Belleek has found itself at the heart of the Brexit debate for years and as never-ending discussions on what happens next continue to cause uncertainty, the people of the Border village are just getting on with it. Here, there are other issues to deal with.


Mary Callaghan.

Mary Callaghan.


On the main street, a young girl is emotional. Her mother Mary Callaghan has long called for childcare facilities in the area.

“Belleek needs a creche, there is one registered child minder in the area and the amount of young families in the area is incredible.

Miss Callaghan counts herself ‘lucky’ as she has a childminder. However, others are not so fortunate.

“Other people are depending on family or not able to return to work. The playschool recently closed down, there is no creche which is a massive miss is this area.

“There are some towns might have several creches to choose from, while there is none in this area, the closest is Ballyshannon, you’re crossing the Border, and that has its own complications."

From Donegal, she said she "didn’t think for a minute that there would be as much of a transition and change, its massive".

The picturesque main street was busy and a number of people took a few minutes to cool down under the canopy of trees in the village. Others were working hard including Michelle Gallagher and Pricilla Coyle in Rooney’s Giftstore. They think something needs to be done for both young people and the elderly in Belleek.


Michele Gallagher and Priscilla Coyle, Rooneys Gift Store, Belleek.

Michele Gallagher and Priscilla Coyle, Rooney's Gift Store, Belleek.


Ms Rooney said: “We have an older population here in the town, and we need the Council behind us to help us to initiate a space for them.

Echoing concerns heard in other villages in Fermanagh, Ms Coyle said: “The younger population can’t afford housing.”

“I know personally of two people looking for homes, there is no where to rent or buy within a budget for a young couple with a child."

The two women are very positive about Belleek and the community spirit in the area.

Rooney’s Giftstore organised a collection earlier this year in the village that raised £10,800 of pounds for Fermanagh Women’s Aid.

Ms Rooney added: “The community rally round if there is something organised.

"If there is anything at all, they are there for you," adds Ms Coyle.

They also noted a good spirit in the area with the presence of the Belleek Development and Heritage Group.

“They are a new group and the community get behind them, like St. Patrick’s Day last year,” said Ms Gallagher

“It was fabulous,” chimed in Ms Coyle.


Geraldine Galligan.

Geraldine Galligan.


Outside the Warke Hall is Geraldine Galligan, a life-long resident of the local area. When asked what is good about Belleek, she replied: “Well everything”.

“There are plenty of places to eat, we have lots of tourists about, Belleek pottery is so famous and it brings a lot of tourists , there is a lot of things going on, there is a good buzz.”

When asked about the condition of the roads in the area, she said: “There are always plenty of potholes here”.

She maintains that driving is now a bit safer in the village since a pedestrian crossing was installed.

"We don’t need speed ramps, we have a new pedestrian crossing and it was a great help."

She says the village has changed in her time here, “There is a lot more places, a lot is closed and gone, but there is a lot of places to shop now, the new Miss B’s clothing is a great help to the town.”


Shane Fee, Clancys Off Leicence.

Shane Fee, Clancy's Off Leicence.


There is also great value for the residents in the scenery believes Shane Fee, chatting in between serving customers in the off-license.

He said: “The location and scenery around the place is fantastic, it is a nice quiet place to live.

“It’s a lot calmer, when you’re younger, it can be a bit boring but as you get older you can appreciate the quiet life, the country life.”

When asked about issues such as roads in the area, he joked: “Are the roads good anywhere like?”

He did remark that despite having access to two bus services, Belleek could be better served by public transport, “Access to public transport isn’t great. I drive, but my mum doesn’t drive, so she is quite limited,” he said.

“You can’t live here and rely on public transport”, he said.

“The Bus Eireann bus to Donegal, is a bit more regular, every three to four hours, Ulsterbus is once a day I think if you’re going to Enniskillen, and you have to get to Enniskillen to go anywhere else from here.

“You’d have to plan your day around it and a lot of waiting around”, he said.

Mr. Fee says there are some benefits to the trading situation in the Border region and Belleek benefits from holiday makers from South Donegal.


Ann Flanagan-Byrne.

Ann Flanagan-Byrne.


Enjoying the shade near beautiful bright flowers and the village clock is Ann Flanaghan (née Bryne) , originally from Ballyshannon, she has lived here since she got married.

“Belleek is a very happy area, I am here now a long time, There are good people in Belleek and there is always someone there to help you.”

She like other senior citizens would like to see some activities for her generation: “I am one of the older ones, there is nothing exciting at all, we had a club and it was closed up for the summer, it was a social club once a month, one day in the week.”

It was well attended according to Mrs Flanaghan, “Most of the girls went , maybe 20 or 25 of us.”

She says she gets a great joy out of the simple things in life: “I come out here, I go for a walk around the perimeter of the area, down the street, across the Border.

“I spend the rest of my day here, whoever comes along, sits down and I let them do what they want to do.”