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Castle Coole - Enniskillen

On the outskirts of Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh stands Castle Coole, the family home of the Earls of Belmore and one of the treasures of the National Trust.

Designed by James Wyatt, this magnificent neo-classical house took ten years to build. It was completed in 1798.

The interior of the house was created by some of the leading craftsmen of the late 18th century with chimney pieces carved by Westmacott, plasterwork created by Rose, scagliola columns and pilasters created by Bartoli.

Highlights of a tour of Castle Coole are the magnificent state rooms with their sumptuous Regency furnishings. These include the State Bedroom said to have been prepared for a visit by George IV in 1821.

The surrounding estate is a fitting setting for the house, with parkland, Lough Coole and extensive woods.

Visitors may enjoy walks in the grounds and also see the Grand Yard, the Servants’ Tunnel, the recently restored Ice House, the dairy, stables, laundry house and display room which includes the Belmore Private Coach.

A major stonework restoration programme was completed in 1988 after seven years of work. her Majesty, the Queen Mother, re-opened Castle Coole to the public.

Castle Coole is within easy reach of two other National Trust properties in County Fermanagh – Florence Court and Crom Estate.

Nestled amidst the lush, rolling hills of County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland, Castle Coole stands as a magnificent testament to the grandeur of a bygone era. This neoclassical masterpiece is a treasure trove of history, architecture, and natural beauty. Its allure draws visitors from far and wide, offering a captivating journey back in time to an era of opulence and sophistication. Castle Coole, located near Enniskillen, is not just a historic site but a window into the past, allowing you to step into the world of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy.

A Glimpse of History

The story of Castle Coole begins in the late 18th century when it was constructed between 1789 and 1798. This architectural gem was designed by the renowned architect James Wyatt, who gave it the neoclassical elegance that defines its character. The castle served as the family seat of the Earls of Belmore, who were prominent landowners and political figures in the area. The estate spans over 1,200 acres of lush parkland and woodlands, providing a picturesque backdrop to the grand castle.

Neoclassical Splendor

One of the most striking features of Castle Coole is its neoclassical architecture. The castle’s facade is adorned with majestic columns and a beautifully symmetrical design, giving it a timeless and imposing presence. Inside, visitors are treated to a feast for the eyes, with richly decorated rooms, intricate plasterwork, and exquisite furnishings that reflect the tastes and fashions of the late 18th century. The highlight of the interior is undoubtedly the Saloon, an opulent room with a stunning domed ceiling, designed by the celebrated Italian architect Vincenzo Valdre.

Surrounding Parkland and Nature

Beyond the grandeur of the castle itself, the Castle Coole estate offers a serene escape into nature. The parkland is perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics amidst picturesque landscapes. There’s a pristine lake to explore, where you can spot swans gracefully gliding on the water. The woodlands are a haven for wildlife, and keen-eyed visitors might catch glimpses of red squirrels and a variety of bird species.

Family-Friendly and Educational

Castle Coole is more than just a historical site; it’s a family-friendly destination that offers a variety of activities and programs throughout the year. Children can enjoy the delightful adventure playground, and special events, like seasonal-themed trails, make the experience even more enjoyable. For those interested in delving deeper into the history of the estate, guided tours are available to uncover the secrets and stories of the castle.

How to Visit

Enniskillen is easily accessible by car from Belfast and other major cities in Northern Ireland. Once in Enniskillen, follow the signs to Castle Coole, which is only a short drive away. The site is open to visitors during the spring and summer months, and it’s advisable to check the National Trust website for specific opening hours and admission details.

Castle Coole in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, is a remarkable testament to the elegance and sophistication of the 18th century. It invites you to explore its neoclassical architecture, grand interiors, and the serene natural beauty that surrounds it. A visit to this historic site is a step back in time, an opportunity to experience the opulence of a different era and an enjoyable day out for the whole family. Castle Coole is not just a historic site; it’s a living, breathing piece of history that will captivate your imagination and leave you with lasting memories of the enchanting County Fermanagh.

Castle Coole Enniskillen

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