the star-filled sky, you can tuck yourself into a four-poster bed and simply doze away.

Devenish Island
Devenish Island

Be wowed by an ancient monastic site

It's not hard to see why St Molaise chose Devenish Island. Back in the 6th century, this place must have been the epitome of tranquillity, and it still is today. Boasting a church and round tower, the island overlooks the quiet waters of Lough Erne and is surrounded by shades of an almost impossible green. Despite the fact that it was raided by the Vikings in the 9th century and burned in the 12th, it remains one of the finest monastic sites in Ireland.

If you have more time:

Heading back to Enniskillen? Chill out with a craft beer at the Tap House, a fabulous gastropub in the town.

The Southern Loop

The Southern Loop

With traditional music and dance, the source of the majestic Shannon River, and nature trails around one of Fermanagh's most beautiful estates, it's definitely worth your while to keep cycling.

F cycling
Carrick on Shannon
Cruisers abound in Carrick-on-Shannon

Water, water everywhere for everyone to enjoy

A county town with a strong connection to the water, Carrick-on-Shannon stands prettily at a fording point on the River Shannon. The scenic marina and pretty boardwalk are a hive of activity, with local boaters stopping in for lunch in some of the town's colourful pubs, restaurants and cafés. It's also a hub of the Kingfisher Trail. Make sure to visit Costello's Chapel – reputed to be the second smallest church in the world. It was built in 1877 as a mark of devotion to the wife of Edward Costello and stands at only 16ft long.


Drop into The Market Yard, a lovely old courtyard space with a choice of cafés and restaurants. 

G cycling 42 mins
Lake walks around Drumshanbo

Traditions hold strong in a pretty village

When it comes to scenic locations, it doesn't get much better than Drumshanbo. Perched at the tip of Lough Allen, this charming little village is overlooked by Sliabh an Iarainn – "the Iron Mountain". Famed for its beautifully preserved traditional buildings, there are a number of scenic trails radiating out into the surrounding countryside and lough if you fancy downing your bike for a while. And if you're looking to dine out on hearty seasonal foods in charming surrounds, then it has to be the village's own Sweet Geranium Café.

If you have more time:

Come at festival time: If you pass through here in the third week of July, you'll find the Joe Mooney Summer School for Irish Music in full swing.

H cycling 2 hrs 27 mins
Cuilcagh Mountain

From ancient mountains to mysterious waters

Formed over 300 million years ago, the Cuilcagh Mountain is a dominant presence as you head north. Walk along the Legnabrocky Trail from the limestone base of the mountain and climb the stepped wooden boardwalk to 700 metres above sea level. You'll pass through a geological timeframe that spans eight million years. Trust us: the stunning views from the top are a just reward. The Shannon Pot is nearby, too. Thought to be the very source of the mighty River Shannon – a pool of water meandering to the Atlantic, it ripples with legend and an importance that extends back to Celtic times.

If you have more time:

Try your hand at canoeing, archery, caving or diving at the Corralea Activity Centre!

I cycling 1 hr 45 mins
Castle Coole

Lavish beauty surrounded by nature

Just outside Enniskillen, set within beautiful parkland and overlooking the glassy waters of Lough Coole is the magnificent 18th century mansion of Castle Coole. An architectural masterpiece decorated in French Empire style, the house was designed to impress inside and out. In the grounds, nature blazes with exceptional colours throughout the year, from bluebells in spring to a blaze of burnished golds in autumn. Brunch is a particular treat at the estate's Tallow Tea Room, which is also a source of some excellent cakes.

Don't miss:

Tour Lough Erne on the Lady of the Lake, where you can enjoy the views over a three-course dinner. Take a private cruise to celebrate a special occasion, or try their Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise to put your sleuthing skills to the test!

Castle ruins on Crom Estate

Nature takes centre stage at Crom

If there's one place guaranteed to make you stop in your tracks, it's Crom Castle. Set on the shores of Lough Erne, this incredible 19th century pile enjoys an almost ridiculously romantic location surrounded by woodland, tranquil islands and castle ruins. Follow the path to the Old Castle where one of Ireland's oldest yew trees sits – it's reputed to be over 1,000 years old. Then enjoy afternoon tea at the visitor centre. Bliss.

If you have more time:

Treat yourself to a cookery lesson at the award-winning Belle Isle Cookery School, before dining out on what you've learnt!   

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