Enniskillen has fine shops along its main street, which changes its name five times (East Bridge, Townhall, High, Church, Darling, Ann) as it runs the length of the town. Most shops are open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 5:30pm.
The largest shopping complex in Enniskillen is the Erneside Shopping Centre (028/6632-5705; www.ernesideshopping.com), a modern bi-level mall on Shore Road, just off Wellington Road. It stays open until 9pm on Thursday and Friday. The other principal towns for shopping in the area are Irvinestown and Lisnaskea.
The town's former butter market offers a nifty shopping experience. Dating from 1835, it has been restored and transformed into the Buttermarket, Enniskillen Craft and Design Centre, Down Street. There are various craft stores and workshops here, with occasional traditional music, craft fairs, and street theater to enliven the atmosphere.
Perhaps the most famous Irish homeware brand in the world after Waterford Crystal, Belleek Pottery has been making fine china since 1864. The Belleek Visitor Centre, Belleek, County Fermanagh (www.belleek.ie; 028/6865-9300) is the world headquarters of the brand. You can look around their museum—which displays unique objects of Belleek pottery, such as the extraordinary International Centre Piece vase they created for the 1900 Paris Expo—and also take factory tours. But of course, the reason most people come is to visit the enormous gift shop.
If you’re not a china expert, but you still want to bring back some Belleek pieces from your trip, here are a few tips to ensure that your purchases become heirlooms:
- The Belleek Heirloom Centre has the best selection of patterns from which to choose, giving you lots of options and a wide price range.
- At the center, all the china is displayed around the room. You walk around looking at all the pieces, and then note the item numbers of those pieces you like. You take the numbers to the central counter, and they bring boxed china pieces to you.
- Make sure they pull the pieces out of the boxes so you can be sure they are what you expected.
- Take the pieces from the sales assistant and look at them closely. This is delicate china, and it can have tiny imperfections that you can only see by getting up close and personal.
- Be particularly conscious of the bottom of the piece—look for tiny hairline cracks. We bought a lovely Belleek vase once that looked perfect, but leaked through a nearly invisible crack.
- The center will ship internationally if you don’t want to risk taking your purchases on a plane.
- If it looks good to you and you love it—buy it! You may not get the chance again.
The Belleek Centre is open July to September, weekdays 9am to 6pm, Saturdays 10am to 6pm, and Sundays 2 to 5pm; March to June, weekdays 9am to 5:30pm, Saturdays 10am to 5:30pm, Sundays noon to 5:30pm; October to December, weekdays 9am to 6pm, Saturdays 10am to 5:30pm, Sundays noon to 5pm; and January to February, weekdays 9am to 5:30pm, closed weekends.
On weekdays, factory tours run every half-hour from 9:30am to 12:15pm and 1:45 to 4pm (last tour 3pm on Friday). From June to September, there are also Saturday tours from 10:30am to 12:15pm and 2 to 4pm. Tour tickets cost £5 adults, £3 seniors and students, £10 families, and free for children age 11 and under.
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.