Natural beauty and history combine to create a special charm in this riverfront county located along the Erne. As the river spills into the Lough of the same name at the end of its journey, the landscape becomes covered with thick forests, broken by charming towns, historic castles, mysterious monastic ruins and fascinating caves reaching far below the earth's surface.
County Fermanagh is located in Ulster province, in an area known as the Lake District for good reason. It sits at the southwestern end of Northern Ireland, bounded by counties Monaghan, Leitrim, Cavan, and Donegal. Geographically, the county is made up of lakes, rivers, mountains and forests, giving it a distinct rural flavor.
Farms are plentiful, with dairy cows, sheep and other animals and their products contributing significantly to the local economy. Tourism also contributes heavily, especially along County Fermanagh's many beautiful waterways. Boat tours provide a popular method of travel for visitors, and the bountiful fish population makes the Lough Erne area a perfect vacation spot for the avid angler. The list of famous people who were born in or spent time in County Fermanagh includes
- Samuel Beckett, who studied here
- Gordon Wilson, famous Irish senator and peace advocate
- and playwright Oscar Wilde
Enniskillen is the County Town of Fermanagh, and features a beautiful, renaissance-style town hall building. This bustling commercial centre is also home to 17th century Enniskillen Castle, where two fine museums of local history can be found.
Lower Lough Erne is the setting of Archdale Castle and Archdale Country Park, along with the offshore Castle Archdale Islands. The park and islands are adjacent to unspoiled land where a variety of wild animals and plant life thrives.
Religious ruins from the 6th century can be visited on Devenish Island in the south of Lough Erne, and the Marble Arch Caves complex provides a view of the Ireland that lies beneath the earth's surface. The cave complex allows visitors to explore tunnels, chambers, and a number of unique underground passageways.
The elegance of country life in County Fermanagh is evident in the beauty of the manor house and grounds of Florence Court, the Cole family's 1730 Georgian mansion, complete with all the suitable and necessary Palladian ornamentation. The estate's grounds contain gardens filled with plants, including more than a few exotic varieties.
On the coast of Lower Lough Erne sits the famous Belleek Pottery factory, where unique porcelain china and gift items have been crafted since the 1850s, using many of the same tried and true methods. Over the years, the company has built a solid reputation with both customers and the community that is based on quality, service and hard work.
The county town, Enniskillen, can trace its early origins back into prehistoric times.
When Enniskillen Castle was built during the medieval period, the Maguires were the ruling family of most of its surrounding lands. In 1607, the English invaders arrived, and shortly afterward, the lands were transferred to planters who came to settle here. The town and castle survived a 1689 siege by Jacobites, and Enniskillen was widely regarded as a valuable defensive stronghold during the centuries that followed.
The more recent history of County Fermanagh records several fatal incidents in Enniskillen during the troubles, the turbulent period in the 1900s, including the 1987 Remembrance Day Bombing in which eleven people were killed.
Popular Fermanagh Surnames
Common names found in County Fermanagh include:
Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, by Frances Copratese