In the heart of Fermanagh’s lakes lies Lusty Beg Island. Hidden under the cover of trees and shrubbery, the island hosts premium accommodation that rivals any Enniskillen hotel and is one of the most renowned spa breaks in Northern Ireland. Not just an area with picturesque surroundings, Lusty Beg offers an extensive list of activities for those who are adventurous, as well as some fantastic trails to ramble along, be it by the water or through the forest.  No need to leave the dog at home, Lusty Beg is one of the few dog-friendly resorts in Northern Ireland. Perfectly designed for families, the new fairy trail opened in August 2018 and has become a popular spot for those trying to find magic on the island. Being Northern Ireland’s only island resort, the idyllic spot was awarded the Northern Ireland Tourism Industry Award in 2018 for their dedicated service to local tourism in the last 50 years. Lusty Beg offers a relaxing experience for anyone who wants a little magic outside of their home. 

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The walk to the Fairy Trail in Lusty Beg. (Source: Chloe Gault)

Lusty Beg: The Fairy Island History

Lusty Beg takes its name from the Irish Lóiste Beag which means little lodge. As is, Lusty Beg’s island is covered with a host of log cabins, with cabin stays being incredibly popular with visitors. Found in Lower Lough Erne, the island was owned by Lady Hunt from Alberta Canada. She was also in possession of Lustymore Island, a neighbouring plot. Lady Hunt resided on Lustymore Island but, after a tragic accident, her home Glenvar House burned down, Lady Hunt moved on to Germany. A British Army officer, Captain Kosh, purchased Lusty Beg in the 1950s and built the first chalet that would be hired out.

The 60s saw Lusty Beg pass into other hands, with Bill and Ann O’Hara purchasing it for its development potential. They invested in the island and made it a popular tourist destination. The island’s current owners, Arthur and Liz Cadden, bought the island in 1990 and have seen it develop from strength to strength. A deep history dating back to pre-Christian times, the island has connections with Boa Island which provides the little ferry for visitors to cross over on. 

Lusty Beg has made use of a little thatched cottage, now known as Ned’s Cottage, which sits in the heart of the resort. Once occupied by Richard Allingham, brother of the poet William Allingham, the cottage has been restored and repurposed by Lusty Beg Hotel as a seminar space and activity centre. 

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The pontoon at Lusty Beg, a dog-friendly resort. (Source: Chloe Gault)

Not Just Dog-Friendly: Lusty Beg Resort

A lake-side woodlands hide the stunning resort, the journey to Lusty Beg is as exciting as they come. A five-minute ferry overlooking the islands and the rest of the natural splendour delivers you to the entrance of the resort. The island is filled with intimate log cabins, impressive chalets, and hotel space with ensuite rooms. As a dog-friendly hotel and space, you can bring your furry friends with you, if you don’t want to leave them at home.

The restaurant offers generous Fermanagh portions without compromising on the quality of the food. The menu is extensive and the restaurant sources their ingredients locally, using the best cuts of meat and the freshest fruit and vegetables.  Lusty Beg Spa is renowned in Northern Ireland as being one of the most relaxing spa breaks available, and with it being a short distance from Belfast, it should be a contender for a weekend away.

A two-hour drive from the M1, Lusty Beg resort is 5 miles away from Kesh village. From Kesh to Lusty Beg, take the Pettigo Road until you see a sign for the Belleek Road. Follow this road until you see a sign for Lusty Beg and, down a little laneway, a pier will be there to greet all visitors who wish to spend time on the island. 

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A cabin view in Lusty Beg. (Source: Chloe Gault)

 Spa Breaks: Relaxation in the Island Spa

Lusty Beg’s Island Spa has been providing restoration to the weariest of travellers. A luxe retreat, the spa uses mainly organic products in the most serene of locations. The main ingredient used in their spa package is seaweed. The seaweed used in Lusty Beg is all locally sourced, with the seaweed hand-harvested off the coast of Ireland. Considered as nature’s most powerful, marine antioxidant, the spa uses it to help slow down signs of ageing. They’re used to detoxify, hydrate and nourish the skin, hair, and bodies of anyone who utilises the seaweed. 

The Island Spa has an incredible amount of resources to make your stay relaxing. It boasts spa gardens, a sauna, and a relaxation room. A large range of treatments including massages, scrubs, manicures and pedicures, as well as facials and baths, the Island Spa in Lusty Beg is ready to service anything you require. There is even a hair and beauty studio on-site, in case you need to go the extra mile for an occasion.

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A cooked breakfast with a view at the Lusty Beg Island Spa and Hotel. (Source: Chloe Gault)

Fairy Trails and Off-Road Riding: Activities in Lusty Beg 

While it may seem that Lusty Beg is only for dreamy scenery, but it has an array of activities that make it worth exploring. Not only a romantic area for long walks and spa treatments, the Island has an offering of trails that are more than suitable for children. The Fairy Trail, which opened to the public in July 2018, is an enchanting journey with a narrative for the whole family. With a children’s play area and a complimentary swimming pool, the list is endless for children’s activities. The Island even provides a children’s off-road driving session. This is also available for adults as well as clay pigeon shooting, archery, kayaking, powerboating, and water safaris. With a host of excursions and unexplored woodland, the area is a prime site to relax, explore, and enjoy stunning landscapes. All guests can avail of a swimming pool, sauna, and hot tub so, even if getting a spa break is unrealistic, you can still leave feeling relaxed.

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Drinks with a view of the pontoon. (Source: Chloe Gault)

The Gem of Fermanagh 

With an impressive list of activities, to multiple sources of accommodation, Lusty Beg Island Spa and Hotel is a contender for the top resorts in Northern Ireland. With an award-winning restaurant and striking scenery, it provides a place for relaxation and recharging. The resort is renowned as one of the best spa breaks that Northern Ireland has to offer, but it offers more than just respite. The Fairy Trail and children’s playpark have made it a family-friendly spot. Take the ferry over, the next time Fermanagh is your travel destination.

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