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Top 10 experiences in Fermanagh & Donegal

1. Erne Water Taxi & Devenish Island

2. Hydro bikes – Erne Adventures

3. Rossnowlagh Surf School

4. Erne red boats hire

5. Marble Arch Caves

6. Donegal Equestrian Centre

7. Blue Green Yonder

8. Castle Adventure Farm

9. Waterworld Bundoran

10. Johnny Rockos

*From a local perspective*

Nestling in the heart of the geopark, on the shores of one of the many lakes in Fermanagh, we are fortunate to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Personally, I never tire of the landscape at Corralea; there is always something to do if you like life outdoors from paddling to the nearest crannog to biking in the forest, and relaxing in the eco-spa overlooking the lake.

But what else can you do in the region?

Selecting the top 10 experiences is a difficult task: there is so much to choose from but I’ve picked experiences which have a special appeal for me, are unique or have always been popular in our family!!

1. Devenish Pilgrim Pass with Erne Water Taxi

This experience ticks all the boxes for me. Devenish Island was one of the first places I fell in love with when I first came to Fermanagh: it offers a fascinating slice of history with its Viking raids, destructive fires, flourishing settlement in the Middle Ages and its 12th Century round tower. You can savour at length the peaceful & spiritual atmosphere here.

This unique tour includes a 1h30 boat journey to Devenish Island, the chance to explore Enniskillen Castle (a 15th century stronghold), admission to the castle museum and tea/coffee & scone in the Castle Café.

The tour operates daily in July & August from £18.75.

Barry from Erne water taxi is a wealth of information and stories from the Bronze Age to nowadays.

2. Hydro bikes

A really cool and novel way to explore Enniskillen town from the water. After all Enniskillen is an island town which lies between Lower & Upper Lough Erne.

Erne Adventures hires the hydro bikes from the fishing docks picnic area just beside the Craigville garden centre. It has a large free car park so no hassle parking. You can enjoy the bikes without having to change and I love the idea of taking the cycling off-road and onto the water.

It costs £20 for an hour and is bookable online.

3. Rossnowlagh Surf School

Rossnowlagh is the closest beach to Corralea. It is only 25 miles away on the Wild Atlantic Way. Rossnowlagh Surf School is a top class venue, they offer anything you can dream of on the waves and on sand!!

You can book a beginner/ intermediate/ advanced surf lesson, private surfing lessons or simply hire a surf board (from €25 per day including wetsuit).

Their coaches are all qualified and will make you feel comfortable and safe on the waves.

On sand, They run Kids Beach birthday Parties and even Beach Fitness & Yoga classes while the kids do some surfing.

After all that exercise you can treat yourself to some Tickety-Moo ice cream or some fresh fruit smoothie, Or enjoy a nice meal with panoramic views over Donegal Bay from The Smugglers Creek or The Gas-Light.

A great Day out!

4. The wee red boats

If you ever dreamt of driving your own boat, look no further. Erne Boat Hire beside the Erneside Shopping Centre has a fleet of purpose built little red boats, ideal for a trip up the lough. The boats can hold 6 adults and include two large storage lockers for your picnic.

£65 will allow you to explore the lake by yourself for 4 hours. It includes buoyancy aids and fuel, and the boats have a shelter to protect you from strong sun rays (or rain!!).

The boats let you enjoy the slow pace of Fermanagh life and you can really appreciate the wilderness around you and totally disconnect with the chaos of everyday life...

5. Marble Arch Caves

One of Fermanagh's gems and a chance to peep at the wonderful world below our feet!

The Marble Arch Caves visitor centre includes an information point, café, souvenir shop and a very interesting exhibition area. The guided tour lasts one hour and costs £10 for an adult.

The first time I went into the marble Arch caves was with Marius when I first arrived in Northern-Ireland many years ago. Marius had been involved in caving and cave exploration since he was 16, so I trusted him to look after me for my first experience of real caving. Getting the right gear on (oversuits, boots, helmets & lights) and entering a very dark subterranean world only lit up by a narrow beam of light was a challenge and an experience I will never forget. That was before the Caves were developed as a show cave and opened to the public in 1985. Now the experience is still awesome: you enter the caves following the same route Edouard Martel and early explorers took in 1895, the guided tour starts with a boat trip on the underground river and continues along carefully constructed paths with discrete lighting to highlight the cave formations. A wonderful experience!

6. Donegal Equestrian Centre

Ride the Wild Atlantic Way. Donegal Equestrian Centre is 1 mile from the centre of Bundoran at Tullan Strand (one of my favourite beaches).

The centre caters for all ages and abilities. Beginner and novice riders can enjoy a gentle ride along the sand dune trail. The experienced riders get the opportunity to gallop down Tullan strand and splash in the Atlantic waters. Where else can you do that?

The prices start at €35 for a child or €45 for an adult for an hour beginner experience.

This is really a once in a life time experience: the views of Donegal Bay and the Wild Atlantic Way are will savour every minute of your ride!

7. Blue Green Yonder

Blue Green Yonder was set up in 2018 in Enniskillen centre. It offers canoe rental around Enniskillen town from the Water Activity Zone and runs various programmes from Castle Island.

In July & August they have courses for 7-15 years old : Summer Splash (a 4 day Summer Activity Programme - £120) and Friday Fun Day (a day filled with a range of fun and exciting activities including archery, team buildfing, kayaking etc...- £35).

Check their facebook page for special events such as Kayak and Yoga or Ladies night on a Wednesday.

The next 3 experiences are ideal for younger visitors. They were always a great hit with our children and still are with our grand children.

8. Castle Adventure Farm, Ballyshannon

A lovely Open farm on the road from Ballyshannon to Rossnowlagh and a great day out for the whole family. At Castle Adventure Farm, there are lots of animal activities to enjoy in the barns including bunny cuddling, lamb bottle feeding and much more.

Children can play in a large indoor activity area and sand pit or if the weather is dry, there is an excellent outdoor adventure playground, opportunities to drive a real mini JCB digger or take a trip on the barrel train.

The site is very well run and clean, staff is very friendly and animals are well cared for. We have been a few times for birthday parties, the kids always enjoyed it. The little café is a bonus for parents too.

Entry is €30 for a family of 4 (under 2 years old go free). A great day out !

A popular place for all children. The complex offers 3 levels of attractions:

  • a child friendly area with toddler pool and shallow water dry slides

  • a more adventurous area with rapids, multilane slide and waves

  • and an extreme part with tornado, twister, whizzer and gravity for 5/5 thrill factor.

For a little pampering while children are having fun, try Bundoran seaweed baths on the same site.

10. Johnny Rockos, Irvinestown

From a soft adventure area (Little Rambo’s) to ten pin bowling (Yankee Alley), Mini Monte Carlo track for budding racing drivers and Rambling House Diner with a variety of food and desserts to please everyone…you’ll not need to leave the building to entertain the whole family!

A great spot for a rainy day!


Fermanagh Series: Blog 3 of 5

(edited July 2023)

Photos credit to all businesses featured on this page.

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