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Things to see and do along the Fermanagh & Omagh section of the IAT Ulster-Ireland

Planning a visit to Fermanagh’s iconic Marble Arch Caves or Stairway to Heaven? Why not go one step better and explore some of the Fermanagh and Omagh section of the IAT Ulster-Ireland. Leaving the beautiful hills of Donegal behind, the IAT Ulster-Ireland brings you to Fermanagh and Omagh which boasts lakes, hilltop views and some spectacular waterfalls. The wild untouched Sperrins landscape is unlike anything you will see when exploring Northern Ireland on foot.

Bessy Bell Summit Trail

The Bessy Bell Summit Trail is the perfect introduction to the beloved Sperrin Mountain Range. Situated in the valley of the Strule River and Baronscourt Estate, Bessy Bell is named after the Scottish Folklore of Bessy Bell and Mary Gray, a neighbouring summit. Start your journey from The Mellon Country Inn and venture up the trail to the left of the carpark. Pick some billberries in the pasture below and pass through the barren farmland. The opening is covered in moorland of rough grass and heather, numerous wind turbines and a Holy Well. Looking out on a clear day, you will have spectacular views of Mullaghcarn, Pigeon Top and Sawel Mountain. Turn back and take off towards the Mellon Country Inn and check out what they have to offer.

Ulster American Folk Park

Explore the great connection between Ulster and America (no, it’s not just the IAT that joins the two nations) at the renowned Ulster American Folk Park. The Folk Park is situated on the family homestead of Thomas Mellon, an entrepreneur who emigrated to America, with many following in his footsteps.

Take a step into the past and explore three generations of the Irish emigration with a range of 30 exhibits showcasing the way of life in Ulster before thousands dispersed to America. Wander around the cottages, stores, and cobbled streets with demonstrations on show such as wool spinning, turf cutting and willow weaving. Step onto a full-scale emigrant ship and get a feel for the emigrants long and daunting journey to the New World. Pop into the Loaf Café in the Visitor Centre or treat yourself to an ice-cream for your journey back in time. If you visit in the late summer, you may even find yourself toe-tapping at the annual Bluegrass Festival.

Gortin Glen Forest Park

The Gortin Glen Forest Park is a wonderful hidden gem in the heartland of Tyrone. The forest park is the perfect destination for families, with free parking, a large adventure play area, and Brie’s Barista Bar dishing out coffees and ice cream. The forest park is home to over 2,500 acres of greenery, which was once solely used for timber production and is the first forest park to be established in a coniferous woodland. The colour coordinated trails allow you to explore the nested woodland whether you’re running, mountain biking or walking. You may make a friend along the way in the red squirrels with their bushy tails and reddish-brown coats running through the forest or you can check if the fairies are home. If you don’t feel like getting out of the car, there is also a five-mile scenic drive to enjoy the magnificent scenery.


The purple trail starting at the Gortin Glen Forest Park is the most exerting, taking you to the top of Mullaghcarn. Mullaghcarn is a mountain on the edge of the Forest Park, with the summit reaching 1778 ft. The gradual rise ends with a steep climb near the summit, however you are greeted with a spectacular view of the green blanket covering Gortin Glens for miles and miles. This summit is part of the sculpture trail through the region so you may come face to face with a Giant!!!!

Gortin Lakes

The hidden lakes of Gortin are a must see when exploring the IAT- Ulster Ireland. The figure-eight gravel path surrounded by heather and abundant vegetation explores the two tranquil deep-water lakes with picnic tables and benches along the way to enjoy the views.

Gortin Village

In the valley of the Sperrins, the village of Gortin has a small selection of shops and mart (local agricultural market). The Auld Bank Coffee shop is a must for those in search of a nice lunch or a warming up of tea/coffee. There are also a number of local pubs where you can find a good pint of Guinness.  Grab a coffee and sweet treat and explore the Owenkillew River, which is home to otters who live in the holes in the riverbank, fresh water pearls and even Atlantic Salmon, just before they migrate.

Butterlope Farm

Learn to forage and grow vegetables at Butterlope Farm. The mainly hill sheep farm is just 2 miles from the village Plumbridge and is perfect for a family day out. The farm is home to calves, laying hens and sheep dogs or if you’re feeling peckish, explore the kitchen garden and polytunnel and maybe even take a few vegetables home.

Gortin Historic Park

A real hidden Gem the Gortin Historic Park is now part of Glenpark Estate which boasts both a restaurant and caravan site. You could easily drive or walk part this large patch of forest and see nothing of interest. Thousands drive and walk past each year without realising what lies hidden in the centre of this small forest as nothing can be seen from any angle on the outside other than tall pine trees and dense woodland. Once a popular outdoor museum called the “Ulster History Park”. First opened in 1990 it was constructed to include a monk’s round tower, 2 castles, mills & various houses, standing stone circles, wedge/portal tombs, an artificial lake & island dwelling all to show visitors what life in Ireland was like thousands of years ago.

This really is just a snapshot of some of the wonderful places you can explore on foot in Fermanagh and Omagh when you follow the IAT Ulster-Ireland route. Share your own discoveries along this epic trail with us on social media using #IATUlsterIreland.