Pocket Britain
Britain > N.Ireland > Co.Fermanagh > Florence Court

A friendly manor house among beautiful surroundings

Listen to this article


Antique Furniture
Walled Garden
Florencecourt Yew
Standing before a dramatic background of mountains and forests is Florence Court, an 18th century manor house. Often, mansions in such bold surroundings give off a haughty, self-important feeling, but this one somehow manages to be friendly and welcoming.

Florence Court
Photo Andrew Humphreys
Maybe it's the luscious scenery, or perhaps it's the warm, golden-grey stone that the house is built from. One thing that definitely helps is the hard work of the National Trust, who took charge of the property in 1953. They had their work cut out for them as, just 2 years later, a fire destroyed most of the upper floors! The blaze broke out close to the Lady Enniskillen's bedroom, and it was she herself who discovered it. Her first reaction was to telephone her husband, who was away in Belfast at the time. His immediate response was apparently: What the heck do you think I can do about it?
The fire service came quickly, but that presented another problem. The volume of water they sprayed on the inferno threatened to collapse the ceiling! Some quick-thinking locals solved the problem by drilling six holes to let the liquid out. These small markings, still visible today, are one of the very few reminders of the fire's existence. The repair work was carried out to a very high standard, and sometimes it's hard to believe that such a devastating accident ever happened.

Photo Northern Ireland Tourist Board
The interior looks just as it did in its heyday, with rococo decorations and Irish furniture. A good proportion of the items are originals, that were actually used at Florence Court in the 1700s. This is a wonderful achievement, as most had already been sold to buyers all around the country. The National Trust went to great lengths to hunt down these prized antiques, and restore them to their home. The collection includes a comfy armchair and a 1730s writing cabinet.

Photo Northern Ireland Tourist Board
The walking paths outside the building take you by some similarly old-fashioned sights. There's the water-powered Sawmill, and the chilly ice house, which is a lot like a giant refrigerator. The summer house, meanwhile, looks older than it really is. After the original was lost in World War I, it was eventually replaced with this replica in 1993.

Part of the Gardens at Florence Court
Photo Andrew Humphreys
Florence Court's grounds also include a well-kept walled garden, full of pink and white roses. The surrounding park and woodland offers plenty more greenery, most notably the "Florencecourt Yew". This single specimen supposedly spawned every other example of Irish Yew in the entire world. Given their popularity in churchyards, this makes Florencecourt's Tree an extremely virile parent! Unfortunately, cuttings have been taken so often that the tree no longer looks particularly healthy. Its strangely shaped trunk is full of worrying holes. Nevertheless, it still survives, several centuries after it was planted.

Rose Cottage, built in the 18th Century, is an exceptionally pretty cottage lying in the idyllic surroundings of the walled garden at Florence Court.
Photo Northern Ireland Tourist Board

The Florencecourt Yew, reputedly the 'parent' of all Irish yew trees.
Photo Andrew W.A. Ferguson
Nearby are Florence Court's Stables. Visitors lucky enough to own their own horse can come here and explore the estate from the comfort of a saddle. Of course, hikers are more than welcome too. The closest village, also called Florencecourt, is within easy strolling distance. It's confusing to have a mansion and settlement with the same name, but there is a slight difference: the village's title comes with no space, while the house does. The name was originally chosen by the house's first owner, an Earl of Enniskillen called John Cole. In a wonderfully romantic gesture, he named the place after his wife, Florence.
Visitor Information
Florence Court is open daily, 10am to 7pm (4pm in winter). The house & shop is open daily 11am to 5pm during the summer months (weekends only in winter). Entry costs around £5 for adults, £2 children. Florence Court, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh BT92 1DB. Tel: 028 6634 8249

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy