Inside information & tips on what to see, do, eat, & special places to stay; Ireland, London & beyond!
Vibrant Ireland

All posts in Fermanagh

Kove Restaurant has views over Lough Erne

Kove Restaurant has views over Lough Erne
(Kove’s pic; the rest are mine)

Killyhevlin’s newest restaurant Kove had the unenviable task of having me, a US-expat, as a guest for (a normal) dinner on Thanksgiving.

Was Kove restaurant up to the challenge?

You may know that Thanksgiving is a very important day in the US calendar when Americans eat a rather specific and much loved set of foods. These are hotly anticipated, and in many ways this meal is even more important than the Christmas dinner. Americans’ mouths water with just the thought of the home cooked fare from recipes reverently handed down from great-grannies and grannies filling up the dinner table. How on Earth would Kove restaurant compete with my nostalgia-laced memories of delicious dinners past? I’d been invited up North by Fermanagh Lakelands tourism during a time when my memories of home could scupper things…would they?

My review of Kove Restaurant

Kove is one of two restaurants at the Killyhevlin Hotel, (the other is the Boathouse Grill) and is making a name for itself in the Enniskillen food scene. Kove has an interesting selection of dishes on their a la carte menu, but probably because of my memories of Thanksgiving I went for something I normally wouldn’t choose; set menu’s chicken. Again, I was probably setting Kove a very hard task– the reason I don’t normally go for chicken isn’t due to anything esoteric, I just don’t really like chicken! I know, I know, choosing it seems to make no sense– but it was stuffed chicken, the closest thing to Thanksgiving Turkey! 😀

Kove restaurant goats cheese & sundried tomato stuffed chicken wrapped in Fermanagh black bacon

Kove restaurant goats cheese & sundried tomato stuffed chicken wrapped in Fermanagh black bacon

Seriously though, I chose the Kove’s chicken because the description sounded delicious:  Sun-dried tomato and goat cheese stuffed supreme of chicken wrapped in Fermanagh black bacon. 

Kove Starters

But wait, I am ahead of myself; I must mention the starters. I had the salmon and prawn salad with greens and Marie Rose sauce. Prawn salad with Marie Rose is making a comeback after being an abhorred cliche that most ‘good’ restaurants wouldn’t dare serve. But Marie Rose sauce is making a comeback because when made well with quality ingredients it is fabulous with prawns– and the salmon. Yes indeed, it was very tasty. I couldn’t help myself; I ate every little bit, which for me is a mistake as I get full quickly. I had behaved myself not eating too much of Kove’s tasty bread beforehand, but I fell at the hurdle of the starter!

Salmon and prawn salad at Kove restaurant in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen

Salmon and prawn salad at Kove restaurant in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen

I was interested in several starter items on the Kove restaurant menu; for example the roast scallop with cauliflower puree, black pudding, and cumin oil on the a la carte menu caught my attention. Kove is a member of Good Food Northern Ireland, and likes to source what they can locally; I see that their scallops are sourced from Donegal. As a fish lover it was good to see a nice selection of seafood as well as the more traditional items like chicken, lamb, and steak. We have so much edible bounty from our island and waters; no wonder 2016 is going to be the Year of Food in Northern Ireland.

Local Specialty Mains

Fermanagh black bacon is a local specialty from pigs who live free range on Inishcorkish Island in Lough Erne. This bacon is scrumptious. Indeed, my mains of Kove’s stuffed chicken dish wrapped in O’Dougherty’s Fermanagh Black Bacon made this non chicken lover very happy. The chicken was flavorsome and moist, the slightly sweet, salty and zingy accompaniments bringing out the best in the meat. The bacon is like bacon you remember from years gone by; perhaps even better. Bursting with flavor, black bacon is hung for several months, and is neither over salted nor pumped full of water or fillers. It goes very nicely with the ingredients of the stuffed chicken. The locally sourced side vegetables were perfectly cooked, Kove’s portion sizes were generous, and I was sorry that my partner was not with me to help finish this delicious dish!

Digging in to Kove restaurant's stuffed chicken and black bacon

Digging in to Kove restaurant’s stuffed chicken and black bacon

I gazed at my leftover portion of black bacon wrapped stuffed chicken and mourned. I knew that if I ate another bite of it there would be no attempting the desert. Surely that would be a sin– no dessert!?

Beautifully Presented Dessert

In order to report as fully as possible to you, I had a dessert. (Ahem.) I did choose what I figured was the lightest dessert on offer, the citrussy mousse. Look how beautiful it is! The lovely citrus zing was there, not too overpowering but not off simpering in the distance as can be the case in some other restaurants. It wasn’t heavy, but sadly I was too full for more than two or three bites. To be fair, the staff at Kove were attentive and helpful, and certainly would have set me up with a doggy bag for my leftovers, but with my travel plans I wouldn’t have been able to keep it cold and fresh. *Sniffle*

Desert at Kove restaurant, Enniskillen

Desert at Kove restaurant, Enniskillen

Dining Room Setting

Kove’s dining room looks out over Lough Erne, with Cuilcagh Mountain in the distance; the setting is lovely. I didn’t take photos of the dining room at dinner out of courtesy to the other diners, but I’ve one from the morning, below. I quite liked the blue lights; a splash of modern zing. It is obviously much brighter at breakfast, but Kove was well lit at dinner; you could see your food no bother. I imagine Kove is a popular restaurant with Enniskillen locals looking for a nice meal out, as well as being a good choice for dining hotel guests like myself.

As for wine or a cocktail, I didn’t indulge. The reason I didn’t has to do with my stay at Killyhevin Hotel– which I will reveal when I review it for you soon! I’d happily eat at the Kove restaurant again; the meal well pleased me even though I was in a nostalgic state of mind, and I think you will enjoy dining here, too. Keep your eye out for those wonderful local ingredients like Fermanagh Black Bacon, and save room for dessert 🙂 

See more, and download a sample menu and a wine list here at Kove Restaurant.

Killyhevlin Hotel also has some good special offers that include a dinner at Kove



Transparency: I was invited up by Fermanagh Lakelands Tourism, and was a guest at Killyhevlin and Kove, having a dinner and night’s stay with breakfast.  As always, opinions are my own.

Irish Sea Sparkle by Vincent Hyland would make a gorgeous gift!

Irish Sea Sparkle by Vincent Hyland would make a gorgeous gift!

Someone in your life love Ireland? Here are some handy Irish gift ideas, for Christmas or anytime.

From an absolutely amazing romantic getaway in a transparent Irish forest dome, to Irish art, books, Aran sweaters and more, you’ll find an online Irish gift you’d love to give – or receive!

Sea Sparkle!

One of the most unusual photographs I came across this year is by artist & photographer Vincent Hyland. He has 2 different prints available of the special natural phenomenon known as sea sparkle, here by the shores of county Kerry. Magical! Have a look at Vincent’s online shop to start you off on your online Irish gift shopping adventure 🙂

Sleep under the stars in an Irish forest dome!

Ultimate Irish gift! Stay in Finn Lough Forest Dome in Fermanagh

Ultimate Irish gift! Stay in Finn Lough Forest Dome in Fermanagh

For the ultimate romantic gift, a getaway to Finn Lough in one of there exclusive Forest Domes can’t be beaten. I’ve stayed here, and I was totally wowed! The food at their Finn Lough Kitchen is so very delicious– do avail of a package that includes dinner! Highly recommended! See more about the Finn Lough resort and their forest domes here.

Learn to Speak Irish!

What if your gift recipient can’t get to Ireland yet but wants to immerse themselves in it in some way? Or do they have a trip planned and would like a bit, or alot- of the native language? Bitesize Irish Gaelic teaches you as much or as little as you want to learn, with a free trial, and monthly or yearly plans. A very thoughtful and unique gift! See more at

Irish gift idea- Once the Musical, summer 2016

Irish gift idea- Once the Musical, summer 2016

Once more in Dublin!

Romantic Once, the musical, is returning to Dublin this summer! Tickets will make a super gift if you’ll be there between 2 July – 27 August 2016. In case you don’t know of Once:

Based on the movie sensation of the same name, filmed and set in Dublin, Once features music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, including the Oscar winning Falling Slowly, and a Tony award-winning book by Enda Walsh.

Once is about going for your dreams and the power of music to connect us. This funny, moving and life-affirming love story with glorious music has captured hearts around the world. Seeing it where it all began, at home in Dublin, is incredibly special.
8 Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Oscar Best Original Song, Falling Slowly, Grammy® Award Best Musical Theatre Album

You can book Once here to see it at  it’s ‘home’ in Dublin next summer.

The Cat Shepherd and Woolly Irish Pressies!

We have our very own feline farmer right here in Ireland, — Bodacious the Cat Shepherd! He helps his human Suzanna with her flock of Zwartbles sheep, and now he has his very own calendar & postcards! You can see what he gets up to and order postcards or a paw-tographed calendar here. You can shop online for the blankets and knitting wool made from his Irish Zwartbles sheep, here.

Bodacious the Cat Shepherd has fab gifts you can order online from Ireland

Bodacious the Cat Shepherd has fab gifts you can order online from Ireland

Find Your Irish Roots!

Someone on your list interested in Irish genealogy? A subscription to Irish Roots would be a perfect gift!

“Irish Roots magazine is dedicated to helping you to trace your elusive Irish ancestors. Each quarter Irish Roots magazine is packed with lots of interesting, informative and practical articles written by Ireland’s leading genealogists. Irish Roots is a powerful resource tool for all those wishing to trace their family history.”

Irish Roots magazine is published quarterly in December, March, June and September. Subscriptions are: Ireland €25, UK £25, USA $37, Australia $42, Rest of world €27. All prices include postage.

Love Ireland Gifts!

Aw Go On - Classic Father Ted is a perfect Ireland themed online gift from I love Mayo

Classic Father Ted-ism; perfect Ireland themed gift by I love Mayo

On atmospheric Achill Island, papercut artist and painter Jane Steger-Lewis creates items that are perfect for gifts; cards, too. She says:

“I want to make things that bring joy into our homes and that make us smile. My Love Ireland range is all about referencing Irish culture in a contemporary, bright and fresh way, products that fit well with modern homes, I hope you like them.

The products you can purchase here are hand crafted with love, not mass produced in the cheapest labour markets. The emphasis is on quality, originality and care; I’m proud of every package I send out and I want you to be delighted with your purchase.” 

Find Jane’s I Love Mayo online shop here

Koo Koo Sneactha Emma Campbell Art; online Irish gift

Koo Koo Sneactha by Emma Campbell Art

Bright & Beautiful Irish Art!

For a special present that will bring cheer and zing into someone’s home all year round, have a look at the fabulous paintings and prints from artist Emma Campbell. She’s having a 12 Days of Christmas sale on her fine art prints, and many of her paintings come with free shipping. I’m a huge fan of her work, and she’s all types, from whimsical to more abstract. Here’s a fun winter one pictured; she has several different themes. Check out her online shop here – Emma is having a Christmas sale!

Traditional Claddagh, Belleek, More!

If someone on your list would love Irish Claddagh rings, Belleek pottery, or if you are frankly not sure what Irish- themed gift to give, a trip to Gilmartin’s online shop is in order!  A (physically) small traditional family run shop in the little village of Belleek on the Fermanagh/Donegal border, Gilmartin’s has made the leap online with an extensive treasure trove of gifts. Known far and wide for their knowledge and customer service, it is wonderful to see a wee shop like this survive the recession by extending online. Go to their site and click their listings for Himself or Herself & away you go 😀

If you’d like to give an Aran Irish jumper/sweater, click here for my article with buying tips & links to buy online

Pure Shores by Magnum Lady, Val Robus. Belmullet, Sligo, IrelandThe Gift of Irish Summer!

Yes, it’s Ireland, not the Caribbean! See, we do have beautiful weather in Ireland 😀 But it may be wise to capture it like Val Robus, aka Sligo photographer Magnum Lady, has done. Give the gift of a year round Irish summer with this photo print, or peruse Val’s other items over on her MagnumLady Etsy shop.  I think all of us in Ireland could use this gift about now! Wind, rain, flood… that’s been our past few  Nov/Dec weeks!

Give an Irish Outdoor Adventure!

From gentle medieval history based river rafting to exciting white water rafting & more, Boyne Valley Activities in Ireland’s Ancient East probably has something your special someone will enjoy. We took the Medieval river float tour this October, and it was excellent! There’s a plethora of terrific sites in the area from prehistoric right on up; if you’d like to explore more as a gift to yourself do check out the Boyne Valley Area and the outdoor adventures at Boyne Valley Activities. PS, if you are in Ireland in October and your giftee loves Halloween, this is definitely the place to be! The Spirits of Meath festival is fantastic! I went to several of the events and had a brilliant (and scary!) time. I’ll have a full post on it in a few weeks, but til then, keep your eye on The Spirits of Meath running 15 October to 1 November in 2016. And if you’d like to recover from your fun & frights in a beautiful Georgian period suit, check out this video  (will embed video in this article when my internet is better) of when I stayed at the Darnley Lodge Hotel 😀

Nature Lovers!

Did this photo make you say ‘Ahhh, cute!’? If there is a lover of Irish Wildlife on your gift list, then check out photographer Christine Cassidy’s wonderful photos on her In Touch With The Wild Photography page.  Red Squirrels, brilliant turquoise Kingfishers, Irish Hares & more are available as prints. Have a look and then just message her on the page if you’d like to place an order. Enjoy her lovely page!

Book Lovers Bumper Selection of Presents!

Books are a perennial favorite, whether ebooks or physical books. Watch this video to help you choose some special Irish books. Before you do, let me add on one more author I missed telling you about in the video & podcast. Full of wonderful slices of life in the charming Dingle area of Kerry, Felicity Hayes McCoy has  physical books, audio books, and ebooks/Kindle. In regards to Dingle, The House on the Irish Hillside book came first, and is now joined by Christmas at the House on the Irish Hillside, and Enough is Plenty. See more of her books, and purchase, on Felicity’s author page on Amazon, here.

Some of the Irish book ideas include a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood in modern Dublin, fun reminiscences of a boy’s getting up to mischief in 1940’s Belfast, a seriously based history of Irish farm wives with some dashings of tongue in cheek humor, a book filled with photos on Irish thatched cottages that will have you dreaming of one of your own, and several more fab books too.

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Ireland%20books%20gift%20ideas%20to%20buy%20online”]

If your internet is a bit slow for video (mine often is *sobs*) have a listen to this podcast instead 🙂


I could go on; in fact I might! I know I’ve forgotten some Irish gifts that I’d love to mention, so check back periodically 😀 Susan

frosty Lusty Beg Christmas, Fermanagh; boat on lake by frosty trees and cottage

A frosty Lusty Beg Christmas, Fermanagh

Ok, it’s time to stop freezing up and ignoring the C-word.

I mean, really, we can’t keep postponing sitting down & dealing with it; as I write this it is 6 weeks til Christmas. You may have a party to plan. You want everyone to enjoy it, women and men both. Well, I have a brilliant tip for you– I got a bit Lusty a few months ago and I totally recommend it for both sexes– Lusty Beg Christmas!

You see, sometimes when you head to a secluded, special resort like Lusty Beg, the gals are loving the gentle massages &  relaxation they can receive in the spa, the lakeside walks and the hot tub & pool, but the guys can be, well, a bit bored. The fellas want a bit more action; 4×4 off roading, boating, clay pigeon shooting and such. And you know what? At Lusty Beg, they get it! 😀 Now, I’m just being a bit silly here, because truthfully when I visited Lusty Beg we women enjoyed just as much action as the men, and I don’t think the men hated the relaxation aspects either. My point is, on this ace island in the Fermanagh Lakelands there is indeed something for everyone.

archery at Lusty Beg in Fermanagh; woman archer

Robin Hood has nothing on this fabulous Maid Marion! Archery at Lusty Beg in Fermanagh!

The food, wine, and cocktails we had were delicious, our room lovely and comfortable, the staff super helpful and friendly. (See my photo of our twin room below) I was quite impressed. I had driven up to the ferry that brings you to Lusty Beg (5 minutes crossing) when I had a visit to Fermanagh in March, and I was quite curious about Lusty. So, when I was invited as part of a press trip in September to spend a night & 2 days trying out what Lusty Beg had to offer, I went with my friend Dee. I’ll be writing an article about our spa experience & more next week, but I’ve just received information on Lusty’s Christmas Party packages & I’d like to pass it on. Having been myself, I think that it is really great value for what you get. Have a look:

It’s that time of year again…time to start racking your brains for a venue for the annual Christmas party.  But this year why not take the hassle out of the Christmas bash and give your guests what they really want – their own island paradise, for one night only, on Co Fermanagh’s fabulous Lusty Beg Island.

Lusty Beg is Ireland’s best kept secret venue, a luxurious island resort nestled in the heart of scenic Northern Ireland.  Famed for its incredible natural beauty, mouth-watering food, indulgent spa and the non-stop craic in our cosy Thatch Bar, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all and let your hair down in the run-up to the hectic festive season.

The Thatch pub Lusty Beg, Fermanagh. thatched cottage

We got cozy in the Thatch pub Lusty Beg, Fermanagh

Our Christmas party package includes a delicious four course meal, live music from Paddy Shannon, one night’s accommodation and a hearty Irish breakfast to set you right the next morning.  With tasty roast beef, festive turkey and exotic red snapper on the menu, you’re bound to find something to tickle your fancy.  Prices start at just £40 per person sharing, or £50 for single occupancy.

Only on Lusty Beg Island can you blow away the cobwebs the morning after the night before with onsite activities such as clay pigeon shooting, archery or off-roading, or just enjoy a scenic stroll around the island and take in the sights.  If rest and relaxation are more your thing why not spend the day recuperating in the Island Spa, availing of our wide variety of treatments including seaweed baths, luxury facials and massages?

We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you to Lusty Beg during the festive season. To book, call 028686 33300 or email

Here are a few more photos from our stay at Lusty Beg; our twin room was a perfect size, and we both slept like logs. (Double room & couples spa bath pics courtesy Lusty Beg.) Let me know if YOU have a Lusty Beg Christmas 😀

If you’d like to check out Lusty Beg yourself, head over to their website, and if you’d like to see more about Fermanagh’s Enniskillen Castle, and a place to stay in Enniskillen Town, I’ve an article in that link. 

Lion King, Nutgrove Arts Festival

Put a little sparkle in your Autumn with these fab cultural events on in Ireland

Both North and South of the border, Autumn won’t let you long for the summer– there’s too much to enjoy right now!  (She says, about to jet off to Italy & Greece herself.) But really, I actually am sorry to miss out on these cultural events; especially the Fermanagh Living History weekend, as I’ll have just left Fermanagh’s Lusty Beg! Oh well– will you go & then share your photos with the rest of us? I promise I’ll share mine from Lusty Beg (Which is not what you may be thinking! LOL)

Have a look at what’s on in the cultural scene:


Nutgrove Arts Festival 2014

September 25 – October 5 2014 

Nutgrove Arts Festival is an annual celebration of community arts and culture, taking place in the unique setting of Nutgrove Shopping Centre in South County Dublin. Now in its fourth year, the festival has become an integral part of the local area’s cultural events calendar, welcoming a selection of exciting performers, musicians and dancers to take over the centre for ten days each year. The festival works as an informal and exciting medium to experience creativity in all its forms. With a variety of theatre, dance and art workshops there will be plenty to inspire creativity in the local community at any age.                           

Festival highlights include:

Rathfarnham Theatre Group presents an evening of drama and entertainment in the Calypso Café.

Students from The Independent Theatre Workshop will perform scenes and songs from The Jungle King.

All are welcome to take part in Intrepidus Stage School’s great jungle themed dance workshop, fear nothing and challenge everything while having lots of fun. They will also bring you a night of amazing, fun filled and extremely talented young people who aim to entertain you through Drama, Song and

We have an exciting selection of workshops for kids this year. Planit Party will give you a taste of their entertainments available and there will be a fun music workshop by Rainbow Music for Kids. Quaint Baby Art will facilitate a workshop of their unique art work.

The Visual Arts programme features well renowned caricaturist Niall O’Loughlin, whose work will be displayed around the centre for the duration of the festival. Artist Karen Wilson will give a painting demonstration where you can get a taste of what her workshops have to offer. Sculptor Eamonn Heffernan will display his skill in a woodcarving workshop. Artist Christien van Bussel will facilitate a pottery workshop. There will be an exhibition of artist Chris McMorrow’s popular scenes of Dublin and Ireland.

Artist Magda Toth whose workshop was extremely popular at South Fred Street Fest last year has a fruit and veg art making workshop the whole family can get involved with.

An impressive contemporary Music programme featuring Kevin Kerdoc Murphy, Ian James White, Liz Ryan, Lynda Lucas and Melina Malone. Community choir Corús return for another uplifting and inspiring performance.

As part of the Trad for Trocaire week we will have musicians playing traditional Irish music.

Here’s a video preview of the Nutgrove Arts Festival:

[youtube_sc url=”” title=”Nutgrove%20arts%20festival%202014″]

Next up is a really cool weekend where Fermanagh’s visitor attractions such as Belleek Pottery, Enniskillen Castle, and the stunning Marble Arch Caves come to life. I was at several of these places during the Fermanagh open weekend in March, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Fermanagh is a fantastic county, and there is lots to explore there in addition to any cultural events.

Fermanagh Living History Weekend

Friday 26th – Sunday 28th September.

Meet Arabella as you tour Ireland’s oldest pottery, Belleek Pottery; enjoy Mrs Bridges’ 1900’s cooking as you dine with the servants at Orchard Acre Farm; meet the man who first explored the Marble Arch Caves in 1895, Mr Edouard Martel; explore the traditions of mumming at Aughakillymaude Mummers Centre; enjoy a street performance by the Wartime Living History Association in association with Headhunters Railway Museum, as American GI’s say goodbye and head to war; explore the food, dress and traditions of Enniskillen Castle in medieval times; enlist as Army Personnel recruit at Inniskillings Museum; step back in time to the 1920’s at Florence Court and finally, enjoy a re-enactment of the Children of Lir at the Garden of Celtic Saints. Bring family and friends and learn a thing or two about Fermanagh’s historical past.
With something for everyone it’s sure to be a great weekend for all.

Download the Brochure

Back to Dublin and at the Copper House Gallery you’ll find an Arctic photography exhibit by Daragh Muldowney will be showing. As a huge fan of all things ice & snow, I think this certainly sounds worth a visit!


Out Of Thin Air

1 October – 7 November

Out Of Thin Air  by Daragh Muldowney

Out Of Thin Air by Daragh Muldowney


The last of the fab 4 cultural events runs both North and South. Neither Either is a collaboration between the Dublin based Liz Roche Company, and the Belfast based Maiden Voyage Dance. Excitingly, they’ll be touring across the whole island, so you may be able to catch them near you. I’ve really enjoyed some of Liz Roche Company’s past work, and I hope next time they will come to Kilkenny, too. (All venue listings at bottom.)


Neither Either

29th October – 27th November 2014


Neither Either“…the strain of being in two places at once, of needing to accommodate two opposing conditions of truthfulness simultaneously…” Seamus Heaney


Two dance companies, one from Belfast and one from Dublin, come together to perform a new dance work that looks at the predicament of living out two conflicting states of mind at once.


Neither Either brings together an exciting group of creative artists and stunning dancers who will be performing the length of the island, from Enniskillen to Tralee, and taking in Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s and Project Arts Centre Dublin throughout October and November.

Choreographed by Liz Roche and set to Neil Martin’s score, identities, beliefs, emotions and aspirations are put to the test in this poignant blend of dance, poetry and music.

At the crux of this piece are issues of conflicting identities, habits within oneself, adapting to change and drawing distinctions inspired by Seamus Heaney’s quote “…the strain of being in two places at once, of needing to accommodate two opposing conditions of truthfulness simultaneously…” from his prose work “Place and Displacement” from the collection Finders Keepers.

Nicola Curry from Maiden Voyage Dance says, “Teaming with Liz Roche Company on this project felt right immediately not just because of our companies’ shared history but because Liz Roche is a choreographer whose detailed and fluid work is as articulate as the words from Heaney’s pen. It has also been a great pleasure to introduce Liz to new collaborators including Neil Martin who will produce the score and to Ciaran Bagnall, set and lighting designer. Audiences are to expect an evening rich in movement and music, bathed in sumptuous lighting, set in a stunning design and all of it inspired by the writing of Seamus Heaney.”

“This piece is a real ‘first time’ artistic situation for me,” says Liz. “It’s my first time collaborating with Neil Martin, Ciaran Bagnall and Louise Lowe and with the Maiden Voyage dancers Vasiliki Stasinaki and David Ogle. What Liz Roche Company brings to this co-production are the wonderful dancers Katherine O’Malley and Philip Connaughton and the final member of the creative team Catherine Fay. I’m really excited about what we will find together. We are also really pleased to be presenting a series of talks with various artists on Heaney’s influence curated by Dr.Aoife McGrath who is a lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast. Our panels will see the likes of poet Maedbh McGuckian, director Jimmy Fay, and composer George Higgs in discussion, among others.”

Neither Either dance eventGilly Campbell, Arts Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, says, “Neither Either is a great example of two companies from the North and South of Ireland joining creative forces to produce this outstanding new dance work where dance, music and poetry combine to captivating effect. The Arts Council is delighted to support Maiden Voyage and wish both companies every success in touring this impressive production.”

Liz Roche Company is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary dance companies. Known for its own distinctive movement and performance style, the Dublin based company presents the works of choreographer Liz Roche in collaboration with artists, dancers and designers of the highest caliber. The company has produced over twenty original productions since its establishment in 1999 and has performed throughout Ireland and in the UK, Germany, France, USA and China.

Maiden Voyage Dance is Northern Ireland’s leading commissioning company for contemporary dance. This Belfast based company, founded in 2001 by Artistic Director Nicola Curry, works with a carefully curated range of national and international choreographers, composers and collaborators. The company have built a highly respected and flexible repertoire for theatre, site specific installation and public space performance and are based in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.


Downstairs at the MAC, Belfast 

Wed 29 & Thurs 30 Oct @ 7:45pm Tickets £15/£12 + 44 (0)28 9023 5053


Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo

Tues 4 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €15/€12 +353 (0)71 916 1518


Siamsa Tíre, Tralee

Thurs 6 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €16/€13 +353 (0)66 712 3055


Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon, Cork 

Sat 8 Nov at 8pm Tickets: €12/€10/€8  +353 (0)21 450 7487


Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Wed 12 – Sat 15 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €18/€14

Preview Tues 11 Nov @ 8pm

Matinee Sat 15 Nov @ 2pm +353 (0) 881 9613


Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen

Wed 19 Nov @ 8pm Tickets £5 +44 (0)28 6632 5440


Market Place Theatre, Armagh

Thurs 20 Nov @ 8pm Tickets £7 +44 (0)28 3752 1821


ISLAND Arts Centre, Lisburn

Fri 21 Nov @ 8pm Tickets £10/£8 +44 (0)28 9250 9254


Dance Limerick Thurs 27 Nov @ 8pm Tickets €12/€10 +353 (0)61 467 813

Enjoy Autumn in Ireland! There’s lots on!

Enniskillen Castle, Ferma Northern Irelandnagh,

Enniskillen Castle stands proud at the riverside

Fermanagh’s Lake district is a wonderful area to explore.

And an excellent base for doing so is Enniskillen– a town on a river island complete with castle!

Enniskillen Castle is 600 years old, and was built by Gaelic chieftains, the MaGuires. They had control from the 1400s until the 1700s, when the castle became an English Garrison. Military history throughout the ages is well represented here, and there is lots to see.

Military museum displays, Enniskillen Castle

Military museum displays, Enniskillen Castle

Even if you are not particularly interested in the military, some of the displays are moving, like the story and illustrations of Henry Lamb in the 1st World War. And if you are quite interested, you’ll be thrilled! I saw one older boy moving through the displays at a snails pace, enrapt.

Fermanagh County Museum is also on-site, and is full of natural history & history displays; very child friendly, too. At entry, kids get a booklet, and if they complete it they receive a prize!

The castle, later buildings, & military equipment in the castle yard make for interesting photos. I took a rake of photos of cannons & guns even though they aren’t my thing at all!

Mon 2 – 5 &  Tues – Fri 10 – 5

Sat (Apr – Oct) 2 – 5 & Sun (Jul & Aug) 2 – 5

Bank holidays; see website. 4£ adult, kid 3£ 

Fermanagh Museum Enniskillen castle

The Fermanagh Museum at Enniskillen castle

Home is your castle, whether it is an actual castle, a cave a la the Fermanagh Museum, or a temporary home–your hotel. When you are busy exploring an area, afterwards you want to go ‘home’ and relax, sleep like a log, and then head off to explore anew. I spent 4 days discovering the Fermanagh Lakelands and I still didn’t see all I wanted to. I want to go back, and yes, I’d return to the hotel where I stayed: Belmore Court. [note: Belmore Court is a hotel in Enniskillen, not the Castle itself. I think a few commenters just skimmed this post and were confused. ]

If you’re like me and love good value but also want special comforts, Belmore Court is the place to stay in Enniskillen!

Below these photos of the castle’s, cave’s, & hotel’s views, is a my review of Belmore Court and my tips:

Belmore Court Executive room, Enniskillen

Belmore Court Executive room, Enniskillen

The value! I stayed in an Executive room, and it was quite smart. Yet prices can start from just 68£ on special offer. Belmore Court has a wide range of rooms, all affordable. There is also the 50’s retro Motel section which has mini kitchens and family apartments.

The Special Offers! I always look for the special offers on hotel websites, and you should too. Belmore Court has plenty of offers all of the time.

The Executive room. Calming, spacious, good looking, had a nice flat screen TV with a pretty wide choice of channels, a great bunch of brochures & info on the area, a big comfy bed with wonderful, smooth & soft  sheets and–>

Nespresso!! LOVED this touch in the executive room. Many other 4 star hotels in Ireland & Northern Ireland still don’t have Nespresso.

The Wi-Fi. It was strong!

The bathroom. Spotless, good shower, great hot water for the bath, and the room was never chilly.

Birdsong. There was birdsong in a nearby hedge in the mornings, and the view from my room over the town to Cuilcaigh Mountain was nice. Some Executive rooms have a balcony.

The friendliness! Everyone in all staff areas was friendly and helpful, and Belmore Court has just won The Reception Staff Of The Year Award in Northern Ireland. I know why!

The cleanliness. This should go without saying, but some accommodations aren’t as tip top. Belmore Court was spotless.

Green Policy. I really like that Belmore not only has a Green Policy, but constantly renews it. They’ve also got an Electric Car charge point in their car park!

Car park. Plenty of spaces, on site & free. And for seeing all the Fermanagh Lakelands has to offer, you do want a car. So much to discover! Do visit the website above- there are lots of brochures you can download, and apps, too. 

Breakfast Belmore Court

Breakfast Belmore Court

Location. Just a wee walk to Ardhowen Theatre to see a show, Tesco to get some ready-to-eat grub for those of us on a tight, no-eating-out budget (moi!)  Also only a 20 min walk to the lovely Castle Coole House & grounds, and the same walking time to Enniskillen Castle. You’ll be in the very centre of town with lots of restaurants in about a 10 minute walk.

Here’s Belmore Court’s Website.

Other bits of info & tips:

The Belmore Court breakfast buffet is mainly cereals, fruits, breads (scones, croissants, bagels, toasts,etc) and yogurts and so on.There is a good selection of these things most of the morning, but if you get there quite late on busy morning as I mention in the photo, some yummies like the chocolate croissants may be gone. Handily, Belmore has breakfast busy-ness times & days posted around the place to help you plan 🙂 There are also hot sausages & bacon, but they weren’t anything to write home about.  The breakfast foods are quite handy for grab & go if you are in a rush– I put together a cream cheese bagel & take away coffee one rushed morning. BUT, please note below:

Coffee lovers may struggle in Enniskillen, and I also struggled in a lot of the Lakelands area, too. I couldn’t find a good coffee anywhere. I really tried. Part of me wonders is it the limey water building up in machines? The only really enjoyable coffees I had were the Nespressos in my room at Belmore Court. They are not at the breakfast buffet, so coffee-up before you go down to breakfast if you’ve a Nespresso room. And if you don’t, if you are a coffee lover, I’d skip coffee at the buffet. I tried both the pour & the machine & didn’t like.

enniskillen castle museum animals

Castle museum animals watching out like hawk for good coffee 😉

(Can you help? What do others think of Enniskillen coffees? Am I just a total coffee snob now? I’d be happy to hear if the coffee improves in the Belmore breakfast buffet, and in Enniskillen in general. What coffee places do you readers recommend in the Lakelands area? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!)

I ALWAYS suggest silicon earplugs. No matter where you stay, there may be noise. Better to be looking at ’em than for ’em is my motto. You won’t always need them, but you don’t want to be without them. Belmore Court is in a good sized town, and is by roads. I wouldn’t say the road was particularly noisy, and I never heard noise from any other rooms, but silicon (not foam) earplugs will really muffle any sounds you are not used to. (Except if you are in a room with no soundproofing directly over a live band in a pub. Needless to say I won’t ever be recommending that place!) If you aren’t sure what silicon earplugs are, here’s a link to the ones I get in Boots.

I had no idea how much there is to see & do Fermanagh before I went, and I totally recommend at least a few days’ visit there. Also,to be perfectly transparent, I want to tell you that I was a guest at Belmore Court so that I could afford to stay and explore the area over more than one day. This does not change my opinions, and as you know if there things I don’t like I will write honestly about that, as I did in my Paddywagon post.

I hope you enjoyed the photos as well as the info; they are my Instagram photos! Each Thursday, the hashtags #IGtravelthursday (& #IGTT on Twitter) show photos from peoples’ travels all around the world- local travels and far flung. Use the hashtag & join in! If you are a blogger, you can also join in with a blog featuring one of your trips/visits and your Instagram photos from it (like in Satu’s Italy post), or how you use Instagram to plan travels. Read the rules of joining in here on SkimbacoLifestyle.
[inlinkz_linkup id=399884 mode=1]

A county of sparkles!

Fermanagh is a county of sparkling lakes, sunrises, and sparkling ideas.

Twitter has alerted me to her charms and now I want to alert you!

There are several events & attractions open for free in Fermanagh on 7-9 March 2014 during their Open Weekend:

Aughakillymaude Mummers Centre – 
Open to the public for FREE on Saturday 8th of March 10am – 3pm

Belleek Pottery – 
Open to the public for FREE guided tours on Friday March 7th 10.15am -12.15pm and 1.45pm – 3.00pm. The Centre will also be open on Saturday 8th from 10.00am – 5.30pm and Sunday 2pm – 5pm Admission free, but no guided tours available.

Drumskinny Stone Circle –
Explore Drumskinny Stone Circle with an experienced guide from Erne Heritage Tours to explain the history of the site. (Guide on site Saturday & Sunday 10am – 4pm)

Enniskillen Castle Museums – 
FREE Admission on Fri, Sat & Sun 10am – 5pm

Headhunters Railway Museum – 
FREE Admission on Friday 9.00-5.30pm, Saturday 9.00-5.30pm & Sunday 10.00-5.00pm

Janus Figure, Boa Island
Experienced guide on site to explain the significance of this historic figure. (Saturday 10am – 4pm)

Lady of the Lake – 
Enjoy a FREE sailing on board the Lady of the Lake on Saturday 8th March at 11.30am and 1.30pm departing from Innishclare Jetty.

Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark –
Guided tours of the Marble Arch Caves will be offered on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th March at half hour intervals from 12:30p.m. until 4:00p.m. Booking is essential. Places are limited to 21 persons per tour and will be allocated on a first-come-first served basis. Please be advised that the Caves may close for safety reasons following heavy rain. 20 minute information sessions about the wider Geopark will also be delivered throughout the afternoon of the 8th & 9th.

MV Kestrel –
Depart for a short tour of Enniskillen Island Town from the Lakeland Forum Jetty, each hour on the hour from 12pm to 4pm on Saturday 8th March.

National Trust Properties –
3 Fermanagh National Trust properties for free on the 8 and 9 March.

Castle Coole
Parkland open 10am – 7pm
House tours will run from 11am with the last tour at 4pm*
Shop and tearoom will be open 11am – 5pm
* House tours are booked at Visitor Reception and are subject to availability
Shop and tearoom will be open 11am – 5pm

Florence Court
Gardens and park open from 10am – 7pm
House tours will run from 11am with the last tour at 4pm*
Shop and tearoom will be open 11am – 5pm
* House tours are booked at Visitor Reception and are subject to availability

Crom Estate
Grounds open 10am – 5pm
Visitor Centre open 11am – 5pm (Exhibition, shop and tea room)

**Watch out for National Trust Membership Offers happening over the weekend**

Share Inishcruiser
Saturday 8th March Cruise 10.30am
Sunday 9th March Cruise 10.30am
Departing Share Discovery Village to Crom Estate rtn approx. 2hrs sailing
Booking essential +44 (0) 28 6772 2122 – spaces allocated on first come first served basis.

Walk and Talk Tour of Enniskillen
FREE tours of Enniskillen town on Sunday 9th March at 12 Noon and 2pm. Tours to start from Fermanagh Visitor Information Centre, Wellington Road, Enniskillen – no booking required.

Fermanagh Visitor Information Centre will be open over the weekend – Fri 9am-5.30pm, Saturday 10am-2pm & Sunday 10am-2pm

 Fermanagh open weekend 7-9 March 2014Additionally Fermanagh Lakelands has a visitor guide and maps & brochures you can download from their site. There are also apps. Check ’em out!

I’ve never been, but the Fermamnagh Open Weekend has opened my eyes. I’m planning a visit! Given how I love caves (Doolin Cave in the Burren anyone?) the Marble Arch caves are high on my list. If you’ve any tips & suggestions on what to see do eat & so on in Fermanagh let us all know in the comment section below.