Fermanagh

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County Fermanagh (Contae Fhear Manach or Fear Manach in Irish), is the westernmost of the six counties that form Northern Ireland, and the westernmost part of the United Kingdom. It is part of the province of Ulster. Fermanagh is often referred to as Ireland's Lake District. The county is approximately 120 km (75 mi) from Belfast and 160 km (99 mi) from Dublin.

The name Fermanagh is an anglicization of Fhear Manach which means 'Place of the Men of the Manacháin tribe' so named after their chief O'Manacháin (Anglicized as O'Monaghan), the famous warrior monk.

In Northern Ireland the county borders County Tyrone to the north-east, and in the Republic of Ireland the county borders County Monaghan to the south-east, County Cavan and County Leitrim to the south-west and County Donegal to the north-west. Fermanagh is the only county of Northern Ireland that does not border Lough Neagh.

Fermanagh was a stronghold of the Maguire clan before the confiscation of lands relating to Hugh Maguire. It is one of four historic counties of Northern Ireland to presently have a majority of the population from a Catholic community background, according to the 2001 census.

The Annals of Ulster were written at Belle Isle on Lough Erne.

County Fermanagh is a predominantly rural region with its geography dominated by two lakes: Upper Lough Erne and Lower Lough Erne. This 70 km (40 mi) stretch of lakes, known collectively as Lough Erne, is now linked to the River Shannon and its waterways via the Shannon-Erne Waterway canal, making the entire system the longest navigable inland waterway in Europe. Smaller lakes in the county include Lough Scolban. In addition, Fermanagh shares many lakes: Lough Melvin (with the Republic of Ireland), Lough Macnean Upper and Lough Macnean Lower (both lying on the Cavan border).

There are also a large number of small rivers running through Fermanagh, generally these will enter the Erne system. Some notable examples are the Arney River, Sillees River, Owenbrean River, Cladagh River, Sruh Croppa, Aghinrawn and the Colebrooke River.

The peak of Cuilcagh, part of the Cuilcagh Mountains range, on the Fermanagh/Cavan border is the highest point in Fermanagh (665 metres, 2,182 feet). Other mountains/ranges include Belmore Mountain, Tappghan Mountain (on the border with Tyrone), Brougher Mountain (on the border with Tyrone), Molly Mountain, Benaughlin Mountain, Slieve Rushen (on the border with Cavan), Derrin Mountain and Slieve Beagh (on the Tyrone border). Much of the western and eastern areas of the county are forested.

Agriculture and tourism are two of the most important industries in Fermanagh. The main types of farming in the area are beef, dairy, sheep, pigs and some poultry. Most of the agricultural land is used as grassland for grazing and silage or hay rather than for other crops.

The waterways are extensively used by cabin cruisers, other small pleasure craft and anglers. The main town of Fermanagh is Enniskillen (Inis Ceithleann, Ceithleann's island). The island town hosts a range of attractions including the Castle Coole Estate and Enniskillen Castle, which is home to the museum of The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.

Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/

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