There was a time when this article might have been tagged ‘Denmark’ and come with an image of the Little Mermaid Statue. Of course that was before Eyjafjallajökull decided to spew it’s dusty volcanic guts all over European airspace and ruin a million travel plans in the process, my own included. Copenhagen would have to be postponed indefinitely, but not all was lost.

For despite all the disappointment, we were still determinated to make the best of a grim situation and travel somewhere for the weekend anyway. And where better for it than the relatively nearby lakes of County Fermanagh?

So, hitting the M1 from Belfast, we sped towards Omagh, made a brief stop at the wondrous Ulster American Folk Park, and then proceeded on to Enniskillen.

Here we redeemed our last minute reservation at the indulgent and primly positioned Killyhevlin Hotel – before making our way down to the lake’s edge for an afternoon ‘water bus’ cruise along Lower Lough Erne.

This great little service guided us firstly through the centre of Enniskillen, and past it’s lovely Castle, which I’d previously only seen in ice of winter.

Now, though, the weather was bright and sunny. Still maybe not quite the canals of Copenhagen, but a very amiable alternative nevertheless.

The boat performed a 180 degree turn and the buildings of Enniskillen slowly disappeared from sight. We were now moving deeper into the tranquil Fermanagh countryside – and onwards to the peculiar Devenish Island.

The reason for its anomalous status is that while Monastic sites are quite common throughout Ireland, ones this well preserved are not.

Add to this its location on a small island at the mouth of Lower Lough Erne, and it’s clear to see why it attracts such an elevated level of interest.

Many of the ruins, are, after all, over 1500 years old – and this sense of profound age can really be felt as you traverse the slopes of the island.

The island isn’t without somewhat of a vague connection back to where we should have been either – with the Vikings having raided it in the 9th century.

The Vikings didn’t stay, however, and nor did we – retiring instead to warmer surroundings and the pleasures of a sumptuous evening meal by the lake.

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