BRINGING the rich history of Devenish Island to life would attract more tourists to the iconic landmark, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has heard.

Erne East councillor Thomas O’Reilly told the monthly meeting of the local authority that a living history museum located on the island would help to enhance the experience for visitors.

In making his suggestion for the ancient monastic settlement, Mr. O’Reilly pointed to the continuing success of the Ulster American Folk Park, just outside Omagh.

For many years at the Folk Park, museum workers dressed in period costume have helped bring the story of Irish emigration to America to life.

Mr. O’Reilly said that this was something that the popular Tyrone attraction did very well to bring people into the area and that a living history museum on Devenish would “enrich the experience” for visitors.

The Erne East councillor made his suggestion as members of the local authority welcomed the confirmation that the public ferry service from Trory to Devenish Island had resumed.

In a letter received by the Council at the end of June, the Department for Communities revealed that the service, provided by Erne Water Taxi, would be running until November 5, 2017.

Enniskillen councillor, Howard Thornton, said it had taken nearly two years to get the Devenish ferry service back, adding: “It’s good to see.”

Wishing the new provider all the best, Mr. Thornton said he hoped that local people would now make use of it. “We fought so long to get it, hopefully it is supported,” the UUP representative said.

Sinn Fein councillor, Debbie Coyle, told the meeting that the return of the Devenish ferry service was “really good” for local people as well as holidaymakers.

However, she urged all people going out on the water to be sensible enough to always wear life jackets.

Ms. Coyle said this was an issue that she had brought up at a meeting of Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PSCP).

She explained that, while people were legally required to wear life jackets on the water in the Republic of Ireland, the same legal requirements were not in force in the north.

Independent councillor, Bernice Swift, said that Mr. O’Reilly’s vision to bring Devenish to life was an “exceptional idea”.

She said that visitors to the island would much rather have that experience than just reading about the history on billboards.

“That’s what tourists are looking for,” the independent representative added.

Also welcoming the return of the ferry service to the island, Erne North councillor, Raymond Farrell, suggested looking into investing in a tourist information centre on Devenish.