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Fermanagh and Omagh

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 Plans Finalised

St. Patrick’s Festival

Preparations are at an advanced stage for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s St Patrick’s Festival 2021 which takes place this year from Friday 12– Saturday 20 March.

The Festival, launched recently by the Chair of the Council, Councillor Diana Armstrong, while different in nature to previous events, will be one of the largest and most ambitious virtual programmes undertaken by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Speaking about the festival, Councillor Armstrong said:

“The programme is a rich and varied celebration of all that is good about St Patrick’s Day and while it is certainly different to previous years, it still affords us the opportunity to celebrate in a connected and positive way.”

Full Programme of Virtual Entertainment

A full programme of virtual entertainment featuring music, dance, storytelling and arts and crafts will be live streamed from the Ardhowen and Strule Arts Centre. There is something for everyone with music from the Tumbling Paddies, Cliona Hagan, The Drunken Lullabies and The Logues to name but a few. Arts and Crafts sessions are also programmed together with storytelling in both English and Irish and a session of Folk Tales from Fermanagh.

‘The Story of Saint Patrick’, a short film charting Saint Patrick’s life from his abduction at the age of 16 to his return as an adult bringing Christianity to the local population will be launched on the Council’s social media channels on Tuesday 9 March 2021.

The popular St Patrick’s Festival Primary Schools art exhibition returns again this year, albeit virtually and will be launched on Friday 12 March.

Find Out More

A number of virtual community initiatives, supported by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, will take place across the district as part of the Festival.

For details on the St Patrick’s Festival programme, click here.

Fermanagh and Omagh

Cuilcagh Boardwalk Pre-Booking System is a Summer Success

The car park pre-booking system, which launched in June of this year, has welcomed almost 5,000 bookings in three months.

Cuilcagh Boardwalk’s official car park has received almost 5,000 bookings within three months of launching its online booking system, theboardwalk.ie.

The booking system was created earlier this year with the aim of facilitating more effective crowd management and social distancing regulations, controlling numbers during the peak season and ensuring the safety of all staff and visitors.

With hopes of also fostering sustainable, green tourism at the popular Fermanagh landmark, the limited visitor numbers better enable the protection of the grounds and surrounding habitat by controlling the heavy footfall often experienced at the Instagram-worthy attraction. This was the original cause that led to the original construction of the boardwalk by UNESCO-endorsed Cuilcagh Lakeland Geopark, with the paths meandering through one of the largest blanket bogs in Northern Ireland.

The online bookings have come from all across the island of Ireland as people have enjoyed staycations, bank holidays and two unprecedented heatwaves this summer. While the initiative has received initial success, the bookings only represent a small percentage of walkers currently visiting the boardwalk each day and the mountain trail aims to see more visitors doing their part and pre-booking their car parking space in the months ahead.

Speaking on the success of the online system to date, local farmer, Cuilcagh landowner and car park operator, John Sheridan commented:

“This online system marked an important first step in the long-term redevelopment plans for Cuilcagh Boardwalk, and the number of online bookings to date indicates that we are successfully engaging with and encouraging walkers to be more environmentally conscious during their visit.

With that said, our work is not done. We want to encourage 100% visitors to pre-book their car parking space, so that we can safely control numbers on the boardwalk each day and reduce the impact of high-volume visitor traffic.”

Cuilcagh Boardwalk is also now part of the national Leave No Trace education programme, which focuses on developing a national ethic that protects both natural and cultural heritage by minimising the environmental and social impacts of tourism on some of the country’s most popular visitor attractions.

Cuilcagh Boardwalk’s online car park booking system comes as part of early development plans for the mountain trail and is determined to remain a sustainable, environmentally mindful area for all to enjoy.

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Fermanagh and Omagh

Wild About the Workhouse Wildlife Walks in Enniskillen

Did you know there are eight species of bats in Northern Ireland or that swifts, on leaving their nest for the first time, are airborne for 2-3 years before they land for the first time!

Would you like to learn more about bats, swifts and local wildlife in Enniskillen?

If so, registration is now open to join a ‘Wild About the Workhouse’ guided walk taking place around Enniskillen on Friday 2 July and Friday 23 July 2021 at 8.30 pm.

These walks, organised by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, are part of the Enniskillen Workhouse Project in partnership with South West College with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Enniskillen Workhouse is currently home to swifts during the spring and summer months and bats potentially all year round.

Nesting swifts and bats are both protected species, therefore, as part of the restoration of the workhouse to create a business enterprise and heritage hub, the Council is protecting and enhancing the nesting and roosting spaces that are there by following specialist guidance on construction timings, building advice and appropriate mitigation.

The walks will be on footpaths and walkways around Enniskillen town at night taking in Enniskillen Castle and Fermanagh Lakeland Forum.

To find out more and book your place on a ‘Wild About the Workhouse’ guided walk, please email biodiversity@fermanaghomagh.com

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis as numbers are restricted to 15 per walk.

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