Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland: Lough Erne

In ancient times Lough Erne was a thoroughfare for both Viking raiders and Christianity-spreading monks

Our series on what makes province so special heads west

Terry Wogan interviewed me for his BBC series on Ireland, as he wanted to find out about the spirituality of Fermanagh and whether it was really a place where the sun always shone as I had indicated on his radio show.

I showed him Lough Erne, where the spirituality comes out of the water.

In the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries, Ireland was more wooded than anywhere on these islands and the main form of transport was the River Shannon and Lough Erne.

You could come in at Limerick, cross the heart of Ireland and exit in Donegal, which is what the Vikings did.

After the time of St Patrick, the monks founded monasteries on these watery motorways, where people could see them.

The Devenish monastic site contains the most perfect round tower in Northern Ireland among its wonderful ruins.

The spiritual prayers of |the monks have left a sense of calm and peace in this place.

When I want to escape, I go to Innishdavar, a small island which is especially beautiful in May when it is carpeted with bluebells. You can hear the cuckoo and rarer species of birds trilling and singing the magical music of God’s own heaven.

Father Brian D’Arcy (65) is the priest superior in charge of Enniskillen Monastery, a Fermanagh native and broadcaster

How you can shape the Seven Wonders

So what do you, the reader, think makes Northern Ireland special?

As our series runs every day over the next month we invite readers to vote on which landmark or aspect of life here as detailed by our celebrity contributors that they most agree with.

At the conclusion of the series this will enable us to draw up a list of the Seven Wonders of Northern Ireland — the things that really make Northern Ireland great.

Your choices can be sent to Belfast Telegraph, 124-144 Royal Avenue, Belfast BT1 1EB or alternatively send an email to featureseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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