Knockninny Country House & Marina is a family run hospitality and marine business owned and managed by the Clarke family. Acquired in 2004, the family set about completely renovating, extending and restoring the former” Knockninny Tourists’ Hotel” into what is now a Tourism NI Approved 4 Star Country Guesthouse.
Originally built by John Grey Vesey Porter of Belleisle, a renowned Victorian industrialist and entrepreneur in the locality, Knockninny was to become Lough Erne’s first hotel. Not only did this landowner launch and operate the Fermanagh Lakelands original hotel, he also ran passenger steamships known as SS Knockninny and SS Belturbet to and from Belturbet to Enniskillen daily. Of course, refreshment stop offs at Knockninny Tourists’ Hotel were a must in Mr Porters grand plan.
Taking into account that this innovative landlord passed away divorced and childless, the continuation of the original travel and tourism brainchild of Mr Porter was not to be. Since then, however, ownership has passed through a variety of hands and, operations of the property have included; a family home, an outdoor pursuit centre and a marina base for an all- Ireland cruiser hire company.
Co-owner Gail Clarke says:
In early 2004, we were expecting our first child and, my father recommended I go and look at Knockninny which had just come on the market for sale. Occupied with the running of another family business and the joys (or perhaps not) of pregnancy, the acquisition of property was most definitely not utmost in my mind. Nonetheless, my husband and I decided to arrange a viewing.
Despite the fact we are both natives of Fermanagh and well used to being surrounded by and, enjoying the Fermanagh lakes, we were completely overwhelmed by the natural beauty on show. Though it was winter and snowing, we drove to the top of Knockninny Mountain and, as we reached the summit, were immediately struck by the breath taking sight and, the vast expanse of lake on view, as well as the countless islands we could see. As we looked around we were completely taken in. Following our moving in and, as time progressed, we were continually astounded by the ever changing, yet constant beauty of the scenery. Even though, I was busy with our new baby and expecting our second child, and at the risk as sounding eccentric, I was absolutely convinced that Knockninny should be put back on show and reopened to the public?! John Grey Vesey Porter, was not wrong, I reasoned, when he constructed and opened Lough Ernes original hotel, we must do something now! I persuaded my husband.
On 1st May 2005, we opened our Coffee Shop on the ground floor and welcomed our first customers, who were Swiss tourists on a cruising holiday. In April 2006, we began running Marquee events; Jazz and Opera Evenings, Summer Balls etc. The following year, we undertook our first Marquee Weddings and at the same time began entirely renovating and extending Knockninny House. In 2008, we had finally finished and launched Knockninny Country House & Marina.
Today, we offer Bed & Breakfast Rooms, Bar, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Wedding Receptions & Civil Ceremonies, Self Catering accommodation, Private Marina and a place that we hope you can come to and enjoy, explore, relax, rejuvenate and have fun in.