Belleek
County Fermanagh, Ireland

Where James Duff and Sarah Huston were married in 1845.

A brief tour over 2 pages, with pictures taken in August 2008.

The former Barracks on the south bank of the River Erne

Belleek is 7 km east of Ballyshannon on the N3, the "main road" from Ballyshannon to Dublin which from Belleek to Belturbet passes through Northern Ireland (as the A46 and then A509). The older part of town is on the north bank of the River Erne and the main road through it (A47) rises uphill east from the river bridge.

Information from the Ballyshannon Herald 1844:
11th July - the arrival of a detachment of the 5th Fusiliers in Belleek under Captian Spencer and Lieutenant Hamilton. The soldiers were billeted in the Market House and in Rose Isle House.

We strongly suspect that James was one of these soldiers and came to meet his future wife here. For more information see the history of James and Sarah.

Sight of a re-print of an Ordnance Survey map of 1900 revealed that there was once a Barracks in Belleek, on the south bank of the Erne at the entry to the town, shown as disused by 1900. It has not yet been established when this Barracks fell out of use, however if it was still active in the mid 1840s it is possible that James might have been stationed there for part of the time and billeted in the town.

Above can be seen the remains of the Barracks, having a commanding view of the town and bend in the river so it is clear to see why it was built there. It is now a private dwelling prominently flying the Irish Tricolour at the town, which is, of course, in Northern Ireland. The river was flowing high and fast at the time of the picture, there having been exceptionally heavy rain two days previously which had caused floods in parts of the north of Ireland.

 

Road bridge over the River Erne

Above, the road over the River Erne looking south from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland. The only indications of the border, anywhere, are that the road speed signs change from miles per hour to kilometers per hour - as can just be made out above with 30mph this side of the bridge and 50kph the other - and different road numbering sequences. Take the left fork, as can just be seen in the above picture, and after only a few meters in the Republic you are back into Northern Ireland!

Below, on the north bank adjacent to the bridge is the Belleek Pottery, which was founded in 1857, ten years after James and Sarah left the area so they would not have known it. Founded by John Caldwell Bloomfield from Stoke on Trent it has always produced fine Parian China, the majority of which is exported to North America. The Pottery has a visitors' centre which is a major tourist draw to the town, the other attraction being boat hire. The Belleek Pottery was built on the site of Rose Isle House, home of the Dowager Lady Caldwell, where soldiers were billeted.

Belleek Pottery

 

The main street through Belleek looking uphill/east
The main street through Belleek, looking uphill east. It is wide because a street market used to be held there, now providing plenty of free parking. The town is a hotchpotch of architectural styles, none particularly distinguished, best described as quaint. Note the tall building on the right, just behind the first lamp post. We are coming back to this later.

 

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This page was last updated on 5th August 2010.