by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
What a gorgeous and romantic place to get married! We just loved it here. The estate is at the Uppermost tip of Upper Lough Erne, on 470 acres spread over 8 islands and includes a working farm. There are so many accomodation and entertainment options at Belle Isle Estate, your wedding can last a week instead of just a day!
Belle Isle prides itself on being an Ecologically-friendly location. Energy efficient lightbulbs are used in evey fixture, a wood pellet furnace is used to heat the castle and hot water, 47% of their electricity comes from renewable resources, organic waste from their cooking school is used as compost in their gardens, the list goes on and on. Its truly incredible to think that a 17th Century castle could become so “Green”.
The estate has passed hands several times and was last purchased in 1991 by the Duke of Abercorn, who bought the estate for his second son, Lord Nicholas Hamilton.
The Estate is managed by the most wonderful couple, James and Fiona Plunket. They were both so welcoming and knowledgable. Fiona took us for a tour of the Estate, Accommodations and Cookery School and James joined us to show us the Castle and grounds. Such a great couple, I really liked them, and they have a true love and passion for Belle Isle.
Wedding & Ceremony Locations
Below is a map of the Hamilton wing, where weddings take place in the castle. There are three ceremony location options: the Drawing Room, the Dining Room (furntiure will be moved out for both of the prior options) or the Garden. The garden is my personal favourite!
Can seat up to 42 for a Wedding Reception.
Or be made over for a Civil Ceremony
The Drawing Room It is much larger than it looks here.
Here is James Plunket showing us the garden space in winter (above) and as it looks in summer (below)
The main castle sleeps 14, but there are several other places for guests to stay on Belle Isle. The Courtyard, the Coach House, The Walled Cottage Garden, The Bridge House, The Bridge Cottage, The Garden Cotteage and Glen Cottage. One of the castle bedrooms is called the Coco Chanel Room, because the bed in there was the one she slept in everytime she visited with one of her good friends!
Here is a photo of James and his wonderful wife, Fiona, showing me around the Castle. Notice the artwork, there are 950 framed works of art in the castle! I asked James if would count them to make sure,
but he declined, lol.
I just had to include this shot of their very special toilet 🙂 Apparently many guests like to get a photo of themselves on the toilet!
This is the Courtyard, where Tracey and I stayed. These gorgeously renovated suites are full self-catering cottages with 2-3 bedrooms, a full kitchen 1 or 2 bathrooms and even a fireplace in each unit! This would be such fun for a close group to take over all of the units! You could have big dinners set up in the courtyard.
The interior of our Unit #6
Here is the Coach House, the bell on top would run the farm telling the workers when it was time to work, time for lunch and quitting time. It is now a large self-catering cottage with three bedrooms.
The Walled Garden Cottage, doesn’t it just scream romance?
Things to do at Belle Isle
There is so much to do on this island! Year-round Pike fishing, Coarse fishing, Driven Snipe and Woodcock Shooting, Tennis, Croquet lawn, Children’s Playground, 17ft outboard boats to rent, a BBQ house, the lake and huge lawns for organized games. Within thirty miles there are many castles, Belleek Pottery, the Marble Arch Caves, theatre, shopping, tons of pubs, the possibilities are endless. Fermanagh County’s largest town, Enniskillen, is only 12 kms away.
You can also take a class at their state-of-the-art, on-site cooking school, Belle Isle School of Cookery! With space for 12 chefs, this would be a fun activity to incorporate. The school also has a store with home-made preserves, chutneys and specialty cookware.
All in all, Belle Isle is the perfect Destination Wedding location for a couple looking for a Get-Away Family Wedding in Northern Ireland. I can not wait to bring my family to stay at Belle Isle!
Photos are a compilation of our photos and photos from the Belle Isle Website.