Waterside relaxation

by Gazette Reporter
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AS A county best known for its lakelands and notable playwrights, a visit to Fermanagh had been on the cards for quite some time.

Like many counties in our fair green isle, it’s a destination that captures all the elements of a picturesque getaway.

I hear there’s a trail for every interest, whether it’s cycling, lakeside walks or a trip down memory lane, but it wasn’t the outdoors I was there to see – I was checking out some of the county’s favourite hideaways instead, so I’m holding on to the wellies for next time …

Our first destination was Enniskillen, the bustling main county town of Fermanagh. I was hoping to explore a little on foot, taking in the home town of Samuel Beckett, but that plan soon disintegrated after checking into the Enniskillen Hotel.

Deceptively spacious, you’re instantly welcomed into a cosy, intimate setting. As my visit coincided with an unexpected shower of snow, a blazing fire was just the ticket to kick-start my weekend hibernation.

The hotel is more contemporary than country, with quirky quotes – some by Beckett himself – to be found on the walls and menus. The rooms have been designed with a no-fuss approach.

The rainfall showers, fluffy towels and free-wifi all add to the homely experience, but it’s the friendliness of the staff that really struck a chord.

A pre-dinner drink was the perfect excuse for a cocktail-making lesson by the hotel’s experienced mixologist, before settling down for dinner in Beckett’s restaurant.

Here, the dishes are made from locally-sourced produce and the menu is diverse in choice. Rather than retiring to the couch for a night-cap, we settled instead into Wilde’s whiskey-tasting room to truly make the most of “the water of life”.

Our mixologist returned, this time wearing his whiskey connoisseur hat, for our master-class in Bushmills.

Next day, our journey took us right to the heart of Fermanagh’s lakelands. Reaching the lakeside, a small two-car ferry transported us to Lusty Beg Island – a haven all by itself, meaning reality is always a five-minute boat ride away.

The entire resort takes inspiration from its surroundings and guests walk to and from the different amenities, making fresh air the order of the day.

There’s a selection of accommodation to choose from, including self-catering chalets and courtyard rooms. For outdoor enthusiasts, the island has a nature trail and activity centre on-site, while the retreat spa is the perfect place to unwind.

After a refreshing walk around the island, we settled into a corner of the resort’s rustic bar to soak up the wholesome feeling.

Dinner is served in the Island Restaurant, with a diverse and carefully selected menu. The gambas pil pil (tiger prawns) were the highlight of the night, while the Lusty Beg steak went down a treat.

You can’t help but feel like getting back in touch with nature when surrounded by such impressive lakeside scenery, so it was up early the next morning for another stroll before visiting the island spa. Using only organic products, the spa blends well with the rest of the resort, with an outdoor garden and hot tub.

For a well-deserved treat to round the visit off, the organic mud wrap is a must. With elements of peat, the wrap is full of anti-oxidants, tying in perfectly with the holistic feeling of Fermanagh’s favourite escape.

For further information, see www.enniskillenhotel.com, and www.lustybegisland.com.

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