When to Visit
The best time to visit Enniskillen and County Fermanagh is between May and September.
While rain is likely at any time of year (the greenness you will encounter doesn’t just happen!) it is marginally less likely and temperatures are at least warmer between these months. Personally I prefer May or September to the more touristy (never overbearing) and school holidays high season in July and August.
Access to public boats on Lough Erne and thus access to Devenish and White Islands, in particular, varies from restricted to non-existent outside high season. Likewise access to the County’s three National Trust Properties and government run museums (most notably in the Enniskillen Castle complex) is restricted out of high season though the museums are open year round – just not daily.
Even if you cant make it ‘in season’ there is still lots to see and do in Country Fermanagh at any time of year and, most importantly, the pubs are certainly open all year round!
I have taken the liberty of using this review to showcase a few summer flower the pictures of which I took in the late summer of 2015.
Getting to and from Enniskillen
Most overseas visitors visiting Enniskillen will enter Northern Ireland via Belfast or Dublin. Which I use varies and is dependent on airfares and connection times to/from Australia, where I now live.
While I strongly recommend hiring a car to visit Enniskillen and, more generally, County Fermanagh (with a pick-up in Belfast or Dublin) this review covers public transport to/from both cities and their airports.
You have one option.
The ‘option’ is an Ulsterbus bus (Goldliner service) to or from Europa Buscentre, the main bus station in Belfast city centre area. The route number is 261.
There are no direct buses between Enniskillen and either the George Best Belfast City or Belfast International Airports, as such you will need to take a bus from either airport to Europa Buscentre and connect to the Enniskillen service.
Goldliner buses are of high quality (as depicted) and wifi internet connection is available though the quality of this varies from good to non-existent depending on where you are on the trip.
In Belfast tickets can be purchased in the bus station (machine or counter) or directly from the driver. Getting a seat is generally not a problem.
A single ticket from Belfast to Enniskillen or vice versa was GBP12 in Aug 2015. While day return tickets are available I am unable to ascertain if longer term validity returns are – they were when I used the service regularly over 20 years ago but that is of little value to you today!
The trip from Belfast to Enniskillen takes about 2hrs and 15mins.
There are around 14 buses per day on weekdays, less on weekends and holidays.
The reach Europa Buscentre from Belfast International Airport (Aldergrove) you take service number 300 – cost GBP 7.50 single – and from George Best Belfast City Airport service number 600 – cost GBP 2.50 single. If you take service 300 I think you are entitled to a discount on onward Ulsterbus services (eg 261 to Enniskillen) on the same day. Ask!
Timetable information and more details on fares are available on the Translink website – https://www.translink.co.uk/ . The Translink website provides detail on all Northern Ireland public transport options.
As from Belfast you have only one option – thankfully an excellent one.
The ‘option’ is a Bus Éireann coach which you can take from Busáras (Dublin City bus station, Store Street, Dublin 1) or from Dublin Airport should you arrive by air. The route number is 30. The buses are of high quality (as depicted) and wifi internet connection is available though the quality of this varies from good to non-existent depending on where you are on the trip.
While Bus Éireann offers an online booking facility it is not available for this cross-border service.
In Dublin tickets can be purchased in the bus station (machine or counter) or inside the airport building in the arrivals area. Tickets can also be purchased on the bus at the same cost. Note that ticket prices are in Euro and not in Pounds Sterling even if you buy your ticket in Enniskillen. I have used this service many times and it typically runs at about 50% capacity so no need to worry about not getting a ticket on the day.
If you plan on taking the bus both ways get a return ticket which lasts a month as this offers a substantial saving on the cost of two one-way tickets. A one-way ticket from Dublin (city or airport) to Enniskillen or vice versa, in August 2015, was Euro20. Return fare Euro28.
The trip from Dublin Airport to Enniskillen bus station takes about 2.5hrs – 20 minutes longer from Dublin City centre. Please note that you cannot take this bus from Dublin City to the Airport or vice versa.
Timetable information and more details on fares is available on Bus Éireann’s website – http://www.buseireann.ie/
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on many trips to Enniskillen. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Visit the Fermanagh Visitors Information Centre – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – “Fare thee well Enniskillen, ………..”