Hats Off to the Forthill

25 July
As part of Love Parks Week, Fermanagh District Council is encouraging people to join in the celebrations at Forthill Park on Friday 25 July as Enniskillen’s Victorian Park once again hosts a free afternoon of family fun.

Entertainment and activities will run from 2pm until 4pm with everyone being encouraged to come along and wear their favourite hat.

Fun and games on the day will include live music, face painting, ‘blind boxes’ which children can guess the contents of by simply feeling with their hands as well as conservation volunteers who will be there to highlight the various plants and shrubs found within the park. Butterfly Conservation NI will also be on hand with butterfly nets and information on the various species of butterflies found in the park.

At Easter this year, over 900 people were greeted by glorious sunshine as they gathered to enjoy the beauty of Forthill Park and hunt for Easter Eggs.
Commenting on the event, Event Organiser, Catherine Scott from Fermanagh County Museum said:

“The success of the event at Easter this year was phenomenal. I am hoping that events like these at Forthill Park will become part of the Enniskillen calendar. The sun shone at Easter and hopefully it will shine on us again. We would love to see locals and visitors alike make their way to Forthill Park for the afternoon. If people have been to one of the previous events they will know to expect the usual fun and frolics with everything from face painting, balloons and farm animals to birds, music and of course the beautiful park itself.”

This year Jo-Jingles will also be there as a special treat for the younger children. Staff from Fermanagh Lakeland Forum will be on hand to encourage people to “Have a Go” at a variety of sporting challenges. We encourage everyone to wear their favourite hat!”

The Forthill Promenade and Pleasure Park has always been a public space. Whether known as "Commons Hill" or “Cow Hill”, it was a place where early Enniskillen folk could graze their cattle and animals. Before this, it was “Camomile Hill”, where in 1689, the Governor of Enniskillen, Gustavus Hamilton, ordered a fort of sods to be raised in Enniskillen.

In 1836 the area was enclosed and planted with trees and became a promenade and pleasure ground. After the Crimean War a captured Russian Gun was brought to the south bastion of Forthill Park. It fired a salute to the first train arriving in the town in 1857 and was so loud that it broke windows in Belmore Street!

By the 1880s the park had become overgrown. Thomas Plunkett, Chairman of the town commissioners, supervised the landscaping of the park. He felt that Forthill Park was little used and had become overgrown. The Forthill Pleasure grounds officially opened on 7 August 1891. It had been transformed with special areas including the “Dell”, the Ferney, the Fountain and the Waterfall, all designed by Plunkett. A new entrance was added and the Forthill steps were built, which saw “The Bower Lane” disappear.

Forthill Bandstand was erected to Thomas Plunkett whilst he was still alive in 1895 as a mark of appreciation.

Admission to and activities at the “Hats off to Forthill” event are free of charge.

For further information please contact Catherine Scott, Fermanagh County Museum on 028 6632 5000.
NB. This map is based on the postcode and so may not reflect the exact location.

The nearest Tourist Information Centre is:

Fermanagh Visitor Information Centre
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