Forest Domes at Finn Lough Resort, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
A couple of weeks ago, Patrick and I said set off on the road, north to Co. Fermanagh. It had been blustery the day before, which is putting it lightly when its real name was Storm Desmond, so we’d contacted Finn Lough ahead to ensure that our Forest Domes were still in situ and awaiting our arrival. Thankfully they were.
Finn Lough Resort is a family run luxury lakeside resort and retreat. It offers its guests luxury lodges and cottages, activities that range from walking and cycling to fishing and water sports, and a restaurant called The Kitchen.
Located on acres of land that kiss Lough Erne, Finn Lough now offers guests the opportunity to do something that is completely unique to Ireland and the UK … and that is to sleep under stars in a Forest Dome with 180 degree transparent walls and roof.
The scenery as we left the motorway and drove through Fermanagh to reach Finn Lough was everything you imagine when you think of this Island of Ireland and it’s landscape; rolling green hills, farm animals grazing, old stone walls and quaint villages. A breath of fresh air.
There was no hint of storm as the skies became blue and the sun shone. Well, that was until we came to road closures due to flooding. A diversion or two and we were back en route but unfortunately a little too late to reach our Dome by lake aboard a Hobie Kayak so we drove and walked a short distance through the Muckross Woodland instead.
We were really excited about our stay in one of the Forest Domes, which had only been launched weeks before, and when we reached them we were not disappointed. In fact we were even more impressed.
There are currently two domes (more are on the horizon). One large bubble dome and one double bubble dome. They are found in the forest amongst the trees and offer their guests their own private getaway.
Our home for the night was the double bubble dome.
It had a separate living room area complete with a romantic ambience enhancing fire, two large armchairs, record player, radio and tea and coffee-making facilities.
Our bedroom included a large and beautifully made four-poster bed especially designed by local furniture designer Ronan Lowry from Design Onion.
It also had fluffy robes, slippers and access to lighting and heating at the push of a button. Our en suite bathroom which was surprisingly spacious and elegantly designed, again by Ronan, it featured a power shower and all the toiletries you’d expect from a luxury five-star stay.
As the evening drew in, so too did the sky and the forest around us. The shape of the trees and the bare branches spun beautifully knitted patterns all around us. I love trees in the winter time when I can see the intricacy of their branches, the same ones that hold nests in springtime and all that fresh green foliage in summer.
It was really lovely to kick back, with a glass of bubbly by the fire and chat to each other. No distractions, just the two of us enjoying each others company and the unique surroundings we were in with our own piece of starry sky.
We took a woodland walk to The Kitchen for dinner at 7pm that evening. The Kitchen is open all year round and is popular with locals and guests alike … and having dined there we could understand why.
The service was welcoming and attentive. The dinner menu was creative and tempting. The food was delicious, a definite recommendation and our compliments to the Chef and his brigade.
For starters I chose Pan Seared Scallops set on a Cauliflower Purée with butter and fresh pea shoots (£7.75). Patrick chose Prawn and Mussels in a Pernod and Cream Sauce topped with basil oil and pea shoots (£6.75).
For mains I chose Beef Strip and Forest Mushroom Hotpot served with Guinness and treacle bread topped with edible crest garnish (£16.75). Patrick chose Pan Fried Ribeye set on baby potato cake with buttered winter greens topped with cracked black pepper crème (£21.50)
For drinks we enjoyed a bottle of prosecco and for dessert we devoured a Chocolate Brownie. Après dinner was spent sitting outside on the patio enjoying a gin and tonic watching the sky become darker and stars become clearer.
The short walk back through the forest to our secluded Forest Dome was romantic but fun at the same time. With only the light from Patrick’s phone torch, I tightly squeezed his arm as we joked about the ‘Blair Witch’ and mad wild animals loose in the woods.
We slept soundly that night. I woke once to the lashing rain but easily drifted back to sleep to the vague shadows of the trees outside.
Waking up early and seeing the trees all around us was magical. They started off almost black and white in colour, gaining colour as the morning sky grew brighter.
With a busy morning ahead of us, we waved goodbye to our double bubble dome and took ourselves a short drive away to the village of Belleek where we met with Teresa from Think6 Marketing Solutions who kindly treated us to breakfast at the oldest building in Belleek, The Thatch. Teresa proudly gave us a history lesson of Belleek, brought us on a visit to Belleek Pottery and to Lough Merlin … and introduced us to local artist Michelle Duffy and to the aforementioned designer Ronan Lowry at his Design Onion studio. A memorable experience and one that only encourages us to visit Fermanagh and Northern Ireland more often.
Finn Lough Resort is on our list of places to return to, both as a couple and as a family with our son, Smith. It has so much going for it with its accommodation, activities and food … the luxury lodges and cottages in Spring and Summer time and the secluded Forest Domes in winter, kayaking on Lough Erne and cycling through the Muckross forest, dining at The Kitchen.
Gillian Beare, Director of Finn Lough resort has said that “We wanted an accommodation product that truly offered a sense of place, one in which guests could disconnect from the everyday noise in their lives and reconnect with the simple pleasures of nature.” Well Gillian – I feel you’ve succeeded in your mission. We loved our stay and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Forest Dome rates from £175 with breakfast (including VAT).
For more information visit the Finn Lough website.