“How did you end up in Fermanagh?”
Our story is simple: Marius and I met in Belfast. I was working as a French Assistant in a school, Marius had left his home county of Fermanagh in pursue of a job in Belfast. And that was the start of a long and fulfilling journey.
First came a few years of rich social life, nightlife, parties in the city.
Then the eye opener: the 10 months journey around Africa, travelling by bike, camping in the bush close to villages, buying food from markets, sharing life with the ordinary African.
After such a rewarding and transforming experience, you never look at life the same way. We knew then, 9 to 5 work & life style was not what we were dreaming of.
We started a family and quickly moved from Belfast back to the Fermanagh Lakelands where our young children could benefit from a rural setting and a healthier lifestyle.
When the Corralea site with a few self-catering cottages came onto the market in 1994, we jumped on the opportunity to live our dream: making a living from offering outdoor activities to tourists and visitors.
Marius, who had experience running an outdoor centre for Fermanagh District Council, took charge of the day to day operations : Corralea Activity Centre was born.
Slowly Corralea took shape. Improvements were made to the cottages, outdoor activities were developed. Progress was punctuated by challenging and at times catastrophic political events in Northern-Ireland, financial & economic crisis but also support, hope and a lot of hard work.
The local community rallied around one of its sons, and Marius developed and grew our business, bringing new activities and employment in a deprived part of Fermanagh.
For my part, I was still a bit “unsociable” and most definitely a “Blow in”, but I think Irish society has grown on me and my French instincts have mellowed a little….
In a nut shell, that is the story of our journey up to now.
Now we are fortunate to have the support of our children and we value their input, their new ideas and their knowledge of the millennial generation.
Brian is working and living on site with his young family. He is passionate about mountain biking (and old VW cars) and has travelled widely in Ireland, Scotland & Wales to Trail centres and mountain bike parks. His children are our “joie de vivre” and love to get involved and test new activities or ideas.
Patrick is a true outdoor fanatic and gets his adrenaline from seeking new sensations, from hang gliding to kayak surfing or snowboarding.
Delphine is our intrepid traveller. This last year has been a serious set back for her but she has been an inspiration here and has used her time to build our social media. We have loved her input until she goes again…
That is the core of Corralea’s team but nothing would be possible without the support and the dedication of all the local young people who have worked with us to make it happen, who come back year after year to work or to visit: a few Paul's, Eoin, Chris, Ben, Colette, Shauna, Katie, Sinead, Hannah, Johnny, Tony, Carol, Rosie, Aaron, Berna, Laura, Saoirse, Joshua, Ronain and many more...
Our story has shaped our business and given it its “raison d’être” but it is not static and it continues to evolve and change whilst staying true to our core values.