PING

After months of restrictions a Golf and Spa break at the luxurious Lough Erne Resort was just what the doctor ordered.  

Less than two hours from Belfast and Dublin situated in the heart of the beautiful Fermanagh Lakeland is the award winning Five Star Luxury Lough Erne Resort. 

There are two Championship golf courses, Castle Hume and the award winning Faldo Course, plus a top class Golf Academy. 

Lough Erne’s unique Thai Spa was awarded Northern Ireland’s Leading Spa Resort at the World Travel Awards in 2016. The Spa offers both authentic Thai Spa experiences and luxury Espa treatments. There is an excellent thermal suite, and infinity pool and gym. The thermal suite is complimentary to hotel guests. 

As we arrived at the hotel entrance we were politely asked to stand in front of a device to have a temperature check and to use the hand sanitisers. I did find it reassuring to know that government guidelines were here being adhered to. 

The atmosphere around the reception area was warm and friendly. As we waited to be checked in, my eyes were drawn to the richly decorated hallway and lounge area with its antique furniture and open fire. For a moment I had a sense of being in some fine Old Country House.

We were staying in a two-bedroomed lodge overlooking Castle Hume Lough. The luxuriously furnished rooms were spacious and beautifully furnished. All rooms had magnificent views of the Lough and the course. 

Once we had settled in, unpacked the golf clubs, checked in at the very elegant golf reception, we were off across the wooden bridge to the first tee on the Faldo course. 

The first few holes wind through lovely mature woodland and around the wetland areas of Castle Hume Lough. The par 3, 5th [Dovecott Carry] is a challenging and fun hole. It is all carry to a peninsula green. Next was a long uphill par 5, [Collop Rise.]  This is a fantastic hole, once you reach the green the views over Castle Hume Lough and Lough Erne are stunning. The 7th slopes down to the waters edge. [Devenish Drop] Rory McIlroy was the first golfer to drive this green.

After the scenic par 5, 9th a quick break at the fantastic half way house is a must. 

The 10th [Emerald Isle] is Lough Erne’s signature hole spectacular hole on the edge of Lough Erne. The14th and16th [Faldo Turn] holes are both excellent par 5s. Views over the estate are spectacular. The final two holes are played along the shore of Castle Hume lough. The tricky par-3 finishing hole with sand on the left and water on the right of green adds an enjoyable and challenging finish to a great round of golf.

This course has something for everyone from the low handicap player to the higher, it is  exiting, challenging and beautiful. All of which, Faldo envisaged and achieved.

Food at Lough Erne is exceptional, there are three superb restaurants. First is the award winning, fine dining restaurant, The Catalina. The other two, the Blaney Bar and the Loughside bar and grill offer a more casual option.  

We had dinner in the Blaney Bar on the first evening. The choice was excellent.

For starters we chose the Asian Bento Box to share. There was a nice little selection of Dim Sum, Duck Spring Rolls, Spicy Noodles, Mango and Coriander Kimchi. For the main I couldn’t resist the burger and my friend Ann went for the fish, both were very good and reasonably priced. 

The following evening we had a fantastic meal in the Loughside bar and grill.The setting and atmosphere was relaxing and the view from the terrace over the lake and countryside was stunning. 

For dinner I went straight for the Ribeye with Béarnaise sauce paired with some very nice S.A. Cabernet  Sauvignon, 2017 Stellenbosh. My friend Ann chose to have the prawn starter followed by Seabass paired with a bottle of N.Z Sauvignon Blanc.

Breakfast both days was superb, the choice was a full Irish which included local bacon, sausage, black pudding, eggs and potato bread. Killybeggs natural smoked haddock with poached eggs. Smoked salmon with free range scrambled eggs,

or Eggs Benedict, continental, served with real filtered coffee. 

Because of Covid restrictions breakfast was served to the table, the staff were friendly and nothing was too much trouble.

I was very impressed by the excellent selection of vegetarian options on all the restaurant menus.

As well as playing golf, enjoying the leisure and Spa facilities there are many other things to see and do on the estate. From The Callop Walk you will see lots of wild life including very rare red squirrels, pheasants, beavers, hawks and not least the spectacular scenery. 

The lakes are popular for fishing, in fact anglers come from all over Europe for course fishing. Lough Erne is famous for fly fishing especially during the May Fly season. 

Our two day break went too fast. This is what happens when you’re having fun, or so they say. One thing is for sure what ever your reason for visiting you are certain to have a most pleasurable experience at this luxurious five star Lough Erne Retreat in the heart of Beautiful County Fermanagh.

Ger. Bradley

 

www.loughernegolfresort.com.