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Lough Erne

The Jewel of County Fermanagh’s Waterscape

Lough Erne, a tranquil and picturesque waterway nestled in the heart of County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, is a true gem of this idyllic region. This two-part lake system, comprising Lower Lough Erne and Upper Lough Erne, stretches for over 80 miles, offering a journey through some of Ireland’s most enchanting natural beauty, historical richness, and recreational opportunities.

A Dual Wonderland

The Lough Erne system is divided into two separate lakes, each with its unique character and charm.

Lower Lough Erne is the southern portion, a broader expanse known for its peaceful waters, dotted with numerous islands, coves, and inlets. Its more extensive size and serene ambiance make it a popular spot for boating, fishing, and leisurely explorations. Nestled on its shores is the charming town of Enniskillen, a gateway to the wonders of the Lough Erne.

Upper Lough Erne, to the north, offers a different experience. This section is renowned for its intimate and meandering waterways, picturesque islands, and lush wetlands. Here, nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers find a haven, as this area is teeming with diverse wildlife, including rare bird species, such as the elusive corncrake.

History and Heritage

The Lough Erne region is steeped in history, with evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years. Crannogs, ancient man-made islands, can be found throughout the lakes, serving as reminders of the past. The region has seen its share of historical events and has played a pivotal role in the history of Ireland, including the Tudor conquest and the Plantation of Ulster.

Devenish Island, an ancient monastic site situated on Lower Lough Erne, is one of the most notable historical landmarks. The island features an impressive round tower and other ecclesiastical ruins, offering a glimpse into the island’s spiritual past.

Recreational Paradise

Lough Erne is a recreational paradise, attracting visitors from near and far. Boating and water sports enthusiasts are drawn to the lakes’ calm waters, where they can explore the many islands, coves, and marinas. Whether you prefer sailing, kayaking, or simply cruising, the lakes provide an ideal backdrop for aquatic adventures.

Fishing is also a popular pastime, with Lough Erne being known for its abundant populations of pike, perch, and brown trout. Anglers often find themselves in the peaceful nooks and crannies of the lakes, casting their lines in search of a prized catch.

Planning Your Visit

For those wishing to explore Lough Erne, a variety of accommodation options are available, from quaint lakeside cottages to luxurious hotels. The vibrant town of Enniskillen serves as an excellent base for discovering the wonders of Lough Erne.

It’s important to check the current guidelines and regulations for boating and fishing on the lakes, as well as any specific attractions or activities you plan to enjoy. Many tour operators offer guided boat tours and expeditions, providing unique insights into the natural and historical aspects of the lakes.

Lough Erne is a destination that captures the essence of County Fermanagh, with its harmonious blend of natural beauty, historical significance, and recreational opportunities. Whether you seek tranquility amid lush wetlands, a glimpse into Ireland’s rich heritage, or an adventure on the water, Lough Erne has something to offer every traveler. It’s a place where the quiet charm of the Irish countryside meets the allure of its historic waters, inviting you to embark on a journey of discovery and relaxation.

The lakes are widened sections of the River Erne. The river begins by flowing north, and then curves west into the Atlantic. The southern lake is further up the river and so is named Upper Lough Erne. The northern lake is Lower Lough Erne. The town of Enniskillen lies on the short stretch of the river between the lakes. The lakeside is high and rocky in some parts and, in addition to the 154 islands, there are many coves and inlets. When windy, navigation on Lower Lough Erne, running for 26 miles almost to the Atlantic Ocean, can be something of a challenge with waves of open-sea dimensions. Shallow Upper Lough Erne, spreading southeast of Enniskillen for about 12 miles, is a maze of islands. River Erne is 100km long and drains an area of about 4,350km2.

Lough Erne is a particularly scenic waterway, renowned for its beautiful setting. The area is popular for angling and watersports, with waterskiing, Rowing and wakeboarding being amongst the most popular; the stretch of water alongside the Broadmeadow, Enniskillen, has hosted stages of the World Waterski Championships annually since 2005, and in 2007, a pro-wakeboard competition, ‘Wakejam’ was hosted by the Erne Wakeboard Club (EWC) after successful national wakeboard competitions in the previous years. Canoeing is also a popular recreational sport on the Erne.


Lough Erne Yacht Club is based in Gublusk Bay. The Lough Erne Regatta is Ireland’s oldest event for racing under sail, with a lineage beyond 1820.

The Lough Erne Golf & Hotel Resort was opened in October 2007. It is situated on a 600-acre peninsula between Castle Hume Lough and Lower Lough Erne.

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