Tucked away in the southwestern region of Northern Ireland is the hidden gem of Fermanagh. With its charming rural landscapes, sparkling lakes, and historical riches, Fermanagh offers a blissful escape from the city bustle.

Our area guide provides a comprehensive overview of Fermanagh’s diverse offerings, from tranquil waterside living to the rich history embodied in its medieval castles. You will find information on everything from historical insights, popular landmarks, recreational activities, local schooling, transportation, and property prices, giving you a holistic understanding of what living in this serene region entails.

History of Fermanagh

Boasting a history that dates back to ancient times, Fermanagh has a rich tapestry of events entwined into its fabric. The region has been inhabited since the Stone Age, with numerous archaeological findings dating back thousands of years. Fermanagh gained significance during the medieval period when it became a stronghold for the Maguire clan who ruled the area for centuries. Their dominance is reflected in the grand castles and fortresses that grace the landscape. Fermanagh was deeply affected by the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s, with high emigration as a fallout. Today, Fermanagh’s history continues to influence its culture, archictecture, and community life, providing time-transcending character to the region.


Fermanagh is teeming with landmarks that reflect its rich history and natural beauty. The iconic Enniskillen Castle, a 16th-century star-shaped fortress, offers a riveting journey into Fermanagh’s past. Stroll through Marble Arch Caves, one the finest show caves in Europe, to be awed by nature’s marvels. For a serene escape, take a boat ride on Lough Erne, Fermanagh’s beautiful twin lake system that is a hub of water sports, fishing, and bird-watching.

Landmarks we love

  • Devenish Island: Located on lower Lough Erne, this site hosts the remnants of a monastic settlement with a 12-meter round-tower that provides sweeping views of the lake. The tranquility of the location and the rich history it holds make it a must-visit place.
  • Crom Estate: Positioned near Newtownbutler, this 2,000-acre estate features ancient woodlands, tranquil islands, and historic buildings. The estate's rich biodiversity and serene landscapes offer a peaceful retreat.
  • Monea Castle: Just outside Enniskillen, this 17th-century plantation castle is remarkably well-preserved and showcases an architectural blend of Scottish and English styles. The castle’s peaceful rural setting offers a charming historical escapade.
  • Ardhowen Theatre: Located on the banks of Lough Erne, this theatre offers top-notch performances amidst stunning backdrops. The theatre has rotating exhibitions, a restaurant, and a beautiful garden.
  • Belleek Pottery: In the picturesque village of Belleek, this world-renowned pottery is the oldest operational pottery in the world. Besides the stunning pieces, pottery making demos add to the liveliness of the place.

Top 10 things to do in Fermanagh

  • Castle Coole: Explore this magnificent neo-classical mansion and view its grand interior and extensive landscape, providing a glimpse of life in the 18th century.
  • White Island: Visit the remote island in Lough Erne to indulge in bird-watching, fishing, and picnicking amid tranquil surroundings.
  • Castle Archdale: Bike or trek through the forest trails, pay a visit to the butterfly garden, and explore an aircraft exhibition in this country park.
  • Florence Court: Wander through the beautifully landscaped gardens of this 18th-century house or explore its grand interior.
  • Lough Navar Forest: Enjoy panoramic views over Fermanagh and beyond from these spectacular sandstone cliffs, a perfect spot for walks and picnics.
  • Sheelin Antique Irish Lace Museum: Admire the extensive collection of Irish Lace in this charming museum situated in a Georgian house.
  • Headhunters Barber Shop & Railway Museum: Enjoy a unique blend of haircutting and history in this quirky establishment in Enniskillen.
  • Inishclare Cottages: Get a true taste of rural life by staying in one of these cosy, well-equipped cottages right on the shores of Lough Erne.
  • Lusty Beg Island: Hop on a ferry to this private island on Lough Erne, where you can indulge in outdoor activities like clay pigeon shooting, off-road driving, or simply relax in the island spa.
  • Fermanagh Food Tour: Taste Fermanagh’s culinary delights by taking this guided walking tour in Enniskillen.

Our recommended areas to live in Fermanagh

  • Enniskillen: This vibrant county town provides a blend of culture, history, and entertainment, along with excellent educational institutions. Living here allows you access to the myriad amenities without sacrificing the pleasures of rural life.
  • Belleek: Known for its world-famous pottery, Belleek offers a serene living experience by the shores of Lough Erne. Its location near the Donegal border offers both the charms of Fermanagh and the coastal beauty of Donegal.
  • Lisnaskea: Second largest in Fermanagh, Lisnaskea is a bustling town with a host of services, including shops, restaurants, and a leisure centre. Its rich historical backdrop and location near Upper Lough Erne makes it a popular living choice.
  • Irvinestown: A friendly, community-driven town known for its summer Lady of the Lake festival, Irvinestown boasts amenities like shopping, dining, and leisure facilities, along with a lush, scenic surrounding.
  • Newtownbutler: Located near the Crom Estate, Newtownbutler is a quiet country town offering peaceful, rural living without the isolation – it’s just a short drive from bigger towns such as Enniskillen and Lisnaskea.

Best schools in Fermanagh

Fermanagh is home to an array of schools praised for their academic achievements and nurturing environments. Primary schools such as Model Primary School and Jones Memorial Primary School in Enniskillen provide strong foundational education. Post-primary education includes institutions like Enniskillen Royal Grammar School and St. Michael's College that offer a wide range of curricular and extracurricular activities and consistently perform well in GCSE and A-level examinations.

Beyond mainstream education, Fermanagh also hosts special education schools and integrated schools that accommodate a broad range of learning needs. Additionally, South West College in Enniskillen provides further education opportunities and an array of vocational courses.

Transport links in Fermanagh

Despite its rural nature, Fermanagh offers decent transport facilities to help residents navigate the region and beyond. While public transport is limited, the Translink bus service connects most towns and villages in the county. A good network of roads connects Fermanagh to towns and cities across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The A4 and A509 dual carriageways provide direct access to the M1 and connect Enniskillen to Belfast. In terms of air travel, three airports—Belfast International, Belfast City, and City of Derry—are all within a two-hour drive.

In conclusion, Fermanagh, with its verdant landscapes, historical treasures, tranquil lakes, and welcoming communities, offers a serene yet vibrant lifestyle. Its historical landmarks and natural attractions provide a wealth of leisure and recreational opportunities. With excellent schools catering to a range of educational needs and strong transport links connecting it to wider Northern Ireland and beyond, Fermanagh truly offers a balanced and enriching living experience. Whether you desire a peaceful country life or a lively town atmosphere, Fermanagh's diverse regions cater to varied lifestyle preferences, making it a highly desirable place to call home.

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