Enniskillen (Inis Ceithleann, "Ceithlenn's island") is the county town of County Fermanagh at the western edge of Northern Ireland. The town grew up on an island in the River Erne, which connects Upper and Lower Lough Erne and is navigable; boating and angling are major pastimes here. In 2011 Enniskillen had a population of 13,823.
Bus Éireann 30 / X30 runs from Dublin Busaras and airport via Virginia and Cavan Town, taking 2 hr 40 min to Enniskillen, and continuing to Belleek, Ballyshannon and Donegal Town. It runs daily every couple of hours. Some buses run via Belturbet.
Ulsterbus 94 runs five times M-Sa from Omagh, taking just over an hour.
Ulsterbus 194 (a-j) runs north every hour or so to the hospital, Ballinamallard, Irvinestown, Lisnarick and Kesh, with one bus a day continuing to Pettigo on the border.
The 1 bus station is on Wellington Road in town centre.
By road from Belfast take M1 onto A4, maybe 1 hour 40 min.
By road from Dublin take M3 / N3 through Cavan, becoming A509 at the border, and reckon just over two hours.
Enniskillen is on the navigable River Erne, linked by waterways to the rest of Ireland: with your own boat you could even get here from Dublin, Waterford, Limerick and Athlone. Naturally there are limits on how far you may take a hired boat.
Walk, the town is compact. If you bring a car, park up at Erneside Shopping Centre and walk in, as town centre parking is limited and short-stay.
Taxi rates in town (as of April 2021) are flagfall £2.30 then £1.30 a mile. They're usually waiting around the bus station and along the main street. Operators are A2B Taxis +44 28 6632 2033, County Cabs +44 28 6632 8888, Flexicabs +44 28 6632 4848, Speedy Cabs +44 28 6632 7327, and Star Taxis +44 28 6632 3232.
Bus 397 a-c orbits town centre every couple of hours, via Coles Hill, Drumclay (for the hospital) and Breandrum.
- 1 Enniskillen Castle, Wellington Rd BT74 7HL, ☏ . M-F 09:30-17:00, Sa Su 11:00-17:00. There's been a castle here astride the Sligo road since the 14th century, and the picturesque watergate is from 1609, but what you see now is mostly 18th century when it was converted into a barracks. Most of the interior is a regimental museum for the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, founded in 1881 and amalgamated in 1968 into the Royal Irish Rangers (which in 1992 merged into the Royal Irish Regiment). Adult £5, child / conc £3.
- Castle Island in the river adjacent has no castle or anything else, there's no bridge or regular boat, and ventures there have flopped. In 2019 there were grand plans to turn it into an aqua park. Nothing's yet come of that, or the idea of a floating cinema, you sit in a floating ring with your butt in the chilly river. Hitchcock's Lifeboat might be a good opener.
- 2 St Macartin's Cathedral, 2 Halls Lane BT74 7DR. 24 hours. C of I cathedral completed in 1842 as St Anne's but re-dedicated as St Macartin's in 1923 - Mac Cairthinn (d 506) was the first bishop of Clogher. There's a 150-foot tower and spire, with a peal of ten bells.
- Town centre is mostly 19th century low-rise, along a main street of multiple names. St Michael's built in 1895 is the RC parish church, facing the cathedral. Town Hall was built in 1901.
- 3 Forthill Park is a pleasant green space east side of the centre. The monument commemorates Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole (1772-1842) who served with the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War. Within are 108 spiral steps up to a viewing balcony: this is open Sa Su 13:00-15:00.
- 4 Portora Castle, Castle Lane BT74 5GH. 24 hrs. This is just a scrappy remnant of an early 17th-century bastion guarding the ford at the head of Lower Lough Erne. It was abandoned in the 18th C when the owners moved to Florence Court. Victorian schoolboys wrecked it further with home-made gunpowder and tunnelling: get those handy lads recruited into the Sappers, quick!
- 5 Castle Coole, Enniskillen BT74 4QW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily 09:00-17:00. Grand neo-classical mansion built in the 1790s; designed to impress and it still does. It was transferred to the National Trust in 1951. You see the interior by guided tour: the grand state bedroom was intended for a visit by King George IV in 1821 but he dallied too long with his floozie and never showed up.
- 6 Devenish Island at the head of Lower Lough Erne has the extensive remains of a monastery, with a fine Round Tower and three medieval churches. You reach it by ferry from Trory Jetty facing the northeast end of the island, sailing hourly 10:00-17:00: July Aug daily, Sept Th-M, Oct Sa Su. Otherwise join a boat trip round the lough (see operators below), these generally spend 45 min on Devenish.
- 7 Florence Court, Marble Arch Road BT92 1DB (8 miles south of town), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10:00-18:00. Elaborate bling-mansion built in fits and starts over the course of the 18th century. It transferred to the National Trust in 1953 but suffered a fire in 1955: not all rooms have been restored. There's an attractive walled garden.
- See Belcoo for Marble Arch Caves near Florence Court, and religious sites in the village of Boho.
- 8 south side of Lower Lough Erne has a scenic drive and forest trails. It's open, free, 10:00 to sunset.
- Gaelic games: Fermanagh GAA play football and hurling at Brewster Park, capacity 18,000, half a mile north of town centre.
- IMC Cinema is on Factory Road between the GAA ground and Racecourse Lough. The racecourse itself closed in 1906.
- 1 Ardhowen Theatre, 97 Dublin Road BT34 6FZ, ☏ . In a modern building by the marina, they stage drama, music, opera and dance.
- Enniskillen Golf Course is next to Castle Coole. It's an 18-hole parkland course, yellow tees 6145 yards, par 71, visitor £20.
- There's another course at Lough Erne Resort, see Sleep.
- Church services include those at Graan Monastery or St Gabriel's Retreat off A46 3 miles northwest of town. The priestly Order are the "Passionists" founded in 1720. The buildings are early 20th century and unremarkable so you'd only come to attend the church.
- Boat trips putter round Lower Lough Erne and Devenish Island, daily June-Aug and weekends May and Sept, adult £10. The main operator is Erne Tours, sailing from Round O Jetty in Brook Park. Erne Water Taxi does bespoke tours for up to 8: they sail from the castle jetty.
- Boat hire is available from Erne Boat Hire Ltd. The boats can take six adults, a four-hour hire is £60. They're at Regal Pass Jetty near the bus station. The boats are easy to self-drive but remember: never hug the shore, pay close regard to the map and to navigation markers, and beware the weather in the open lough - it's aligned with the prevailing breeze so the waves can get rough. Castle Archdale also hire but they're 10 miles north near Kesh.
- Boat holidays with extended hire are available through agencies such as Waterways Holidays. You can explore the lower and upper loughs: they might jib if you head off down into the Shannon, but the navigable network reaches the length and breadth of Ireland.
- Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is a literary festival in July. Dates for 2022 are tba.
- Lough Erne Food Festival is at the castle and other venues in September. The next is 12-19 Sept 2021.
- Erneside Shopping Centre is the main mall in town centre, by the bus station.
- Buttermarket off Market St is a pleasant quarter, with crafts and traditional wares.
- Derrychara Link is the big retail park southeast off Dublin Rd, with Asda (open 24 hrs midweek) and Tesco.
- Riverside is a smaller mall opposite Forthill Park, with Dunnes Stores the anchor business.
- Ruby's Coffee Bar, 15 Townhall St BT74 8BD, ☏ . Coffee and light bites.
- Franco's, Queen Elizabeth Rd BT74 7DY, ☏ . Daily 12:00-22:45. Friendly place does modern Italian cuisine.
- Dollakis, 2 Cross St BT74 7DX, ☏ . Tu-Th 11:00-22:00, F Sa 11:00-23:00. Greek, just for a change.
- Horseshoe & Saddlers, 66 Belmore St BT74 6AA, ☏ . M-Sa 13:00-23:00, Su 13:00-22:00. Horseshoe is the pub, Saddlers the restaurant, with trad Irish offerings.
- Blakes of the Hollow, 6 Church St BT74 7EJ, ☏ . Daily 11:00-01:00. Atmospheric old pub with 3 different bar areas and nightclub.
- Pat's Bar, 1-5 Townhall St BT74 7BD, ☏ . Daily 10:00-01:30. 4 bars over two floors and a disco area.
- Charlie's Bar, 1 Church Street BT74 1DW, ☏ . M-W 11:30-23:00, F Sa 11:30-01:00, Su 12:30-00:00. Friendly traditional Irish bar.
- Crowe's Nest, 12 High Street BT74 7EH, ☏ . Daily 10:00-23:00. Pub and restaurant, often has live Irish music on Tues nights.
- Cornerstone Bar, 1 Queen St BT74 7JR, ☏ . Daily 10:00-00:00. Good atmosphere and conversation.
- Corner Bar, 22 Townhall St BT74 7BA, ☏ . Daily 09:30-23:30. Friendly cosy pub near bus station.
- Lough Inn, 1 The Brook BT74 7EU, ☏ . M-Th 11:30-23:30, F Sa 11:30-01:30, Su 12:30-00:30. Welcoming pub with live Irish music Saturday evenings.
- Magees Bar (Magee's Spirit Store), 21 East Bridge Street, ☏ . 24 hrs. Lively pub, trad music Monday nights.
- Willie Ramblers, 14 Forthill St, ☏ . W-Sa 12:00-01:30, Su 12:00-00:00. Trad pub, does food.
- Sheelin Brewery is in Bellanaleck 5 km south of town. No tours.
- 1 Enniskillen Hotel, 72 Forthill St BT74 6AJ, ☏ . Good midrange place near town centre. B&B double £70.
- 2 Westville Hotel, 14-20 Tempo Rd BT74 6HR, ☏ . Smart place east side of town with 28 rooms and good food. B&B double £90.
- Belmore Court & Motel, Tempo Rd BT74 6HX (facing Westville Hotel), ☏ . Well-run place, 15 mins walk to town. B&B double £110.
- 3 Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges, Dublin Rd BT74 6RW, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 4-star hotel and spa on riverside a mile south of town. B&B double £150.
- 4 Riverside Farm, 38 Derrylin Rd BT92 2FN, ☏ . The farm has B&B, self-catering, caravan pitches (but no camping) and moorings for boats. B&B double £70, Tourer £12.50.
- 5 Loch Erne Resort, 193 Lough Shore Road BT93 7ED, ☏ . Swish hotel in great lakeside setting with spa and golf. B&B double from £160.
Standard precautions about traffic, care of valuables, late-night drunks, and safety on or in the water - the lower lough especially can turn rough.
In spring 2021 there were riots here and elsewhere in Ulster, a mixture of lockdown anger, kick-back against the republican tide in politics, and sheer divilment. Stay well clear.
As of April 2021, Enniskillen has 4G from all UK carriers, though the signal from Three is patchy. 5G has not reached this area.
- Belcoo on the border has limestone scenery above and below ground, with Marble Arch Caves.
- Belleek has a famous pottery factory.
- Omagh has the Ulster American Folk Museum.
- Lisnaskea has the grounds of Crom Estate.
- Belturbet and Ballyconnell in County Cavan are quiet places for boating and angling.