24 Hours in Fermanagh – The Best Places to Eat, Drink & Sleep
Though one of the smallest of the counties of Northern Ireland, Fermanagh has plenty to offer visitors. Dominated by rural countrysides and sweeping views, the main attractions take advantage of the natural beauty of the county.
Apart from the natural beauty of the area, Fermanagh is full of popular sites to visit. Historical sites like Enniskillen Castle or the monastic site at Devenish Island on Lower Lough Erne are open to visitors, as are cultural sites like the Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre. The latter has become an important part of the heritage of the area, and they’ve been producing their iconic pottery since 1857. UNESCO has recognized the Marble Arch Caves as a Global Geopark, but they’d be a must see even without that distinction. In addition to the natural marvel of the caves, the area is dotted with historically relevant sites, like Iron Age forts and prehistoric tombs.
In between exploring this small but impressive county, you’ll, of course, need to eat, drink, and sleep, and below we’ve outlined some of the most popular spots throughout Fermanagh.
[su_note note_color=”#eeede9″]Breakfast & Coffee[/su_note]
Rebecca’s Coffee Shop
Tucked into The Buttermarket, this shop is the perfect place for a cup of coffee and a bit of cake — of which the options are usually plentiful. In the warmer weather, enjoy outdoor seating among the other shops of the market. Named for a woman named Rebecca Dick, the story says she was the first person to sell fresh bread in Enniskillen. They have expanded the menu past just bread, but baked goods are definitely still on the menu. For more information, visit here.
The Happiness Trap
The subheader on The Happiness Trap may say “Vegetarian cafe,” but don’t let that dissuade you from heading here for breakfast. Choose from waffles, pancakes, eggs, porridge, or granola to fulfil your breakfast needs. They also have a full menu of juices and smoothies. The award-winning spot works to serve as much organic produce and product as they can, including fair-trade coffee. Go for breakfast and stay for shopping – they have a shop full of knits, books, and art from local makers. For more information, visit here.
Appropriately named after it’s authentic thatched roof, they keep things simple at this coffee shop. Homemade scones and cakes are paired with coffee and tea for a simple breakfast, but the old world charm makes this a perfect destination during your trip through Fermanagh. The only thatched cottage in the county, the exterior of the shop looks untouched by time and serves classic foods at their very best.
The Jolly Sandwich
True to its name, the menu at this cafe has over thirty sandwich options for lunch but doesn’t stop there. They also serve a wide variety of salads and soups, plus cakes for dessert. Chalkboards are lined with the menu behind a welcoming counter, which is full of pastry and savoury offerings. The casual setting and counter service make it a great option for a quick lunch in Enniskillen before spending an afternoon exploring.
Award-winning Greek food at Dollakis is a great option for lunch in Fermanagh. The traditional dishes include falafels, gyros, souvlaki, and moussaka. Reasonably priced and popular, the small space is often crowded, but it’s a great spot to head with friends to share a few things and get a taste of authentic greek cuisine.
Tully Mill Restaurant
Self-proclaimed as “Fermanagh’s Hidden Gem,” this restaurant is conveniently located nearby to popular attractions like the Marble Arch Caves and Florence Court. They are only open Friday and Saturday evenings and for two seatings of Sunday lunch, but at three courses for £24.95 it’s a lovely place to wrap up a weekend of exploring with a luxurious lunch featuring classic favorites like roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, leg of lamb, or fillets of Irish salmon.
28 Darling Street
If you’re looking to enjoy a more upscale, leisurely Sunday lunch, 28 Darling Street is where you should head. They’re only open for lunch on Sundays, from 12:00 – 5:30, and offer a set menu with two courses for £20.00 and three courses £25.00. Any other day of the week, this is a great option for dinner, where you can enjoy a tasting menu, pre-theatre special (two courses start at £21.50), or simply order a la carte.
[su_note note_color=”#eeede9″]Pubs & Bars[/su_note]
One of the oldest pubs in Enniskillen, and located in the main shopping district, this bar is popular with locals but also attracts visitors. Screens for live sports make it a great place to catch a match during your visit to Fermanagh, or pop in for live music. If you’re looking to extend your night out they have a nightclub above the bar, or just stay to enjoy dinner.
Blakes of the Hollow (William Blake)
Opened as a pub originally in in 1887, this three story Victorian pub still has its original nineteenth-century facade and much of the interior is original as well. Since 1929 it has been under the management of the same family, who named it the William Blake (it has since become known as “The Hallow”). In addition to the pub, which is to the front of the building, the venue includes a gothic style ‘Atrium Bar’ and a contemporary music venue, plus two restaurants. With its marble topped bar, dark wood, and casks set into the wall behind, this is a shining example of the Victorian pub.
The Horseshoe Bar
Part of the family run Horseshoe and Saddlers group, this bar is, again, an old favorite in Enniskillen. The bar has all the design features of a classic pub, with booths lining the walls, dark woods, brick walls, and stained glass accents. The more recent addition of Saddlers Bistro and Wine Bar doubled the attraction of the venue, offering a great spot for dinner before (or after) drinks at the pub.
Lough Erne Resort
Located on a peninsula looking over the Fermanagh Lakelands, this five star resort has everything you could need for a relaxing trip. They have two championship golf courses, and if you’re not yet ready for the course they have an academy where you can work on your game. If golf isn’t how you’d like to spend your afternoons, there’s also a spa, and regardless you can regroup at the award-winning restaurant.
Manor House Country Hotel
With origins dating back to the seventeenth century, this manor house turned hotel is tucked onto the shores of Lower Lough Erne. A full leisure center includes pools, saunas, and a fully equipped gym (complete with trainers) if you like to keep up your workout during vacation. Explore Lower Lough Erne aboard Lady of the Lake, which docks just minutes from the hotel.
If you’re looking to immerse yourself further in the natural beauty of County Fermanagh, look to Rossharbour and their “glamping” accommodations. A variety of options, from private cottages for groups, to lakeside cabins, to couples retreats, come with hot tubs and views of the lake. Though maybe not the posh setting of some other accommodations, the novelty of a weekend spent on the lake in your private pod makes for a memorable weekend away.
[su_note note_color=”#eeede9″]FEATURE BY ELIZA SULLIVAN[/su_note]