Eco Tourism - Fermanagh Lakelands and Glendarragh River Valley, Ederney Enniskillen Ireland
Fermanagh Lakelands and Glendarragh River Valley, Ederney - an oasis of calm in our busy world, where the beauty is breathtaking and the people are so welcoming.
In Fermanagh, we love the landscape that is a part of our lives and that shares with us its peace and tranquillity. Our world is a calmer place and we want our visitors to enjoy it just as much as we do. This is a land where you can almost taste the freshness of the air, where the gentle waters of river and lough soothe, and where the deafening silence of the countryside is broken only by the natural sounds of a land
at peace with itself.
Soak up the atmosphere of one of Ireland’s most peaceful and relaxing areas, where the pace of life is slow and a powerful beauty surrounds you.Whether you walk, cycle or ride through our stunning scenery, Fermanagh will captivate and enchant you and send you home a new and better person.
The Fermanagh Lakelands and the Glendarragh River Valley is truthfully a visitors' paradise and home to some of Ireland's natural wonders.
Picture yourself in a calmer, more peaceful place, away from crowds, noise, traffic and stress.
Picture yourself adrift from the pace of modern life.
Picture yourself in a place where the days seem longer and the nights more tranquil.
Then picture yourself staying in Fermanagh's Glendarragh River Valley, exploring Donegal’s mountains and beaches or sailing on Lough Erne – one of the most uncongested lakes in Europe and a mecca for lovers of cruising, watersports, canoeing and fishing. You have the choice of renting your own cruiser or taking one of the regular, organised boat trips to experience the beauty of this spectacular lake.
Split into Lower Lough Erne, a 26-mile expanse of water stretching towards the Atlantic and Upper Lough Erne, flowing southeast of Enniskillen and a maze of wooded islands and inlets.
Some claim that Lough Erne is home to as many as 365 islands. One of its most famous and most historical is Devenish, a 6th Century monastic site that has a calmness all of its own. With a 12th Century round tower and a 14th Century ruined abbey, Devenish provides its visitors with a unique snapshot of ancient Christian life in Ireland.
DISCOVER FREEDOM AND RELAXATION
Priding itself on its beautiful vistas, laid-back atmosphere, fascinating history, ancient monuments and a strong sense of culture and community, the Lakelands leaves you free to explore at will. Meandering around the waterways, you can’t fail to be enchanted by the charming villages dotted along vast stretches of water; mysterious islands rising out of quiet loughs; stunningly beautiful and utterly unspoiled landscapes that seem to exist in a haze of tranquility, and lively towns that are buzzing with excellent places to eat, drink, visit and stay.
The Fermanagh Lakelands region with its silent waters, have a romantic beauty that has captivated generation after generation of visitors. Tranquil, glassy and utterly beautiful, Lough Erne and the surrounding lakes are Fermanagh’s star attraction, but the flat green patchwork of fields that makes up much of the county’s countryside equally deserves a look. With forests, beautiful vistas, old country houses, excellent restaurants, intriguing caves, castles and canoeing, Fermanagh is one of Northern Ireland’s best-kept secrets.
Fermanagh is now part of a new ecotourism 'Ireland' project aimed at perserving what is special about our landscapes, rivers and lakes and making it accessible to the tourist. The following short video hightlights the things that make ecotourism an alternative travel experience: Ecotourism in Ireland.
The scenic beauty and the variety of the landscape make Ulster a great place to explore on foot. The wide scatter of villages and small towns across the country means that forest trails, clifftop paths, mountain hikes and pleasant strolls in country parks are literally on everybody's doorstep.
THE ULSTER WAY
The best known trail-certainly the longest at 560 miles! - is the Ulster Way. This famous circular path, now largely waymarked, runs all round the north of Ireland. There are many other country waymarked walks, just as pleasant but more local and less strenuous, such as the Belleek to Lough Bradan (near Ederney) and from there to the Gortin. Be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. Carry spare clothing. Boots are best. If you walk alone leave word of your route and expected time of return. See links: Ulster Way - Belleek to Lough Bradan (Ederney), Ulster Way - Lough Bradan (Ederney) to Gortin Glens),
In Fermanagh, there is no shortage of walks with the most impressive taking in the shores of the impressive Lower Lough Erne.
Walkers can stay at shore level of Lough Erne and enjoy an important wildlife habitat full of native woodland species, black-headed gulls and occasional heron. There are interesting scallop marks on the rocks and on a calm day the lough becomes a large mirror, offering peace and solitude.
Up in the Fermanagh hills walkers are spoiled for choice, as numerous footpaths and roads wind through dense, attractive woodland in different directions. There are also breathtaking views from the Carrickreagh viewpoint.
It should be noted that the Fermanagh forest footpaths can be quite steep; care is required on loose surface areas. There are several busy roads, especially the country road, so walkers should take care.
From the car park follow the fenced path to the waterfall along the glen. There is an option to take in a walk on the high side overlooking the waterfall. There are some steep steps along this section of the walk. From the waterfall return to the car park along the same path. See link: Sloughan Glen Walk
CASTLE ARCHDALE FOREST WALK (5 miles)
An easy walk Fermanagh mixing forest and Lough Erne shore. The forest houses the 17th Century ruins of Old Castle Archdale, a wide variety of birdlife and, in the summer, a magnificent carpet of wild flowers. The bay was used during World War 2 as an important base for Flying Boats and there is a special Heritage Trail designed by aviation enthusiasts commemorating the history of the Canadian Flying Boat Squadrons who were based here. See link: Castle Archdale Forest Walk
CASTLE CALDWELL FOREST WALK (3 miles)
The walk around Fermanagh's Castle Caldwell takes in a mixture of man-made and natural wonders. The ruins of the Castle, originally built in 1612, a stone kiln built in limestone rock and a half-moon limestone bench along the shoreline.
Natural beauty is everywhere, with part of the shoreline designated as a National Forest Nature Reserve. There are also fine views across rolling farmland, Lough Erne and the Magho Cliffs. Don’t forget to visit The Fiddlers Stone, a memorial to a fiddler who fell drunk from a boat in 1770. See link: Castle Caldwell Forest Walk
CUILCAGH MOUNTAIN PARK (12.1 miles)
Fermanagh's Cuilcagh Mountain and the Marlbank area provide some of the most spectacular scenery in Fermanagh. At
665 metres high, Cuilcagh is the highest point in Fermanagh and is the focus of an area rich in geology,
geomorphology, flora and fauna. The park is also within an Area of Special Scientific Interest. See link: Cuilcagh Mountain Walk
LOUGH NAVAR FOREST WALK (7 miles)
Panoramic views from Fermanagh's Aghameelan Viewpoint stretch as far as the eye can see over Lough Erne to Counties Leitrim and Donegal. Along the walk there are areas full of birds, insects and interesting plants. A somewhat more challenging walk takes you to the waterfall, but the difficult conditions underfoot are worth the effort to view the waterfall in a hidden glade where the stream dives 15 metres onto rocks below. See link: Lough Navar Forest Walk
Fermanagh is part of The National Cycle Network in Northern Ireland - a network of signed cycle ways that are here for everyone to enjoy! The routes vary from traffic-free and family-friendly to ‘challenge’ and long-distance routes.
The Castle Archdale Family Cycle trail developed by the Countryside Access & Activities Network (CAAN) is one not to be missed! Along with cycle trails from Enniskillen Castle to Castle Coole and within the Crom Estate this diverse range of cycle routes will allow you to marvel at one of Ireland’s most important nature conversations, fantastic views over Lough Erne as well as some of the treasures of the National Trust!
The Kingfisher Cycle Trail:
Fermanagh & Leitrim are home to the Kingfisher Cycle Trail; This unique mixture of Lakeland’s, canal side tracks, rolling hills, leafy laneways and mountain climbs make the Kingfisher Trail the ideal choice for all levels of Cyclist. The overall figure of 8 encompasses a number of shorter trails which are designed for anything for 1 day to 8 day tours. The Kingfisher Cycle Trail is over 300 miles of public roadway winding through rural countryside, Lakeland’s, Atlantic Coast and Mountain Trail.
The North West Cycle Trail:
The North West Trail is a 326km circular cycle route through counties Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Leitrim, and Sligo in the North West of Ireland. Travelling through a wide variety of scenic landscapes, utilising quiet country roads with some traffic free sections, mostly in urban areas. The route enjoys dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean, with scenic cycling in remote uplands and through rural towns and villages passing through the main towns of Enniskillen, Sligo, Donegal, Lifford, Strabane and Omagh.
MARBLE ARCH CAVES GLOBAL GEOPARK The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is located in the rugged mountainous uplands and the gentle rolling lowlands of counties Fermanagh and Cavan. Taking in the world-famous Marble Arch Caves, the Geopark boasts some of the finest natural landscapes in Ireland and offers a window into the area's 650 million year past.
The caves were first explored by Édouard-Alfred Martel and Dublin naturalist Lyster Jameson in 1895, starting at the Cladagh Glen resurgence, already a popular tourist attraction. Using a canvas boat, and with candles and magnesium flares for light, Martel and Jameson found 1,000 feet (305 m) of passages, including the junction where the Owenbrean and the combined Aghinrawn and Sruh Croppa waters meet. In 1908 and later in 1935, groups of English cavers from Yorkshire Ramblers' Club explored further and discovered more chambers, the latter group reaching the limit of today's show cave. In the late sixties a major breakthrough was made when a bypass to sump 1 was found, giving access to the Legnabrocky Way and Skreen Hill 2 and Skreen Hill 3 sections of the cave. A notable feature of the Legnabrocky Way is the Giants Hall, a large chamber 60m long, 30m high and 15m wide. Recently a diving connection was made to the nearby cave system of Prod's Pot - Cascades Rising bring to total length of the system to 8.9km
The Geopark takes in numerous sites throughout Cavan and Fermanagh many of which are open to the public. All of the sites provide for a vareity of interests including not only geology but also archaeology, history, folklore, wildlife and activities such as cycling and walking.
A Geopark is an area recognised by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to have exceptional geological heritage.
Eco Tourism - Ulster American Folk Park - Fermanagh Lakelands and Glendarragh River Valley, Ederney Enniskillen Ireland
ULSTER AMERICAN FOLK PARK
Nearby to Fermanagh, the Ulster American Folk Park brings to life the human drama behind three centuries of Irish emigration, telling the remarkable story of the vast human tide that crossed the Atlantic for the New World of North America. The journey starts in the thatched cottages of Ulster, including the famous “Mellon” homestead, continues aboard a crowded sailing ship and finishes among the homesteads of the American frontier.
Located 6 km outside of Omagh, the Ulster American Folk Park takes you back in time. Ulstermen were a substantial part of the Irish immigration into the USA and the museum complex explores the various reasons for this migration - which started long before the Great Famine. Adventurers and dissenters, the rich and the poor, crossed the Atlantic to pursue their individual American dream. Some with immense success - the number of Ulster-Scots signatories of the Declaration of Independence is one indicator.
The real strength of the Ulster American Folk Park, however, lies in the recreation of the actual experience of migration. Visitors are first guided through parts of an Irish village, consisting of smallholdings, cottages, churches and a blacksmith's workshop. Costumed guides are at hand and only too willing to talk and demonstrate their skills.
To get a taste for what to expect, then take a look at this video footage - Ulster American Folk Park
FISHING - ANGLING
The Fermanagh Lakelands is a haven for anglers. With its abundance of Loughs and Rivers, our waters offer game anglers the opportunity to fish for salmon and wild brown trout as well as stocked rainbow and brown trout. The famous sonaghan, ferox and gillaroo can also be found in these diverse waters.
IIn Fermanagh, the Coarse angler will find some of the finest fishing available in Europe, with bream, roach and hybrids in abundance as well as perch and tench. Add to this pike fishing that is second to none - whether seeking to catch them on fly or in a more traditional manner and the region offers all anglers wonderful opportunities.
IThere is no close season in Fermanagh for the coarse fisherman and it is possible for the game angler to fish during all twelve months as our designated rainbow fisheries remain open all year round.
There are many popular Loughs, rivers and fisheries that are easily accessed by visitors. Lough Erne & Lough Melvin being the more well known.
Fermanagh's Lough Erne is made up of the Upper Lough East of Enniskillen and the Lower Lough which runs west to Belleek. The Lough is a mixed coarse and game fishery. The game angling, in the main, takes place on the Lower Lough although trout are found throughout the system. The Lower Lough is a large expanse of water, over 15 miles long with numerous islands and bays. These provide vast areas of shallow water and rocky shores making for ideal fishing grounds. Although a limited number of salmon run the Lough wild brown trout are the quarry and the Lough holds an excellent head of fish.
In Fermanagh the average fish catch, caught fly fishing, is in the 1.5 to 2lbs range. However each season will see a good number from 3lbs to 7lbs or more. The trout are pretty evenly distributed throughout the Lower Lough, and although there is a natural movement throughout the year and definite migration towards the spawning streams and rivers in late summer and early autumn.
Area: 15,303 Hectares
Species: Brown Trout & Salmon
Season: 1st March – 30th September
Methods: Fly fishing, spinning and worm fishing. Whilst shore fishing is possible the majority of the fishing is by boat in the traditional Irish Lough style.
Limits: 6 trout per rod per day. Min takeable size – 30cm
Other Restrictions: When trolling, fishing rods and lines or hand lines shall not be used in excess of: A – four in a boat occupied by three or more people; B – three in a boat occupied by two people, and C – two in a boat occupied by one person. A separate licence and permit is required for each rod.
Boats: Fishing from mechanical and non mechanical boats is permitted
Licence: 19 and over – FCB Game Fishing Licence. 12 to 19 – FCB Juvenile Game Fishing Rod Licence. Under 12 – None.
Permit: Over 19 – DCAL Game Fishing permit. Under 19 – DCAL Juvenile Game Fishing Permit
Disabled Access: On the Lower Lough there is access at Stewarts Shore and limited access at Ely Lodge, Boa Island Bridges, Muckross and Trory and on the Town stretches in Enniskillen
Sitting on the western end of Co. Fermanagh this is one of Ireland’s most famous Loughs. It is home to three distinct species of trout – the magic sonaghan, the gillaroo and the ferox – as well as enjoying a run of spring salmon and grilse. Fishing starts in February with the arrival of the first salmon and continues through the months with grilse from May to July and wonderful trout fishing throughout the season. Trolling is the most used method for the springers but fly fishing for the sonaghan and gillaroo, as well as the grilse, is excellent.
Area: 424 Hectares
Species: Salmon, grilse, brown, sonaghan, gillaroo and ferox trout
Season: 1st February – 30th September
Methods: All legal methods
Limits: 6 Trout – minimum takeable size 28cm
Other Restrictions: None – other than those that may be laid down by the Association
Boats: Fishing from boats with engines permitted
Licence: 19 and over – FCB Game Fishing Rod Licence. 12 to 19 – FCB Juvenile Game Fishing Rod Licence. Under 12 – None
Permit: As issued by the Garrison & Lough Melvin Anglers Association
Disabled Access: None
REVIEWS ABOUT FERMANAGH AS AN ECOTOURISM DESTINATION
■ Discover Northern Ireland's hidden treasure...
The BBC’s CountryFile Magazine states…”With stunning scenery and waterways, Fermanagh abounds in natural wonders. Jo Tinsley explores this best kept secret”
Fermanagh is Northern Ireland’s Lake District. Tucked away in the southwest corner of the country, this slow-paced, pint-sized county may be no match for Cumbria’s Lakelands in terms of scale, but when it comes to natural beauty, it punches well above its weight.
The county is dominated by Lough Erne, a vast waterway that spills out into an intricate muddle of wooded islands, reedy inlets and sheltered coves, and the Cuilcagh Mountain range, a glacial landscape that is cut through by one of Europe’s finest cave systems.
Visitors have always seen this natural wonderland as a place of refuge. Even during the Troubles, Fermanagh drew people in. “The raw material has always been here,” explains Teresa O’Hare, founder of Orchard Acre Farm, an organic smallholding offering eco-friendly escapes in the region. “Fermanagh has such a precious, beautiful landscape. It’s just that now we’re emerging on to the global marketplace and appealing to visitors from all over the world. There are exciting times ahead.”
Exciting times indeed. As Northern Ireland enjoys a newfound stability, it is quickly emerging as a new travel destination. Yet while tourists continue to flock to the Giant’s Causeway, Mourne Mountains and the bright lights of Belfast, Fermanagh has dodged the hype and remains off the tourist radar.
But it’s not for want of trying. The magnificent Lough Erne, which covers a third of the county, is the least congested waterway in Europe, yet boasts an award-winning canoe trail and world-renowned fishing. The superb Cuilcagh Mountains are relatively untrampled by walkers, but that should change with the new Cuilcagh Way, a long distance path through an untouched landscape that has just been granted UNESCO Global Geopark status. It’s a place that’s waiting to be discovered and it’s for this very reason that now is the perfect time to visit – before the rest of the world wakes up to this undiscovered gem that’s small in size but big in natural wonder.
They say that Lough Erne is in Fermanagh for half the year, and for the other half Fermanagh is in Lough Erne. It’s this water that has whittled the county into the natural wonderland we see today; that has gouged the soft limestone hills into the sulky silhouette of the Cuilcagh mountain range, scooping out great sinkholes and running deep beneath the ground to create sinuous cave systems. It wraps itself around the hillsides, creating a blanket bog habitat that is home to rare birdlife and unique plants, and finally, when it’s good and ready, it spills into Lough Erne, where it stretches out across 300 square acres into a maze of 365 gently wooded islands. Bryan Gallagher, author of Barefoot in Mullyneeny, grew up in Fermanagh and it is from the lough’s shore that most of his stories come. For Bryan, the mystic quality of the lough is spelled out in the rounded outline of the wooded islands: “Imagine weaving your way in a boat, in and around and through these islands, and you’d imagine you were on your way to fairyland. I often think, looking at the gentle wooded islands of Upper Lough Erne, that if you rowed through that passage between those islands you would simply go on forever.”
The island town of Enniskillen straddles the river and acts as a border between Lower Lough Erne, a choppy stretch of water some 5 miles across that flows for 26 miles to the Atlantic, and the gentler Upper Lough Erne, which ambles for 12 miles southeast of the town and offers boaters an intricate maze of wooded islands, reedy inlets and sheltered coves. Most of the Lough’s 365 islands are uninhabited, wooded idylls, scattered with early Christian ruins and Pagan statues. Some are crannogs (early Celtic loch-dwellings). Protected from invaders, these artificial islands were culturally isolated from the rest of Ireland and the number of Pagan idols on islands like Boa and White show the lingering influence of Pagan culture on the region. Fermanagh owes a lot to this warren of islands and waterways, which slowed the spread of potato blight and kept the Potato Famine at bay. Nowadays they are the main attraction to the county.
LEISURE ON THE LOUGH
To explore every nook and cranny of the lough’s fjord-like shoreline, hop in a canoe and embark on the 50km Lough Erne Canoe Trail. This is the first of five official canoe trails in Northern Ireland, and it offers a range of paddling opportunities. For a bite-sized introduction, set out from Enniskillen and paddle the inky waters to Devenish Island, where a 12th-century round tower stands sentinel alongside a ruined Augustinian abbey. Better still, make a weekend of it – throw a tent in the back of the canoe and camp wild on one of the many uninhabited islands. There are castles, nature trails, even a Hare Krishna temple to discover along the way. Otter sightings are frequent in winter and American mink, pine martin and peregrine falcon are common.
Lough Erne is also legendary for its fishing. They say the lough has an average depth of 12 feet – one foot of water and 11 feet of fish. The lakelands’ loughs and rivers offer salmon and brown trout, while you may also catch sonaghan, ferox or gillaroo – trout sub-species that are indigenous to Fermanagh. Coarse anglers will also delight in the abundance of pike, bream and roach.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Further on, behind the pristine waters of Lough Erne, the Cuilcagh Mountains paint a sullen silhouette. Wrapped in one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Ireland, these brooding hills and the one true mountain in the county, Cuilcagh, remain relatively untrampled by walkers. That is until this month, when the UNESCO Global Geopark launches the Cuilcagh Way – a 33km route that threads along the spine of the range, through a patchwork of limestone pavement, bogland and a low-lying river valley.
Topped by a Bronze Age burial chamber, the Cuilcagh Mountains boast a fine example of karst scenery (features created by erosion from rainwater).
The ground is littered with sinkholes, dry river valleys, limestone pavement and erratic boulders. Beneath the surface, rainwater has carved out a magnificent cave system that flows into the Marble Arch Caves – some of the finest showcaves in the world.
On the middle slopes of the mountain, one of the best examples of blanket bog ecosystems in Northern Ireland harbours a fascinating spectrum of life. Sphagnum mosses act like a sponge in the wettest parts, while purple-flowering heather and shrubs play host to hen harrier and rare golden plover.
Lough Erne was strategically crucial to the English occupiers in the 16th and 17th centuries – the crossing between the two stretches of water around Enniskillen was one of only three land routes into Ulster for invading forces – and the colonists built a ring of castles around the lough to maintain their authority. Today these castles and planter’s estates are fascinating to explore and one of them, Florence Court, is allegedly home to Ireland’s oldest yew. Originally a freak of nature, this ancient tree went on to be propagated in the 1800s and is now affectionately known as the mother of all Irish yews. Meanwhile Crom Castle, on the southern shore of Upper Lough Erne, boasts entwined yews reputed to be more than 800 years old. See some video footage here: Fermanagh Landscapes Unlocked GREEN FUTURE
Fermanagh may be a small county but it has big ideas. Along with five neighbouring counties, it has recently emerged as Ireland’s first eco-tourism destination with the Greenbox scheme, which offers a range of eco-escapes, aimed at helping visitors immerse themselves in local culture and promoting low-impact, sustainable and nature-based tourism. On a Greenbox break you can, for example, learn traditional willow weaving, take a course in sustainable architecture or unwind on a yoga retreat.
Maybe it’s the small scale of the region that makes initiatives like Greenbox flourish, or the fact that tourism in Northern Ireland is re-emerging after decades of conflict. Either way it would be a shame to miss out on a chance to visit Northern Ireland’s Lake District before it joins its Cumbrian big brother in the tourism rat race
The allure of the magnificient lakes of county Fermanagh lies in their wealth of untouched natural beauty and 70 km of crystal clear waters which captivate and enchant people around the world. This idyllic south-west region of Northern Ireland is surely one of Europe's best kept secrets.
Lough Erne offers a piece of paradise for not only the people of Fermanagh, but for the countless varieties of wildlife, from swans and sand pipers to garden warblers and nightjars to the countless fish types of the Lough . For the rest of us, there is the beautiful scenery, nevermind the opportunity to enjoy unrestricted boating, cruising and water sports along Lough Erne and the Shannon-Erne Waterway Canal -the longest navigable waterway in Europe.
Appearances can be deceiving, as in the midst of all the peace and tranquility of sleepy, beautiful Fermanagh and the sedate shores of Lough Erne, there is the thriving water sports industry where the waterski-ing world cup recently took place on Lough Erne in September 2005. The Lakeland Forum in Enniskillen hosted the event for the first time to more than 50 of the worlds top water-skiiers from 16 different countries. Now, proposals are being made to hold a number of the 2012 London Olympics events in Fermanagh, where some of the watersports will take place on Lough Erne.
‘The Fermanagh economy would get great knock-on business from the Olympics,’said Chris Scott, Share Centre marketing officer. There are numerous watersports centres along the waterway including the Share Centre which offers various water based activities from sailing and canoeing to kayaking and water skiing and is located on the shores of Upper Lough Erne, four miles from the villages of Lisnaskea and Derrylin. ‘It is a great way to get out on the lake and enjoy it,’ said Scott.
The beautiful Erne is geographically divided into two and cascades through two channels. Lower Lough Erne, which is north of the county town of Enniskillen and Upper Lough Erne which is south of the town. The Erne makes its way from each end of county Fernanagh in style, running into a huge island studded lake where the ancient town of Enniskillen stands, ‘Enniskillen is known as the island town,’ said Teresa Burns, marketing executive at Fermangh Lakelands Tourism. The town itself is built on an island at the narrowing of the lough, Burns adds, ‘it is a beautiful central point between the two halves of the lake. You have to cross a bridge to get into the city and then you see a beautiful castle right on the lake.’
The origins of the island town of Enniskillen go back to prehistory, when this short nexus was the main highway between Ulster and Connaught. Enniskillen castle was the medieval seat of the Maguires, chieftains of Fermanagh, who policed the Lough with a private navy of 1500 boats.
There are 154 islands to explore on the Erne. Lower Lough Erne contains a number of holy islands including Devenish Island which holds one of the finest monastic sites in Northern Ireland. Here lies a 12 century round tower, once an important port of call from which the monks would stand watch for approaching enemies. When strangers approached they rang the tower bells to alert the monks to hide their sacred relics. The island also has a tiny church of about the same date and holds the ruins of an Augustinian abbey. Also of interest on the Erne is Boa island, where two ancient pagan stone janus idols dated from the first century stand tall and harking back to a time before Christianity was brought to the region.
Fish abound in the lakelands with shoals of eels and rudd to roach and perch which naturally makes fishing a very popular activity for both the locals and visitors alike. The Fermanagh lakes hold many coarse angling match records and are world renowned for winter roach and pike fishing. The Erne System is the finest natural course fishery in Europe. The River Finn enters the Erne about 6.5 km outside Clones and the maze of interconnected lakes that make up the patchwork of fermanagh lakes are only a short drive away making the area one of best bream fishing stretches in Ireland. Lough Melvin is famous for its abundance of spring salmon and unusual types of trout.
Fishing in the region was revitalized with the reopening of the old Ballinamore-Ballyconnell Canal which now links the Shannon and the Erne to form the Shannon-Erne Waterway canal. The waterway weaves together the streams, rivers and lakes dotted picturesquely between Leitrim and Fermanagh. The rivers path winds through wild unspoiled countryside in a sight of absolute natural beauty passing under 34 stone bridges and 16 locks. The unspoiled beauty is remarkable, in that there are no large cities or major industrial sites creating unsightly eyesores along the course of the canal. Reed banks thrive in the lakes and hedgerows parcel the peaceful green fields, providing refuge for a great variety of wildlife and for anyone seeking tranquility.
As a result of the Fermanagh lakes' uniquely unspoiled natural beauty, the region has been targeted by the Green Box initiative. This initiative supports nature based activities and learning for visitors to the area. Burns said, ‘The Fermanagh Lakeland is set to become the first Eco-tourism destination.’ She added, ‘we encourage an eco-friendly type of travel, responsible travel to natural areas that concern the environment and sustain the well-being of the local people.’ The Western Development Commission commissions and supports this type of rural development in an endeavour to aid the region's economy
So how does Ecotourism benefit the environment, local community and economy?
By encouraging travellers to behave in an environmentally responsible way. EcoTour operators offer relevant information and advice on how travellers can minimise their impact on the ecosystem as well as how they can contribute to the protection of fragile ecosystems.
By offering travellers the opportunity to participate in conservation or preservation projects. An important element of this type of project is education. The goal is that through participation, eco travellers will return home with increased awareness and concern for environmental issues and therefore continue to behave in an environmentally conscious way.
By involving the local community in aspects of planning, decision-making and management of ecotourism. This encourages the empowerment of individuals.
By educating travellers through leaflets, interpretation and advice from Tour operators or guides about the culture, customs and etiquette of locals. This prevents conflict or offence between local and traveller interactions that may be caused through misunderstanding or ignorance.
By employing local people whenever possible and paying fair wages. This prevents exploitation and benefits the local economy by preventing leakages of the revenue acquired through tourism.
Many Ecotour operators are involved in working on initiatives and projects with the local community such as training and education programmes.
GUIDELINES FOR ECOTRAVEL - RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL ADVICE
As an eco- traveller it is your responsibility to prevent or minimise any negative impacts on the environment, local community and economy of the destination you are visiting. Our aim is to provide guidelines that will help you to remember the principles of ecotourism throughout your trip.
Before you go
■ Choose your travel provider on the basis of their eco principles and practices.
■ Educate yourself about the destination you are visiting by reading guidebooks and travel articles.
■ Be aware of local history, culture and customs of the locals before arriving. Learn enough knowledge of the language to be polite i.e. hello, please and thankyou. By making the effort to learn even the basics it will be appreciated by locals; and enrich your experience.
■ When packing, if you want to bring gifts for local people in developing countries don't give sweets; instead bring clothes and pens, and ask your tour operator or driver to give them to community elders so that you don't encourage begging from children.
■ Learn about the vital eco-systems before arriving.
■ Consider your Carbon Footprint when using air travel. You could offset your carbon emmissions by using a service from a company like the CarbonNeutral Company
During your Stay
■ Be sensitive to the local culture by wearing clothing that is accepted. Be aware of people's sensitivity to being photographed; always ask first. Observe local customs.
■ Remember that you are a visitor and therefore be aware that your cultural values may differ from those of the locals. This may include different concepts of time, personal space, communication etc. which are not wrong or inferior, just different.
■ Demonstrate responsible behaviour to other travellers who are less informed than you by acting as an example.
■ Use local transportation, guides, inns, restaurants and markets to benefit the local economy.
■ Be sensitive to displays of wealth in front of people from developing countries. By displaying possessions such as cameras and jewellery, feelings of jealousy may be created which then generates barriers that inhibit genuine interactions between travellers and locals.
■ Ask your tour operator or guide what their established environmental guidelines are for limiting and improving tourist impact on the environment and local culture. General guidelines involve staying on trails, maintaining set distances away from wildlife, and not encouraging drivers to move too close to wildlife, even if it is tempting for getting a better picture.
■ Comply with international environmental conventions. Do not buy any animal products while travelling. Do not remove any objects, plants or animal products from nature. Not only can these affect fragile ecosystems, but is also illegal.
■ Conserve Resources. Be aware of resource shortages such as water and food as many tourist destinations are under increasing pressure.
■ Don't allow your guide to hunt endangered or threatened species or harvest rare plants for your consumption.
■ Encourage practices to conserve the environment, including the use of renewable resources in a sustainable manner and the conservation of non-renewable resources.
Continue with your commitment to conservation at home by incorporating it into everyday life. Support organisations or societies that follow eco-principles and share your experiences with others with the goal of increasing awareness of environmental issues.
These recommended guidelines should be followed by all eco-travellers. However by choosing a tour operator through EcoTour Directory, a small part of the work has been done for you as the eco-policies of every listed operator has already been reviewed; and is displayed for you to read about.
By encouraging the tourism industry to comply with these policies on a local, regional and national level the aim is to restructure the tourism industry into making a positive impact towards environmental sustainability, economic sustainability for all stakeholders and the preservation of culture. By choosing only travel providers that hold eco-principles, the rest of the tourism industry will be forced to follow due to the power of consumer demand.
Often, in smaller towns and villages and especially on a country road, if you walk past somebody it is customary to say hello. They may also ask you "how are you?", or another similar variation. It is polite to respond to this greeting but it is not expected that you would give any detail on how you really are, if the person is a stranger - a simple hello or "how are you?" or a simple comment on the weather will suffice! When driving on rural roads, particularly where a driver has to pull in to allow you to pass, it is customary to wave a thanks to the other driver, by raising your hand from the steering wheel. This is particularly prevalant in rural areas of the West of Ireland where many drivers will automatically wave at everyone who drives past them. A polite hand wave (or even with just the index finger raised from the steering wheel) is customary and will be appreciated.When accepting gifts, a polite refusal (such as, "no really you shouldn't") is common after the first offer of the item. Usually, this is followed with an insistence that the gift or offer is accepted, at which point your answer is likely to become more recognized. However, some people can be very persuasive - this isn't meant to be over-bearing, just courteous.One thing which some visitors may find disconcerting is the response an Irish person may give to a "thank you". Most Irish people will respond with something along the lines of "It was nothing" or "not at all". This does not mean that they didn't try hard to please, but rather it is meant to suggest "I was happy to do it for you, so it was not any great difficulty" (even though it may have been!).The Republic of Ireland and Britain are undoubtedly similar, but Irish people generally take pride in the differences between Ireland and Britain, and can be quite offended by tourists who do not acknowledge or show respect to these differences. Indeed it is not uncommon for foreigners (both before and after arrival into the country) to assume that Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom like Scotland or Wales, this assumption will generally cause offence to locals in the Republic of Ireland who take pride in Ireland's status as a state independent of the United Kingdom. Following from this of course may lead to curiosity around the differences between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Public or semi-public discussions about religious differences, political views and 20th century troubles are generally avoided by Irish locals on both sides of the border; for the reason that opinions between individuals can be so vastly divided and unyielding, that most Irish people of moderate views have grown accustomed to just avoiding the topics in polite conversation. Tourists who often are quite fascinated by the history of the division, would be advised to show respect and caution to the differences of opinion that still exist on historical matters.The Irish are renowned for their upbeat sense of humour, which can often be difficult to understand to the more unfamiliar tourists. Joking on almost any topic will be welcomed, although even mild racism is not appreciated by the majority. Most Irish people are quite happy for friendly jibes regarding the Irish love of potatoes and drinking alcohol, however any jokes regarding the potato famine of the 19th Century could in some instances cause a similar amount of offence as joking about the September 11th attacks would in the United States. This can be quite a surprise considering the time scales involved but it is a subject most Irish people still feel strongly about.
(Source Information from wikitravel.org)
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Visitors or tourists to these websites like ours will usually be looking for Ireland, County Fermanagh or Enniskillen accommodation in hotels, or perhaps guest houses or bed and breakfast (b&b or b&b's). as well as pubs with accommodation, inns, coaching inns, lodgings.
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Therefore, on this site you will find business accommodation as well as holiday accommodation and a fining dining at Fermanagh’s award-winning Glendarragh Valley Inn without looking further afield. Whether you are looking for a short weekend break, a quiet holiday or mouthwatering meals, then you visit the Glendarragh Valley Inn for an experience that is different
Fermanagh Hotels, Bed and Breakfast, B&B, Guest Houses Accommodation Survey (Northern Ireland) 2010: When you visit Fermanagh or Enniskillen on holiday, leisure or business what type of accommodation do you use?
1. A Fermanagh or Enniskillen hotel (inn hotels, last minute-special offers-budget hotels) accommodation?
2. A Fermanagh or Enniskillen bed and breakfast (bed and breakfasts, B&B, B&Bs, inns) accommodation?
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4. Accommodation with Fermanagh or Enniskillen relatives or friends?
5. Other Fermanagh or Enniskillen holiday-holidays, vacation, tourism or resort self catering lodges, cottages, chalets, apartments, rentals accommodation?
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