Our Festival Director Sean Doran, before he took life too seriously, was the original co-author for the Rough Guide to Ireland (1989). So here’s Sean’s ‘quick and cheerful’ guide through through Enniskillen’s serpentine single street of 4 names, up and over two little hillocks Town Hall & Cathedral/Churches, surprise, surprise. This is Enniskillen’s answer to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (a wee mile) with its own busy hubbub of 14 restaurants (some bars), 12 bars, 10 cafes and 10 hairdressers! Also check out the shop window displays along the street. For August, come to the new Edinburgh and Ireland’s BECKETT TOWN.
- Start from just off the east bridge with the Horseshoe & Saddlers pub (good food upstairs), on corner at junction. Dunnes, Tesco, Asda and Erne Shopping Centre all nearby.
- This end you’ll also find most of the town’s takeaways clustered together (great prices).
- Molloy’s fish shop, a cracker for fresh fish and oysters from the Donegal coast. And O’Doherty’s famous Black Bacon shop (don’t leave without some in your suitcase) some of the best meat in town.
- Uno’s cocktail bar in vicinity of Hepburn’s clothes shop! Think dolce vita.
- Fermanagh Herald Offices. Pop in and tell them you have come all this way for the Beckett Festival. (If you’re a local, pretend you’re from Australia).
- You cross onto the island just by the Clinton Centre (the hostel, nice cafe wifi for a small fee). The lovely orange building opposite is the old orange hall. They teach Irish language classes there now. The walls have ears…
- Magee’s Spirit Store. And eerily established by a Patrick Magee namesake. Raise a glass to the great Northern Irish actor who world premiered Krapp’s Last Tape.
- Health Food Store. Beckett’s wife Suzanne had a very health conscious regime for her husband. Feel free to follow suit…
- Flo’s Restaurant (piping hot hearty food). Have a rest and a whisper on the bench outside. Her younger friend Frou Frou just a few doors down (best cakes in town but see the dentist on Belmore St. after, best in UK we hear).
- The Impartial Reporter – give them your very opinionated thumbs up for Happy Days.
- The Bush Bar (free wifi), nice modern bar, its interior runs right to the back with lookout to the River Erne (where the baby cot ride on the back river might be). Corner Bar next it.
- The Linen Hall (Wetherspoons). Your only chance for an English Ale. Cheapest hot food and beer prices in town. Free wifi at the back.
- Pat’s Bar (opp Town Hall), nice bar and free wifi available.
- Down Street by Town Hall it’s cosmopolitan Enniskillen – Three Greek, Indian and Italian restaurants. Look up from any of them and you’ll see the Joseph Kosuth Exhibition (the one with rubber floors and neon – children friendly!)
- Buy a Beckett book in Eason’s, EK’s one serious lonely bookshop (not for long…). Newspapers here and Centra across road.
- The Anglican Cathedral (St. Macartins) and Catholic Church (St. Michaels) stare each other down 20 paces apart. And the blushing pink Methodist Church a few doors away, a beauty inside. They all look back down on Blakes (likely where Beckett may have sipped his first whiskey and Guinness) and Charlies Bars (hosts literary meetings, so support it!) in the hollow below.
- Stewart’s butchers. If you’ve had enough of the radishes, carrots and turnips.
- Library on street down by Cathedral. Free computer use, if you join.
- Absolutely do not miss Headhunters Railway Museum, nostalgia. Only barbers in Ireland where bald people don’t feel out of place.
- For the tiring (and retiring) thespians returning from Portora, grab a coffee in the Darling St. coffees shops – Devenish (wifi), Aisling Centre, Russell & Donnelly’s (nice delicatessen, best wine store north of the border) and Jolly Sandwich.
- Grab a cab taxis, bottom of Darling Street.
Some Other Tips:
- Seek out local restaurants with new menus from Beckett ingredients in his works and vote for the most innovative and Beckettian one.
- Don’t miss chef Billy’s lunches in the Portora dining hall where Beckett fed. A Divine Comedy 3 course lunch (inferno, purgatorio, paradise), a cross between a 1920s canteen lunch and haute cuisine! All for only £13
- There’s an amazing free conference by the grand Improbable theatre, Devoted & Disgruntled, in the Clinton Centre to debate theatre. It’s FREE. You’d be mad not to join in if you like making theatre. Sat & Sun.