Enniskillen’s ‘hidden park’ in line for a £100,000 revamp

Coles Monument

VIEW OF THE TOWN… Ruairi McReynolds, one of the season’s first visitors to the top of Cole’s Monument

FERMANAGH’S premier civic park, the Forthill Leisure Grounds, is in line for a badly-needed revamp that’s estimated to cost £100,000.

The bulk of that money will come from a competition run by the charity, NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. The ‘Forthill’ has been entered and passed the first stage.


The proposed work to the park, established in  the Victorian era, was jointly submitted by Fermanagh District Council and Groundwork Northern Ireland.

The council approved the attendance last week of a council officer at a workshop for the second stage of the competition.

The council’s director of technical services, Gerry Knox, speaking to the Herald, explained that the second stage was to present ideas to the judging panel.

So, why the competition?

“As you can appreciate, the park isn’t very accessible, so plans will have to be drawn up to make it a little bit more accessible. For instance, for people with a disability, we want to try and make it more ‘disabled’ friendly’.”

Whilst the main entrance to the Forthill, from Forthill Street/Belmore Street, is well signposted, users have steep steps/gradient to climb.

There is a pedestrian entrance just off a private car-park serving The Enniskillen Hotel, but it cannot be seen from the main road.


Gerry Knox readily accepted that criticism.

“There hasn’t been a lot of investment in it over the years. For instance, the bandstand needs to be redecorated, and some more plants and shrubs just to make the park more pleasant for people who want to spend a while in the park.

“The detailed plans are not all worked out yet, but basically that is what we will be doing. Long-term,  we would love to have better access coming in from the top of Market Street from the Irvinestown Road into the park.

“If we are able to achieve that, it would make the park more accessible in that as you drive into Enniskillen, you would know there’s a park there. And, access is also difficult coming in from Factory Road end into the park.”

Mr Knox said that if the council and Groundwork NI were successful (in the competition), it would allow investment.

“We’re talking about a very sizeable cost, in the area of £100,000.”

Last week, one popular feature of the Forthill, Cole’s Monument, officially opened to the public to climb to the top for a bird’s eye view of Enniskillen.

There is no charge for this, the ‘climbing’ times are 1.30 until 3pm, seven days a week.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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