A GROUP of sunrise chasers have successfully held their first event.

Fermanagh Sunrise Social is a new group set up in Co. Fermanagh that will meet weekly, and that was developed to promote a kinder and more positive community in the county.

The aim is to gather a small group of people together at sunrise to meet up, hike or walk, or even to take a swim in Lough Erne, finished by a trip to a local coffee shop.

The first event took place on Topped Mountain on May 22, with walkers gathering at 4:40am to catch the 5:13am sunrise on top of Topped, with its panoramic views across the county inviting volunteers to point out significant landmarks.

The group is volunteer-led with more than ten volunteers who all have links to the county; some have always lived in the county, others moved to Fermanagh from other places in recent years, and some volunteers have recently relocated back to Fermanagh during the pandemic.

Some of the volunteers spoke to The Impartial Reporter about why they decided to join the group.

Megan O’Brien said: “After returning from abroad last year, I found it quite hard to adjust; I had lost touch with some people, and found it hard to settle in some ways.

“This group has already been such a great chance to reconnect with people, as well as to meet new friends!”

Volunteer Cóna Gallagher said: “As someone who has recently moved back to Fermanagh and is working from home full-time, it is the perfect opportunity to get back out and about.

“Our group is for anyone, of all ages and genders; we welcome people to come alone or with a friend. Community is what keeps our county going.”

Katherine Devlin, who initiated the group, spoke of using the group to meet new people, having moved to Fermanagh.

She said: “After renting in Enniskillen, myself and my partner have decided to buy a home here in Fermanagh and to make a life for ourselves in the county we have grown to love.

“We know very few people in Fermanagh, and find that daunting. Having a group of friends local to us is really important to me.

“The concept of a sunrise socially bringing people together to create something really special, and the opportunity to meet like-minded people, is what encouraged me to set up this group in Fermanagh.”

With the group and social sunrise activities appealing to men and women alike, volunteer Aaron Lewis said: “It’s a great way to meet new people and see some amazing views and scenery at the same time, and to make new memories, which is what life is about and making new friends.”

The aim for the group is to eventually have several different events across Fermanagh led by the volunteers.

The group aims to meet so that when the walk is finished, the group will be at a viewpoint destination in time to watch the sunrise together where there will be time for chat, journalling or reading.

The events are currently operating with limited numbers due to the Coronavirus pandemic to keep within safety guidelines. Tickets are free; attendance is ticketed via the Eventbrite ticket management site, with tickets being released on a weekly basis.

For further information, see @sunrisesocialFermanagh on Instagram, Sunrise Social Fermanagh on Facebook, or email sunrisesocialfermanagh@outlook.com.