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Aran Inspired

Enniskillen Town Hall

The copper dome of the town hall clock tower can be seen from anywhere in the town of Enniskillen. It stands on a hilltop, a landmark in the county town and commerce centre of Fermanagh. Designed and built in renaissance style, the front of the building is made from dark limestone, while the bright cream Dungannon sandstone columns, cornices, and statues provide a decorative contrast to the appearance of the exterior. The finishing touch is applied by the hand carved oak main entrance doors. Inside, the lobby features a finely detailed floor mosaic that depicts the Enniskillen coat of arms. It survived a bomb blast in 1972, unlike the remainder of the floor, which had to be replaced.

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Belleek Pottery

On the edge of lower Lough Erne, a the northwest Ireland border, is the home of Belleek Pottery, where world famous china is still hand made, much the same way it was in the 1850s. The beginnings of the company make for an interesting story. The founder, John Caldwell Bloomfield, whitewashed his cottage along the Erne River using a white powder that he found on the property. People passing by commented on the extraordinary glow, texture and shine of the finish, so Bloomfield investigated the contents further by having the ingredients examined. It turned out that they made up a perfect recipe for porcelain.

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The Marble Arch Caves

The Marble Arch Cave complex at the village of Florencecourt in County Fermanagh and have a magical atmosphere, reminiscent of Stephen Speilberg's movie The Goonies. The underground Claddagh River runs through the cave's winding passages, encountering lofty chambers with huge stalagmites and stalactites, and a glorious waterfall. Visitors can take the "wet entrance" to the cave via a guided boat tour, which lasts for 10 minutes, before disembarking at the Grand Gallery, where they can explore the caves on foot. The entire tour takes around 75 minutes.

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Eniskillen Castle Museums

Blog PostsIn the town of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, this strategic and well-preserved stronghold today houses two museums -- the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Museum and the Fermanagh County Museum. Fermanagh County Museum opened its doors in 1977. It features award-winning exhibits depicting County Fermanagh’s rich history and archaeological treasures, and covers topics like the Viking invasions, the plantation period, and World War II. The Inniskillings Museum displays uniforms, weapons, photos and artwork related to the local military regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers -- including the bugle used in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.

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Lower Lough Erne

The Lough Erne vicinity is filled with panoramic views, surrounded by wooded hillsides. The entire waterway is nearly 50 miles long, and its still, clear waters make it a paradise for boaters and fishermen. The area is steeped in history, as early settlers came here to enjoy the safety and tranquility of Lough Erne’s many inlets and the thick forests of its shores. Island castles dot the landscape, evidence of a strong population during the plantation period of Irish history. Today, Lough Erne is widely recognized across Europe as a peaceful, clean and uncrowded waterway. Boaters and anglers as well as those who just enjoy observing the beauty of nature frequently visit it.

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Castle Archdale Country Park

Castle Archdale Country Park occupies 230 acres along the shores of Lower Lough Erne. The Manor House was built in 1773, and not much of it remains, although some of the estate's original outbuildings are still visible. The park contains many natural attractions, such as ponds rich with resident wildfowl, a meadow of wildflowers, nature trails and butterfly gardens, and a protected red deer area. Archdale Centre is located in the former courtyard area of the estate and houses exhibitions focused on the natural beauty of County Fermanagh, as well as the area's agricultural history. The Centre also features an exhibit called "Castle Archdale at War" which chronicles the role of the estate during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II.

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Castle Archdale Islands

In the northeastern part of Lower Lough Erne, just off the coast of Archdale Country Park sit a group of tiny islands. They are actually the tops of small hills, or drumlins, created during the formation of Lough Erne. The islands are a beautiful sight, especially in autumn when the rare spindle trees appear with dark red leaves and bright pink fruits, accented by the golden aspens. Garden warblers make their homes here, rare birds nesting within the dense foliage. The most common trees in the park are the oak and ash, and they stand out from the surrounding forests, which contain an abundance of conifers. These islands once had a rich agricultural potential, but are now long deserted, as evidenced by old irrigation ditches and the ruins of what were once farmhouses.

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Devenish Island Monastery

Devenish Island encompasses an area of roughly 70 acres and is located in the southern part of Lower Lough Erne. It contains one of the finest surviving examples of the medieval round tower in all of Ireland. In addition, there are ruins of a monastic settlement, including two churches, the monastery and an oratory, all in close proximity on the southern end of the island. The Devenish Island monastic community was founded in the 6th century by Saint Molaise, who was described as a man who lived an extraordinary life that was touched repeatedly by the supernatural. Legends say that once, when a snowstorm struck while he was in the midst of an important journey, no snow accumulated on his tent as it had on those of his fellow travelers.

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Florence Court

This Early Georgian mansion was built in 1730 by the Cole family, who became the Earls of Enniskillen, and named after the wife of John Cole. Set amid the Cuilcagh Mountains, its white stone facade stands in striking contrast to the verdant green of the forests. It is considered one of the best-kept 18th century houses in Ulster. There is a central core, with two wings that were added circa 1760. The mansion is highly ornamented in Palladian style, with keystones, balustrades and traditional windows.

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Castle Coole

This estate served as the summer residence of Armar Lowry-Corry, also known as Lord Belmore, a distinguished member of Parliament. It was completed in the year 1798. The Castle Coole grounds occupy 1200 acres in rural County Fermanagh, a naturally beautiful location set amid ancient oaks and clear lakes. The mansion was built at a cost of the equivalent of 20 million pounds in today's currency. The building work and subsequent maintenance was done by local people from the nearby market and county town of Enniskillen. Castle Coole was designed by architect James Wyatt, in Neoclassical Georgian architectural style. He replaced the original architect, Richard Johnston, when only the basement of the house had been completed.

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