Crom Castle is a landscape of islands, wetlands, woodland and historical ruins. The 19th Century castle is private and not open to the public, but you do have access to their grounds and ruins. It is one of the National Trusts most important nature reserves and has a visitor centre, fishing, boat hire and camping is available and you can also stay overnight in the mammal hide and hope to see the rare Pine Marten.
Crom Castle is set on the shores of the Upper Lough Erne, it is one of Northern Ireland's most important conservation areas. It was gifted to the National Trust in 1987. The original Crom Castle was built in 1611, surviving two Jacobite sieges before being destroyed in 1764 by a domestic fire. Almost 100 years passed before a new castle was built in 1840, which is now a private home and thus closed to the public.
On site you get to see the ruins of the old castle, as well as the remains of a late 17th century formal garden and bowling green to the south of the site. Whilst Wildlife lovers can explore the romantic landscape of islands and ancient woodland in the reserve. Bat watchers in particular are in for a treat.
The Visitors Centre, run by the National Trust, currently houses an exhibition on the history and wildlife of the estate, as well as a lecture room, a small shop, the Little Orchard Tea Room, slipway and seven self-catering cottages.
The 1,900-acre estate includes the largest surviving area of oak woodland in Northern Ireland and one of the most important and relatively unspoilt freshwater habitats. Crom is also home to some the oldest yew trees in Ireland, at the entrance to the Old Castle Garden. The trees are reputed to be more than 800 years old and were nominated as one of the 50 Greatest British Trees for the Queen's Jubilee in 2002. The two entwined old Yews with their twisted branches are male and female - the male is characterised by its small, yellow flowers whilst the female has green flowers which turn to bright red berries.
The wealth of wildlife at Crom is exemplified by the presence of two rare butterflies - the purple hair-streak and the wood white - and also boasts the largest heronry in Ireland. It's other specialties include the elusive Pine Marten, look out to for wild geese.
Other species to be found here includes a small herd of Fallow Deer which can be seen grazing in the Estate's 24-acre deer park, as well as cattle and sheep elsewhere in the grounds.
In May and June each year can also enjoy a guided walk through Culliagh Wood to see the flowering rhododendrons.
Batman at Crom
Crom is also home to bats and is a great place to watch these nocturnal creatures. As the light fades, the Pipistrelle bats make social calls to each other before streaming out of their roosting places. This natural spectacle as noisy and fascinating to watch, especially if you have a bat detector to amplify their echoes. These small bats weigh as little as a two pence piece, but eat as many as 3,000 insects per night.
Look out for bat watching events throughout the summer months.
You can also hire boats, book an overnight stay in the bird and mammal watching hide, go Pike fishing on the Green Lake and Coarse fishing on Lough Erne. The National Trust even have 7 holiday cottages that can be hired out. The castle can also be hired for weddings.
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