When the sun shines, there is no better place on earth than Lough Erne. Consider us biased, but the expansive waterways around Enniskillen and County Fermanagh are nothing short of spectacular.
A primer if you’re new to town: The second biggest lake system in Northern Ireland, the lough is divided into two main parts: Lower Lough Erne and Upper Lough Erne.
The waterway travels down to Belturbet on one side, flows to Beleek on the other, and snakes around the entire length of Enniskillen, giving the area the title of Ireland’s only Island Town.
Lough Erne isn’t just beautiful to look at but provides plenty of opportunity for leisure activities too.
So, when the sun has blessed us with its presence and there are clear blue skies all around, how can you make the most of the Lough?
Before we offer you a list, it’s important to remember safety first. Lough Erne is incredibly vast. Some parts are home to strong currents and on sunny days the waterways can be incredibly busy.
However you choose to enjoy the lough this summer make sure you’ve taken the necessary precautions: like wearing life jackets, sticking to the speed limit, and looking out for other lough users.
If you do get into difficulty, you should call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Now, let’s dive in…
See the Lough on a hydrobike
Hydrobikes are a relatively new addition to Enniskillen town and are a fun and memorable way to explore the waterways around the town centre while getting a little exercise in.
On these bike/paddle board hybrids, you’ll have an hour to sail around Enniskillen’s waterways at your leisure – and you can bring your furry friends too!
If you fancy something a little different, you could also rent a hydrobike at night. The bikes are fitted with neon lights and allow you to get a flavour of what Enniskillen has to offer when the sun goes down.
Want to take cycling off the road and onto the water? You can rent a hydrobike via Erne Adventures.
Hire a boat
With 42 square miles of water, there is – arguably – no better way to explore Lough Erne than by boat. But no need to panic if you don’t have a 16-foot cruiser in the garage. You can rent a six- or eight-person day boat from Manor House Marine.
Make sure to tot up on some boating know-how before you set sail. Across Lough Erne, you’ll see signage that indicates where it’s safe to go.
Educate yourself on what these signs mean before you embark and make sure there are enough life jackets for everyone on board.
Once you’ve set sail, there are many places to visit. It’s said there are 154 islands on Lough Erne so when it comes to sightseeing you’re spoilt for choice.
You could disembark on Devenish Island, home to a 6th-century monastic site, or park up at Lusty Beg, a holiday resort where you’ll find lakeside cabins, a restaurant and a spa.
Or, if peace and quiet are what you’re after, you can simply anchor down at a quiet spot, crack open a beer, and soak up the Fermanagh sunshine.
Who needs the Mediterranean, eh?
Book a trip on the MV Kestrel
If you’d rather relax and let someone else do the hard work, the MV Kestrel, a 48-seater, fully-glazed waterbus, departs from the Round O park on weekends and offers guided tours of Enniskillen and Lough Erne.
You’ll take in local landmarks including Enniskillen Castle and Cole’s Monument and stop off at Devenish Island. Book a tour via Erne Tours.
Fermanagh is blessed with many wonderful fishing spots that not only provide plenty of opportunity to hook a local pike or trout but allow you to soak up some stunning scenery too.
Fishing hotspots that are popular with local anglers and out-of-towners alike include Lough Melvin, Carrybridge, and, if you’re staying close to town, the angling jetties next to the Lakeland Forum playing fields. Dulrush Fishing Lodge is also well worth a visit.
If you’re going fishing, remember, in Northern Ireland, it’s essential that you have an angler’s license.
Have a whirl at watersports
One for the thrill-seekers, watersports are the perfect way to pass a sunny day on Lough Erne – and there are loads to choose from, whether you’re zipping about on a jet ski or trying your hand at water skiing.
If you’re looking for something a little slower-paced but just as fun, you can rent a massive selection of water toys, including kayaks, water scooters, water trampolines, and more from Castle Archdale Boat Hire And Water Sports.
Park up at a picnic spot
Not a water baby? You can still enjoy the beauty of the Lough without taking a dip thanks to the many forest parks dotted throughout Fermanagh that are situated on the water’s edge.
Castle Archdale, a former RAF base, is a popular spot that offers stunning panoramic views of Lower Lough Erne.
Likewise, Lough Navar Forest Park outside Derrygonelly lets you see the true impressiveness of Lough Erne from up high. Its clifftop viewing point offers breathtaking views of Lower Lough Erne, Donegal Bay, and the Blue Stack and Sperrin Mountains.
It’s the perfect way to enjoy the sheer beauty of one of Northern Ireland’s most spectacular waterways without getting wet.
For more advice on what to see and do in Enniskillen and County Fermanagh, keep up to date with Enniskillen.com.