Thursday, 10 April 2014

Fun for all the family at Forthill 'Picnic in the Park'

 Pack your picnic basket and make your way to Forthill Park in Enniskillen this Easter Monday for family fun and entertainment.

Picnic in the Park, a free event organised by Fermanagh County Museum, takes place on Easter Monday, 21 April from 12pm to 2pm. 

The historic Park provides the perfect setting for a picnic and will play host to an afternoon of children's games, face painting, balloon-shaping, live music, play-park and much more on April 21. There will also be an Easter egg trail and real Easter chicks.

The spectacular bandstand will come alive with music from Cathy Mc Govern, who will provide a musical treat throughout the afternoon.  

The RSPB, Butterfly Conservation and Conservation Volunteers will be on hand with puzzles and games and The Enniskillen Hotel will provide lemonade for children. 

Encouraging people to make their way to Forthill Park on Easter Monday, Catherine Scott, Fermanagh County Museum, said:

"We hope the sun shines on April 21 and that people make their way to this historic garden in the heart of Enniskillen.

Forthill is a beautiful park and a perfect place for our Easter event.  The day is a great opportunity for families to get outdoors and enjoy this beautiful open space.

Admission is free, as are all of the activities."

The Forthill Promenade and Pleasure Park has always been a space for public use.

After the Plantation, Forthill Park was called "Commons Hill" or "Cow Hill," where Enniskilleners could graze their cattle and animals. It was also known as Camomile Hill, where in 1689, the Governor of Enniskillen, Gustavus Hamilton, ordered a fort of sods to be raised in Enniskillen; hence the name 'Forthill'.

In 1836 the area was enclosed, planted with trees, and transformed into a promenade and pleasure ground. 

After the Crimean War a captured Russian Gun was brought to the south bastion of the Forthill.  It fired a salute to the first train arriving in the town in 1857 and broke the windows in Belmore Street.

By the 1880s the park had become overgrown and little used. Thomas Plunkett, Chairman of the town commissioners, supervised the landscaping of the park and on 7 August 1891 the Forthill Pleasure ground officially opened with special areas including the "Dell", the Ferney, the Fountain, and the Waterfall; all designed by Plunkett. 

Forthill Bandstand was erected to Plunkett during his own lifetime in 1895 as a mark of appreciation.

As well as the programme of family entertainment on April 21, people will have the opportunity to climb the 108 steps to the viewing platform of the historic Cole's Monument, built in the centre of the park on a star-shaped fort in memory of the late General the Hon. Sir G. Lowry Cole from 1845-57.

Admission to Picnic in the Park and its associated activities are free of charge.

For further information please contact Catherine Scott, Fermanagh County Museum, on 028 6632 5000.