In my review on Devenish Island I note that there are a number of ways to get to the island, one of the best preserved monastic sites in Ireland. One of these is to take a tour on the M.V. Kestrel, from the Round ‘O’ Jetty in Enniskillen. While seasonal and tours are subject to minimum numbers, this is probably the most reliable way of getting to Devenish Island – a must see on your visit to Co Fermanagh.

While Devenish Island is the highlight of the 2hrs tour and the boat moors there giving you 45 minutes to explore the island (sufficient for most visitors) before returning to Enniskillen, the journey there and back is a great way to see part of Lower Lough Erne.

216The captain provides an informative commentary on things along the route, concentrating on Portora Royal School (up on the hill to your left as you leave the jetty), the schools boat-house a little further along and the Portora Lock Gates which, to be fair has nothing to do, with the school. Portora Castle, which truant Portora Royal School science students once tried to blow up, also rated a mention though, as I recall, it is not visible from the boat – at least I didn’t see it.

I wondered, if like me, El Capitano was a former pupil of the school.

The commentary also covers local wildlife. We saw nothing on my most recent trip but the Captain advised that ‘Mallard Ducks, Mute Swans, Grey Herons, Coots, Moorhens, Great Crested Grebe and colourful Kingfisher’ can be seen. I have seen all of these at other times in the Enniskillen area and you will almost certainly see Mallard Ducks and Mute Swans at the Round ‘O’ Jetty.

The M.V. Kestrel is completely enclosed (glass roof) with a very small space at the stern of the boat to sit out on the deck. That said, there is a licensed bar inside, with hot drinks and snacks also available, so who would want to sit on the deck anyway! Windows can be opened on hot days.

If intending to park at the Round ‘O’ give yourself sufficient time to find a parking spot. While there are normally lots of free parking spots it can be hard to find one on nice days in peak season and at weekends when local people congregate here for a walk or a picnic. There is no charge for parking.

Tour times

Public tours to Devenish Island are available from May until the end of October:

• May/Sept and Oct two sailings per day (14.15 and 16.15) on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday
• June two sailings per day (14.15 and 16.15) 7 days per week
• July and August four sailings per day (10.30, 12.15, 14.15 and 16.15) 7 days per week.

Tour Cost

Adults GBP 10.00
Seniors GBP 9.00
Children (under 12) GBP 6
Families (2 adults, 2 children) GBP 28

Be aware that the boat does not go if minimum numbers are not met. This presented no problem for us on a tour in August 2015. It was almost full.

While I have not partaken of one, the M.V. Kestrel also offers a dinner cruise. This translates to taking you on a short trip from the jetty to the Killyhelvin Hotel for a three course dinner and then taking you back into town after dinner. The inclusive price (2015) of cruise, dinner and ‘light music’ was GBP25 for adults and GBP15 for under twelves. Dinner cruises are available Saturday evenings between May and September – departing 18.30hrs.

The M.V. Kestrel is also available for private hire and is licensed to carry up to 56 people.

All timings and costs above were current in August 2015.

Address: Round ‘O’ Jetty, Brook Park, Enniskillen
Phone: 028 6632 2882
Website: http://www.ernetours.com

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 – Devenish Island – Monastic Site – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – “Fare thee well Enniskillen, ………..”

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