THE COLE Monument has looked down on the changing face of Enniskillen for over a hundred years. Now the Forthill Park in which it stands is celebrating its centenary.

Down through the decades the area has provided pleasure for many thousands of people.

Today, local residents still enjoy a walk in the park while visitors continue to climb to the top of the monument for a magnificent view of Enniskillen and its surroundings.

The park was officially opened on August 7, 1881, and was originally known as the Forthill Pleasure Grounds.

It was a big occasion for Fermanagh, with businesses in the county closing for the day as an estimated 8,000 visitors arrived into Enniskillen, many of them travelling on special trains from Sligo, Cavan, Bundoran and Clones.

The Countess of Erne performed the official opening and was presented with a jewelled enamelled key by Mr. T. A. Mercer.

The main speaker, Mr. Thomas Plunkett, said the park was to be a place of rest and relaxation, with an innovative approach taken to its layout, features and the trees and plants placed within its grounds.

At the time, the landscaping of the area was considered to be far in advance of anything else in Ireland.

The crowds which flocked to see it on the opening day stayed on into the evening, when the park was lit by thousands of Chinese lanterns hung from trees and bushes.