THERE have been calls for Enniskillen town centre to be pedestrianised, even if only in the evening.
Last week Slugger O’Toole business correspondent Brian O’Neill visited Fermanagh and its county town, and was thankfully greeted with glorious sunshine. Afterwards he wrote an in-depth piece for the popular news website describing his experience here.
While Mr O’Neill was clearly wowed by the county’s stunning scenery, stating “when the sun is shining there are few places more beautiful,” he also had a few helpful ideas on how to improve visitors’ experience.
In the piece entitled ‘Reimagining Enniskillen’, Mr O’Neill outlined a problem anyone familiar with the town will know well – traffic.
“Fermanagh has massive potential to increase tourism, it could be a real growth industry for an area that has had its economic issues in the past,” he said, before going on to outline what he felt was the “core issue with Enniskillen.”
“It has been completely given over to cars to the detriment of people,” Mr O’Neill wrote. “We had lunch at the wonderful Bees Knees cafe, but the outdoor dining was spoiled by the crazy amount of cars that pass you on Townhall Street.”
Mr O’Neill went on to point out that with the many pubs and beautiful buildings on the street, which he said was “probably the prettiest street in Enniskillen”, Townhall Street was “crying out for pedestrianisation.”
Pointing to the many carparks adjacent to the street, Mr O’Neill said pedestrianising the main street of Enniskillen would be “a very easy task.” He also called for better access from the town centre to what he said was the town’s “most valuable asset,” the lough shore.
Local Cllr Paul Blake, who is from the town, said he found it “very interesting to see the observations that someone thought of coming to Enniskillen” and said he would love to see the town pedestrianised in the evening time, allowing pubs and cafes to provide outdoor revelling and shops to operate as normal during the day.
“I think it would really boost the night-time economy, to close off the town,” he said, adding closing off the main thoroughfare through the island town would “lend itself to closing off the town and encouraging the pedestrianisation and to encourage people to sit out” at night.
“Especially now as we move out of the pandemic when the only way places can open safely is if they are outside,” said Cllr Blake. “I know we don’t really have a climate that lends itself to that, but it would be a great way to show Enniskillen as being something different.”
With regard the traffic situation, Cllr Blake, pictured left, said it was imperative to keep the pressure on both the Infrastructure Minister and Finance Minster to deliver the long-promised and much-needed Enniskillen bypass.
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