Fermanagh Area Plan 2007
Introduction: Plan Area
This Plan is for the area covered by Fermanagh District Council. The District is the most south-westerly in Northern Ireland and borders four counties in the Republic of Ireland, Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan and Leitrim. The District is bisected by the River Erne system which flows from south-east to north-west along the length of Fermanagh. Since the opening of the Shannon-Erne waterway this is part of one of the most extensive inland waterways in Europe.
The population of Fermanagh has increased steadily since 1966, and is now around 55,100*.
Enniskillen, the largest town in Fermanagh, occupies a strategic position at one of the four crossing points of Lough Erne, where the Upper Lough is a narrow river channel before widening out into the expanse of Lower Lough Erne and where historic settlement focused on 'the island'.
Fermanagh is a predominantly rural District with over 75% of the population living outside Enniskillen and agriculture, although declining, remains the principal economic activity. The importance of agriculture is reflected in the manufacturing sector with a significant element of food processing. Other important manufacturing industries are in the textile and craft sectors, e.g. Desmond & Sons Limited and Belleek Pottery. Tourism is a major contributor to the local economy with potential for further growth. Limestone quarrying occurs at several locations in the District and also supports an important cement manufacturing business.
Recent advances in telecommunications technology have helped to overcome some of the economic disadvantages of peripherality and generated new job opportunities.
Fermanagh is renowned for the quality and diversity of its landscapes, natural environment, man-made heritage and wildlife interest. The lakeland scenery and rich heritage of Lough Erne, its shores and islands, is the major tourist attraction of the District.
* (Registrar Generals 1994 mid year estimate).