Belturbet is a small town on the River Erne in County Cavan, with a population in 2016 of 1369. In Irish it's Béal Tairbirt, "mouth of the isthmus", and it grew up at a ford on the river. Boating and angling are the main reasons to visit.
Expressway Bus 30 runs every 2-3 hours from Dublin Busáras and Airport via Virginia, Cavan and Butlersbridge, taking 2 hr 30 min to Belturbet, and continuing northeast to Enniskillen, Ballyshannon and Donegal Town. X30 from Dublin is nonstop between Cavan and Enniskillen, bypassing Belturbet, but you could change for Leydon's Coach, which runs twice M-Sa between Cavan, Belturbet and Enniskillen. The section between Belturbet and Enniskillen is joint-operated as Ulsterbus 58.
Belturbet is 123 km northeast of Dublin: follow M3 / N3 via Kells, Virginia and Cavan.
4 km north of Belturbet is the border with Northern Ireland in the UK, and N3 becomes A509 to Enniskillen, for routes to Sligo and Derry. The border is unpatrolled but you must ensure that your personal and vehicle documents are valid - the rules changed in 2021.
From Belfast follow A3 via Armagh and Monaghan towards Cavan, branching west on R197 at Gannon's Cross.
By boat, Belturbet is at the head of the navigable River Erne. This flows north into Lough Erne, which is connected by the Shannon-Erne Waterway to Carrick-on-Shannon and the entire Irish network, all the way to Limerick, Dublin and Waterford. See Waterways Ireland for current status of locks, moorings and so on, and see below for boat rentals.
You need a car to explore this scattered area.
- 1 The Diamond or Market Square in village centre has pleasant 19th century buildings. Church of the Immaculate Conception (RC) just west is from 1868.
- Belturbet island is a park west bank of the river. The grassy mound is all that's left of the Norman motte-and-bailey castle.
- Belturbet railway station closed in 1959 and fell derelict. It's been restored as a museum, with the stationmaster's cottage converted into self-catering accommodation. These are all closed in early 2021.
- Upper Lough Erne a few km north is in County Fermanagh but (with a bit of winding along the back lanes) Belturbet is a good base for visiting Crom Estate, Castle Balfour and Belle Isle Castle, with Marble Arch caves a bit further on.
- 2 Drumlane Abbey is a medieval ruin with the 11.6 m stump of a Round Tower. After the dissolution the church was used by the C of I until 1820, and the cemetery is still in use.
- 3 Ballyconnell is a small village on Woodford River, which is part of the Shannon-Erne Waterway. You might visit for boating or angling.
- 4 Bawnboy further along N87 has a Workhouse Museum. This grim institution opened in 1852 and had 70 inmates, with separate accommodation blocks for men, women and children. The workhouse closed in 1921 and the building was variously a school, dance hall, sports hall and bakery. It's derelict but a museum-cum-preservation society is still there, hours erratic. A "bawn" is a protective wall for livestock and "boy" means yellow, but there's nothing left of that.
- 5 Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre south of Bawnboy offers meditation classes. If you're quiet you can look around.
- A town in which there is neither Papist nor Presbyterian; but, to supply that defect there are Sabbath-breakers, drunkards, and common swearers in abundance. - John Wesley the founder of Methodism, from a visit of 1760
- Belturbet Fitness Centre, 2 Main St, ☏ . M-Th 09:30-21:00, F 09:30-20:00, Sa 10:00-15:00. Gym and fitness classes.
- Golf: Belturbet Golf Course is nine holes, southeast edge of the village. There's an 18-hole course at Slieve Russell Hotel, see Sleep.
- Boat hire is available from ABC Boats at the Marina. They offer day-hire and extended cruises as far as Aghinver on Lower Lough Erne below Enniskillen.
- Belturbet Festival of the Erne was traditionally in August. The last was in 2018 and it's not known if it will continue in 2021.
- Village stores are Gala (daily 07:00-21:00) and Centra at Erne Hill (M-Sa 07:00-22:00, Su 09:00-21:00). There's Spar at the filling station west side of the village.
- Bedrock Cafe, Erne Hill Shopping Centre H14 D792, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-17:30. Good all-day breakfast, caters for coach excursions.
- Castle Sports Bar, 4 The Diamond H14 WK20, ☏ . M-Th 16:00-23:30, F Sa 12:30-00:30, Su 12:30-23:00. Friendly pub with good food.
- Genesis at 18 Main St is a reliable Chinese, open daily 17:00-00:30.
- Marco's at 16 Main St is a takeaway for fish & chips, burgers, pizza and other fast food. It's open M-Th 16:00-23:00, F Sa 15:00-23:00, Su 16:00-22:00.
- Widow's Pub, 11 Main St. Welcoming village pub, usually has live music on Saturday night.
- Donohue's Whiskey Barrel is at 17 Main St.
- Yukon Bar, Main St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Has a lounge area and playing pool and darts, and also a sheltered and heated veranda. Sometimes live music, there's also a jukebox.
- Seven Horse Shoes, 12 Main St H14 WN22, ☏ . Reliable hotel, bar and restaurant in village centre. It has a large function room.
- Church View Guest House, Church St H14 H799, ☏ . Friendly well-run B&B in village centre with 7 rooms en suite. B&B double €80.
- 1 Staghall Old School, 16 Lower Bridge St H14 VW10 (On N87), ☏ . Smart clean B&B west side of village. B&B double €80.
- 2 Dungimmon House, Clonamulig H14 AV62 (N87 five km west of village), ☏ . Peaceful welcoming countryside B&B, dog-friendly. B&B double €80.
- 3 Slieve Russell Hotel, Cranaghan H14 FE03 (N87 seven km west of village), ☏ . Upscale hotel, spa and golf resort out in the countryside. Great comfort, dining and service. B&B double €170.
- 4 Fortview House B&B, Cloverhill H14 X680 (Off N54, two km east of Cloverhill), ☏ . Farmhouse B&B, comfy and good cooking. Flying Saucer Pub is next door. B&B double €70.
- Angler's Rest, Main St, Ballyconnell H14 CY24, ☏ . Good pub with meals and rooms on the navigable riverbank. B&B double €100.
- 5 Clonandra Cottages, Clonondra H14 YF98, ☏ , email@example.com. Self-catering cottages for anglers on the banks of Lough Garrow, with 1, 2, 3 and 5 bedrooms.
- Manorhamilton is the main village in the north of County Leitrim, with a medieval castle and prehistoric sites.
- Enniskillen in County Fermanagh is between the navigable Upper and Lower Lough Erne.