Castle Coole

County Fermanagh

This National Trust–owned neoclassical palace sits in 600 hectares of beautiful parkland containing a lake that's home to the UK's only nonmigratory colony of greylag geese. The house's double cantilever staircase, Italian marble fireplaces, Regency furniture and basement servants quarters can be seen on one-hour guided tours.

Castle Coole is 2.5km southeast of Enniskillen; it's a pleasant 5km walk or cycle along the Castle to Castle path from Enniskillen Castle.

Designed by James Wyatt, the Palladian mansion was built between 1789 and 1795 for Armar Lowry-Corry, the first earl of Belmore, and is probably the purest expression of late-18th-century neoclassical architecture in Ireland. When King George IV visited Ireland in 1821, the second earl of Belmore had a state bedroom specially prepared at Castle Coole in anticipation of the monarch's visit. The king, however, was more interested in dallying with his mistress at Slane Castle and never turned up. The bedroom, draped in red silk and decorated with paintings depicting A Rake's Progress, is one of the highlights of the house tour.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby County Fermanagh attractions

1. War Memorial

1.47 MILES

A bronze soldier stands atop a monument in memory of Fermanagh's war dead. Doves on the plinth commemorate the 11 people killed by an IRA bomb at the site…

2. Clock Tower

1.65 MILES

Completed in 1901, Enniskillen's clock tower is watched over by two stone soldiers – an Inniskilling Fusilier and an Inniskilling Dragoon – representing…

3. St Michael's Church

1.79 MILES

Dominating the centre of Enniskillen, this soaring church dates to only 1875, having replaced an early church that was collapsing. There's lavish artwork…

5. Enniskillen Castle Museums

1.91 MILES

Enniskillen Castle, a former stronghold of the 16th-century Maguire chieftains, guards the western end of the town's central island, its twin-turreted…

6. Sheelin Antique Irish Lace Shop

3.14 MILES

This lace shop also houses a small collection of Irish lace dating from 1850 to 1900. Lace-making was an important cottage industry in the region both…

7. Devenish Island

3.56 MILES

Devenish Island, from Daimh Inis, meaning 'Ox Island', is the biggest of several 'holy islands' in Lough Erne. The remains of an Augustinian monastery,…

8. Florence Court

8.55 MILES

Set in lovely wooded grounds in the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain, Florence Court, 12km southwest of Enniskillen, is famous for its rococo plasterwork and…