The village of Blacklion and its neighbour, half a mile away Belcoo, just across the bridge that spans the narrows between upper and lower Lough Macnean, offer a convenient location for a visit to some stellar attractions:
One of Europe's finest cave systems, Marble Arch is a world class attraction formed by streams that sink into the Cuilcagh Mountains to carve out the caves and unite in an underground river on which you'll travel by electric boat as a well-trained guide explains the many striking features: history, glistening stalactites, etc. The 75 minute underground tour, along with numerous displays in the visitors centre, make for an ideal family activity enjoyed by thousands of adults and children each year.
Nevan Maquire, the chef at the Bistro, is one of Ireland's most famous chefs. The Bistro offers exceptional food in an elegant but comfortable atmosphere. Top-notch service and sumptuous meals, the trademark of The Bistro, make it a place not to be missed. Reservations required. T: 071 985 3022
The Burren Forest, an ancient site amongst trees and drumlins, the Burren houses tombs, cairns, and hut sites that suggest considerable settlement in prehistory and use as a sacred area from 3000 to 1500 B.C.
Cuilcagh (Kwilcah) Mountain Park, part of which has been designated a UNESCO Geopark, an area of outstanding natural beauty. (Cuilcagh Mountain Hostel can provide information on hiking, fishing, trekking, mountain biking
T. 00353 (0)49 952 1656
Florence Court House is one of the most important manor houses in the northwest, built on a spectacular 3000 acre site in the mid 18th century, and features exquisite rococo decoration, fine Irish furniture and formal gardens.
Castle Coole , the gem of the National Trust, only 12 miles away in Enniskillen, one of the principal towns of northwest Ireland. Possibly the finest neo-classical house in Ireland, Coole was completed in 1798 on a 700 acre estate and features the work of some of the leading craftsmen of the 18th century.
Additional information available at www.fermanaghlakelands.com or www.cavantourism.com . Note: Cavan and Fermanagh share a common county boundary that separates Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland.
How to get there:
Arrive Blacklion/Belcoo from Galway or Knock International, N17 to Sligo, then N16 to Blacklion.
From Dublin (120 m) take N3 to Enniskillen (becomes A509 at NI border. Enniskillen to Blacklion A4, 12 miles.
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007