We’ve been fairly quiet on the blog over the last couple of months but we’ve a pretty good reason for this, as we became parents for the first time at the start of May. Little Lewis David Toner arrived fit and healthy on Sunday 7th May, and he’s been keeping us on our toes ever since. We hadn’t planned any trips away over the summer due to the arrival of Lewis, but we did take the opportunity to head away to Enniskillen for a few days, as we checked into the newly refurbished lodges at the 4-Star Killyhevlin Hotel.
First Impressions of the Lodges at Killyhevlin Hotel
One thing we’ve learned since becoming parents is that travelling a long-distance with a kid isn’t an easy task. Enniskillen is about two hours from Newcastle, but travelling with Lewis meant a few stops along the way, so we arrived at the Killyhevlin around 6pm. We got checked in and made our way down towards the lodges. While we’d seen photos online, we weren’t sure what to expect, and as we turned the corner to drive along the river bank towards our lodge, we could already tell we were in for a treat.
We pulled up beside our lodge, and as we entered, our first impressions were that the lodge was an amazing space, perfect for a family break. The open-plan living area is a nice modern space with all the utilities you need for a self-catering break, and as we set our bags down we stood and admired the great view of the River Erne that the lodges presented. The lodge was a 2-bedroom lodge, both spacious and both with an ensuite, and with a lovely decking area outside, these lodges really are perfect for a family break in Fermanagh.
As we got settled in for the evening, we relaxed out on our decking and just watched the world go by. This is obviously a popular area for boats, as several boats passed by our lodge in the first hour of us settling in. With Lewis fed and changed, we decided to go for a nice evening walk in the grounds of Killyhevlin before visiting the hotels Kove Restaurant, where we had a 3-course meal as part of our stay.
Dinner at Kove Restaurant, Killyhevlin Hotel
It was a Wednesday night when we arrived and there was a wedding at the hotel and a few large groups of people dining at Kove, but we managed to get a table and found a nice quiet spot in the restaurant. The evening walk had helped us to put Lewis over to sleep, so finding a quiet spot in the restaurant was important as we wanted to do our best to enjoy our meal without awakening Lewis.
Starter at Kove Restaurant
We took our seat in the restaurant and scanned our eye over the menu, licking our lips at some of the dishes on offer. While we could have opted to just choose separately from the menu, we decided to go with the 3-course set menu and started with a BBQ & Jack Daniels Pork Ribs with Spiced Asian Slaw (Nial) and Oriental Beef & Mushroom Salad (Helen). The pork ribs were succulent and fell off the bone, while the glaze really hit the spot. The Asian slaw had a nice kick to it and was a great accompaniment to the pork. A nice start to the evening.
The oriental beef and mushroom salad was served with egg noodles and coated in a spicy sauce consisting of garlic, ginger, sweet chilli and soy sauce. There was a real kick from the sauce, and if you’re not a fan of spicy food, this probably isn’t for you. This was another nice starter and set us up for the main course.
Main Course at Kove Restaurant
For the main course, we opted for a Daube of Beef (Nial) and a Honey & Soy Roasted Pork Loin Chop (Helen). The daube of beef was slow cooked to perfection, and you could have sat with a spoon and worked your way through it. This was served with a spring onion mash, mushrooms, and a rich silverskin onion gravy. A pleasant main course that was just what was needed following our drive from Newcastle.
The honey and soy roasted pork loin chop was also served with an onion gravy and spring onion mash. A nice portion of pork with plenty of flavour, especially in the sauce, this was another tasty main course. We got a portion of chips and a side of vegetables (carrots, parsnips and broccoli), which was needed just to add another texture to the main course.
Dessert at Kove Restaurant
Last up was dessert, and we opted for the Trio of Chocolate (Nial) and a Mango & Passionfruit Bavarois (Helen). The trio of chocolate was a layered chocolate cake with dark, milk and white chocolate. If you’re a fan of chocolate then this is a dessert that will certainly hit the spot for you. The mango and passion fruit bavarois was a refreshing dessert and a lovely way to finish the evening. The dessert consisted of a mango and passion fruit mousse, sat on top of an almond biscuit base, and finished with a dollop of cream.
As we left the Kove Restaurant to head back to our lodge, we took a short walk around the grounds of the hotel and reflected on what had been a great evening. The food had certainly hit the spot, while the service from the team at Kove Restaurant was top-notch. We were also fortunate that Lewis had managed to sleep for the whole of our dining experience, another bonus for the evening. After a short walk around the grounds, we made our way back to the lodge to call it a night.
As we woke for the second day, we enjoyed a morning of just taking in the views outside our lodge, as boats and rowers sailed past. We were experiencing a typical July day in Northern Ireland as the weather wasn’t great. We left the lodge and made our way towards the nearby Castle Coole. A short walk around the castle grounds with Lewis was a great start to the day. The stunning 18th-century mansion is a National Trust property and one of the most popular attractions in Enniskillen.
From Castle Coole, we made our way into the centre of Enniskillen the popular Buttermarket. We took a quick walk around the craft shops before heading to Enniskillen Castle. The castle was renovated last year and we enjoyed a fantastic meal here last year as part of Festival Lough Erne (you can read more about it here). Enniskillen Castle is home to two museums – the Fermanagh County Museum and the Inniskillings Museum.
We took a walk through the castle grounds with Lewis, and indeed along the banks of the River Erne which runs through the town. The Fermanagh County Museum gives you a good insight into the history of the county, and if our stay in the area was for a few more days we’d certainly have explored more of the historic areas in the county, in particular, the many ancient castles dotted around the county.
Travelling with an infant isn’t always easy, and something we’re finding out more and more is that you can’t make plans to see and do too much. With the evening starting to approach, we decided to head back to the Killyhevlin Lodges as it had been a long day for Lewis. A quick bite to eat and it was time to call it a night, but the idyllic surroundings of the lodge certainly made us all feel right at home and left us wishing we had stayed for more than two nights.
Discovering Fermanagh and Homeward Bound
As we woke up on our final morning in Killyhevlin, we took another stroll around the grounds of the hotel with Lewis, again, just watching the world go by as boats sailed along the River Erne. Boat trips are one of the big attractions for visitors to Fermanagh although we couldn’t join one as it would just be too much for Lewis. We did, however, visit two more popular Fermanagh tourist attractions before departing for home.
First up was the stunning Florence Court, another 18th-century National Trust property. The weather had decided to take a bit of a turn for the worse so unfortunately, we couldn’t spend as much time exploring the grounds of the property as we’d like. We did, however, have enough time to explore the gardens, home to the famous Florence Court Yew.
From Florence Court, we made the small trip towards the Marble Arch Cave Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark that lies on the border of Cavan and Fermanagh. The Geopark provides great views out to Cuilcagh Mountain, the highest point in both counties. We took a quick walk around the visitor centre at the Marble Arch Caves and made the most of the views out to Cuilcagh, but travelling with Lewis meant these stays were rather brief.
We left Fermanagh with plenty of memories from our first family holiday and the realisation that our weekends away will never be the same again. Fermanagh is a truly lovely part of the world and provides the perfect opportunity to escape from it all. If you’re looking a family break, the lodges at Killyhevlin are a great place to visit. With scenic walks and wonderful views, this really is a wonderful family getaway. Check out our video to get an idea of what lies in wait for you at the Killyhevlin.
Have You Visited The Lodges at Killyhevlin
Have you visited the lodges at Killyhevlin, or the Killyhevlin Hotel itself? We’d love to hear what you thought of it, so share your experiences below. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and share your favourite Fermanagh attractions with us.