22 Oct Florence Court , Enniskillen
One of the most important houses in Ulster. Worth seeing on any tours of Ireland.
It was built in the mid – eighteenth century by John Cole, father of the first Earl of Enniskillen.
It is particularly noted for its rococo plasterwork by Robert West of Dublin.
The furnishings include travelling chests which belonged to King William III and Queen Mary, as well as a chamber-pot with the features of William Ewart Gladstone inside. He was the nineteenth century British Prime Minister who strongly advocated Home Rule for Ireland, and the Unionists in Fermanagh left him in no doubt about what they thought of him.
Florence Court has a superb setting, and its surrounding woodlands contain the progenitor of the world-famous “Irish Yew”, which was discovered on the estate as a seeding by the head gardener in the late 1700s. It cannot be truly reproduced by seed, and has to be propagated from cuttings.
The visitor could usefully spend a day exploring the delights of Florence Court and the Marble Arch Caves nearby.
Enniskillen, the main town in Fermanagh, has its own history and dignity in its setting on an island between Upper and Lower Lough Erne.
It was the seat of the Maguires, the local cheiftains, and the home of famous regiments including the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Inniskilling Dragoons. The Duke of Wellington remarked that the Inniskillings saved the centre of his line at Waterloo. Napoleon reflected ruefully “That regiment with the castle on their caps – they know not when they are beaten.”
Enniskillen has a colourful history, and the former pupils of the Portora Royal School, founded by King James I in 1608, include the writers Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, as well as Henry Francis Lyte who wrote a number of popular hymns including Abide With Me.
Well-known recent citizens included the pianist and composer Valerie Trimble, whose family owned the splendidly named newspaper The Impartial Reporter, though not quite so famous as the now defunct Skibbereen Eagle in the Irish Republic which warned the world that is had its eye on the Czar of Russia.
Come and see all of this on Ireland tours with the leading personalised tour company in Ireland…..”Ireland Luxury Tours”
Enniskillen is also very accessible on Belfast tours and from cruise ships in Belfast.