Northern Ireland’s County Fermanagh is a water wonderland. While this county doesn’t have a coastline, a third of it is covered by lakes, rivers and waterways, all ready and waiting to be explored.
Drop anchor at tiny islands where you won’t see another soul, find waterfalls deep underground and walk in the steps of historic lords and ladies as you discover ancient ruined castles.
Whether you’re on hiking or mountain biking trails, kayaking adventures or water safari boat tours, County Fermanagh is the perfect place for nature-loving families to spend a short break.
1. Lough Erne
County Fermanagh is the least populated part of Northern Ireland, so it’s little surprise this place is all about breath-taking surroundings. No visitor can skip past Lough Erne, and its 300 square miles of water. Depending on your family interests, you can book into a plush resort and soak up the scenery, or adventure out onto the lake for a variety of watersports.
2. Marble Arch Caves
Surprise your brood with even more natural beauty, this time found deep underground. The Marble Arch Caves, with their subterranean rivers, waterfalls and winding passageways, sit at the foot of Cuilcagh Mountain and make for an unforgettable day trip. Hard hats are mandatory, as is an appetite for exploration!
3. Enniskillen Castle
Aside from lakes and caves, County Fermanagh is also castle country. And Enniskillen Castle, on the banks of the River Erne, is a particular highlight. Explore its chequered 600-year history walking its turrets and venturing into the castle’s two museums.
1. Island hopping on Lough Erne
Looking for the most unforgettable County Fermanagh experience? It has to be island hopping on the picturesque Lough Erne lakelands. Hire your own cruiser, jump in a kayak or join a commercial boat trip — whichever suits your family style, and budget, more. There’s over 150 beautiful islands to tour, and you can even set up camp for the night — a real back to nature experience.
2. Uncover local mysteries
Once docked, there are ancient stories to discover on the region’s islands, too. From the stone figures in the ruins of a 12th century church on White Island, to the age-old Celtic carvings in the cemetery on Boa, this region has a mystical past the whole family will love uncovering.
3. Embark on a seafood adventure
County Fermanagh boasts some of the freshest seafood for miles around. Take your pick of fish restaurants and feast the day away.
Or if you and the kids would prefer to hook your own, there’s no doubt that County Fermanagh is the place to be. Lough Erne is so well known for its trout, pike and salmon fishing, that there’s an international fishing festival held here every May.
While winters never get that cold, you can’t beat spring or summertime in County Fermanagh. The weather will be at its best, making it the perfect time for soaking in those gorgeous landscapes.
Exploring nature is much more fun when you’ve got the right gear. For adventurous trips to County Fermanagh, walking boots are a must. And if watersports are on the agenda, sunscreen is a good idea, too. Otherwise, bring layers and a raincoat as the good old Irish weather can (and does) change unexpectedly.
County Fermanagh is almost right in the middle of both Belfast and Dublin, so if you’re catching a domestic flight from elsewhere in the UK, you’ve got options. Both routes take around 1.5-2 hours to drive, and there’s plenty of places to rent a car in both cities.
Once you’ve arrived, there’s a decent bus network in County Fermanagh — and you can always arrange a taxi boat! — so you don’t need to take the car with you every time you want to explore.
Family friendly campsites