Pack your picnic basket and make your way to Forthill Park in Enniskillen this Easter break for family fun and entertainment.
Picnic in the Park, a free event organised by the Young Friends of Fermanagh County Museum, takes place on Wednesday 11 April from 12pm – 2pm.
The Park will play host to an Easter Egg Trail, children’s games, real Easter chicks, face painting, balloon-shaping, play-park and much more while providing the perfect setting for a picnic. The spectacular bandstand will come alive with music once again with Fermanagh Concert Band providing a musical treat throughout the afternoon.
The Forthill Promenade and Pleasure Park has always been a space for public use; in the years after the Plantation it was "Commons Hill" or “Cow Hill” where Enniskilleners could graze their cattle and animals. It was also known as Camomile Hill, where in 1689, the Governor of Enniskillen, Gustavus Hamilton, ordered a fort of sods to be raised in Enniskillen; hence Forthill.
In 1836 the area was enclosed and planted with trees; it became a promenade and pleasure ground. After the Crimean War a captured Russian Gun was brought to the south bastion of the Forthill. It fired a salute to the first train arriving in the town in 1857 and broke the windows in Belmore Street.
By the 1880s the park had become overgrown. Thomas Plunkett, Chairman of the town commissioners, supervised the landscaping of the park. He felt that the Forthill had become little used and overgrown. The Forthill Pleasure grounds officially opened 7 August 1891. It had been transformed; special areas included the “Dell”, the Ferney, the Fountain, and the Waterfall; all designed by Plunkett. A new entrance was added and the Forthill steps built, which saw “The Bower Lane” disappear.
Forthill Bandstand was erected to Plunkett during his own lifetime in 1895 as a mark of appreciation.
Catherine Scott, Fermanagh County Museum, who is supporting Young Friends of Fermanagh County Museum in the organisation of the event, said:
“We hope the sun continues to shine and people make their way to this secret garden at the heart of Enniskillen. It is a beautiful park and a perfect place for our Easter event. In July 1890, The Impartial Reporter noted “On last Friday, Mr Plunkett, CTC, had two swings for children placed in position on the Forthill grounds, Enniskillen, and one for boys.” Amazing to think there was a swing for the girls and another for the boys,” Catherine adds.
People will have the opportunity to climb the 108 steps to the viewing platform of the historic Cole’s Monument, built in the centre of the park on a star-shaped fort in memory of the late General the Hon. Sir G. Lowry Cole from 1845-57, which offers magnificent views of Enniskillen and the surrounding area.
Fermanagh District Council’s Bio-diversity Officer will also be on hand to offer an insight into the natural world and wildlife of Forthill Hill Park and surrounding area, and practical information and advice on red squirrel conservation.
Admission and activities are free of charge. For further information please contact Catherine Scott, Fermanagh County Museum, on 028 6632 5000.