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Lough Erne: Voyages of Discovery

County Fermanagh is Northern Ireland's Lakeland region and offers a range of attractions and activities both on and off the water.

Lough Erne consists of two lakes, Lower and Upper Lough Erne, which are in effect widened sections of the River Erne which rises to the south in County Cavan.  The southern-most lake is further up the river and so is named Upper Lough Erne, while the the northern lake is Lower Lough Erne. 

The lakes contain a huge number of small islands and peninsulas also called 'islands' because of the highly convoluted shoreline and also because many of them were also islands prior to two extensive drainage schemes in the past.  Fermanagh's lively county town of Enniskillen is situated on the short stretch of the river between the lakes.    

The Lower Lough which flows north towards the Atlantic is a great expanse of open water fringed by some high and rocky terrain, most notably the dramatic Cliffs of Magho.  The shallower and much narrower Upper Lough south of Enniskillen is studded with emerald islands.  Lively towns and villages dot the lakesides: Enniskillen, Belleek, Kesh, Irvinestown and Lisnaskea. 

Attractions and activities

The islands and shores have numerous visitor attractions: historic sites, castles, forests and country estates such as the popular National Trust properties of Castle Coole, Florence Court and Crom Estate; so many reasons to step on dry land.  The region is also renowned for its walking and cycling opportunities; the 230 mile (370km) Kingfisher Trail, for instance, was the first long distance cycle route in Ireland.  Have a browse through the varied sights and activities on offer in the Fermanagh Lakelands

This is prime cruising country and boats are available to hire from various locations, allowing you to explore the region at your own leisurely pace.  Alternatively you can enjoy a day cruise on a range of craft many of which offer on board bar and dining facilities.  One of the most popular boat trips is the ferry that runs to and from Devenish Island with its medieval Monastic Site.  The numerous International boating visitors have brought a cosmopolitan atmosphere to Fermanagh's hotels and restaurants and hostelries around Lisnarick, Killadeas and Carrybridge enjoy international reputations for waterside dining.

The Shannon-Erne Waterway, a marvellous combination of canals, rivers and lakes, links the Erne System to that of the mighty River Shannon, the longest in Ireland.  ideal for a boating/fishing holiday. Comprising 16 locks along the 39 mile (63 km) stretch through Counties Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim, it is ideal for a cruising holiday. The navigational charts state you can cruise Waterway in 13 hours.  But once you reach this very special area you'll want to stretch it to a few days!

One of the greatest attractions of the Erne system is the fishing. The world-class coarse and game angling lures thousands, and because there's no close season for coarse angling here, many year-round aficionados are hooked for life on the Erne.

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