Lower Lough Erne
Lower Lough Erne is a more open expanse of water than the Upper Lough, with its 90-odd islands clustered mainly in the southern reaches. In early Christian times, when overland travel was difficult, Lough Erne was an important highway between the Donegal coast and inland Leitrim, and there are many ancient religious sites and other antiquities dotted around its shores.
Upper Lough Erne
Upper Lough Erne is not so much a lake as a watery maze of more than 150 islands, inlets, reedy bays and meandering backwaters. Bird life is abundant: flocks of whooper swan and goldeneye overwinter here; great crested grebes nest in the spring; and you'll find Ireland's biggest heronry in a 400-year-old oak grove on the island of Inishfendra, just south of Crom Estate.
Boa Island, at the northern end of Lower Lough Erne, is connected to the mainland at both ends – the main A47 road runs along its length. Spooky, moss-grown Caldragh graveyard, towards the western end of the island, contains the famous Janus Stone. Perhaps 2000 years old, this pagan figure is carved with two grotesque human heads, back to back.
The churchyard at Killadeas, 11km north of Enniskillen on the B82, contains several unusual carved stones. Most famous is the 1m-high Bishop's Stone, dating from between the 7th and 9th centuries, which has a Celtic head reminiscent of the White Island figures carved on its narrow western edge, and an engraving of a bishop with bell and crosier on the side.