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Touring the Lakes & Islands

One of the best ways to explore Lough Erne is by boat. Erne Tours Ltd., Enniskillen (www.ernetoursltd.com; 028/6632-2882), operates 2-hour cruises on Lower Lough Erne aboard the MV Kestrel, departing daily May through September from the delightfully named Round “O” Jetty, Brook Park, Enniskillen. Tours include a 45-minute stop on Devenish Island ★★. They also run dinner cruises. Call for schedules. Upper Lough Erne cruises are operated on Sundays and bank holidays by Share Holiday Village, Smith’s Strand, Lisnaskea (www.sharevillage.org; 028/6772-2122). Fares for both cruises start at £10 adults, £9 seniors, or £6 for children under 16. Call for reservations and to confirm times.

Independent boatmen offer ferry crossings to some of the many islands in Lough Erne. Besides Devenish Island, White Island and Boa Island are rich in archaeological and early Christian remains. On White Island, seven stone figures remain from a vanished 10th-century monastery inside a ruined 12th-century church. (The ferry to White Island runs from Castle Archdale Marina in Irvinestown; 028/6862-1892; fare £5 round-trip.) Boa Island is connected to the shore by bridges; poke around the cemetery at the island’s west end to find two ancient idols of the god Janus (with faces looking both ways), thought to date from the 1st century.

Though it's possible to visit all three islands in a single day, it's a bit ambitious. Begin with Devenish, then visit White, and, if time permits, finish up with Boa.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.