There were colourful scenes in Maguiresbridge last week when a vibrant procession of well-dressed children cycled along the street, adorned in a spectrum of hues from their safety helmets down to their shoes.

The air echoed with the cheerful ringing of bells as school ended with lively chatter from Heidi Wilson, Hettie Wilson, Ciara Reihill, and Freddie Cochraneas they sat on their bikes. Hettie (5) had lots of opinions about her home town. ‘

What is the best thing about Maguirebridge?’, I asked.

“The park!”

Why? Matter-of-factly, she replied: “It is good because you get to play in it.”

‘What is your favourite thing to play on?’ She thought for a moment, before replying with conviction: “The toy train.”


Heidi Wilson, Hettie Wilson, Ciara Reihill and Freddie Cochrane, on their bicycles in Maguiresbridge.

Heidi Wilson, Hettie Wilson, Ciara Reihill and Freddie Cochrane, on their bicycles in Maguiresbridge.


Her mum, Ellice Wilson, also admired the park, and praised the people who live in the village.

She said: “It is a really good community. You can get everything you need in Maguiresbridge, and it is much easier to walk than getting all of them in and out of a car.”

She explained that while not a native of the area, she has been made to feel very welcome.

“Everyone is just so lovely here, especially with me moving here from Essex. My husband is from Tempo, but we decided to buy a house here.

“Everyone is so friendly, and so lovely and welcoming. It is a really lovely welcome [here].”

She concluded by talking about what would prove to be a common theme raised by locals: walking.

“There is always loads to do. We are always out walking, and there are lots of nice walks.”

The children agreed with her, and in a gaggle of chatter, they all moved on.

Also out for a walk and on the school run were Julie and Marley McWilliams.


Julie and Marley McWilliams.

Julie and Marley McWilliams.


Mrs. McWilliams moved to the area from Tyrone upon her marriage. When asked if it was a wise decision to relocate to Maguiresbridge, she laughed as she replied: “It was! It was a wise decision.”

She echoed the feelings of other young families in the area when she highlighted some of the facilities on offer.

Mrs. McWilliams said: “It is a good place for bringing up children. There are two nice parks, there are wee groups, and we have a nice school. It is a very welcoming community.”

Cheery outlook

The cheery outlook was also shared among the older generation in the village.

Matilda Wilson stopped to chat as she was out doing messages on Main Street. As Mrs. Wilson spoke to us, she admired a windowbox in one of the residents’ windows, full of with deep and beautiful colours.


Matilda Wilson.

Matilda Wilson.


She described herself as also a “blow-in” to the area, having been born in Meath, but having lived all around the world.

Also praising Maguiresbridge, Mrs. Wilson said: “The people are friendly; it doesn’t matter what religion you are here.”

She hailed the services on offer in the village: “We have a pharmacy, a butcher’s, we don’t have to go anywhere else to go shopping. I use the bus sometimes to go into Enniskillen.”

In the middle of Mrs. Wilson’s chat, the door of the house on Main Street that this newspaper happened to be talking outside opened, catching its resident, Lorna Parkinson, by surprise.

When asked, Mrs. Parkinson was also pleased to talk about what she likes about the area.


Lorna Parkinson, with one of her paintings.

Lorna Parkinson, with one of her paintings.


“It is just lovely here. I have been invited to so many different functions; I go to the camera club, to the Knit and Knatter [group], and everything is just so handy from here. It is absolutely fabulous.”

Mrs. Parkinson relocated to Fermanagh on account of her late husband’s work, but an affection for the county kept her family here, she said.

“When we moved down here, we had two boys, and they just loved Fermanagh.”

While enjoying what the area has to offer, Mrs. Parkinson also enjoys arts and crafts, as well as enjoying the outdoors.

She added: “I have been a beekeeper for a long time, and I am an artist as well, and I do patch work, crocheting, knitting, painting.”

Mrs. Parkinson popped back inside her house, where she carefully lifted a cream framed-picture off a wall.

Coming back, she showed us a picture she recently painted of a hare, prompting her friend, Mrs. Wilson, to say: “That is beautiful, and so natural, Lorna.”

Mrs. Parkinson added that the beauty of the area inspires her.

Further down the street, barber Samantha Breslin was busy cutting hair in her premises, Sammy B’s Barbers.


Sammy Breslin, Sammy - Bs Barbers, cutting the hair of local man Barry Maguire.

Sammy Breslin, Sammy - B's Barbers, cutting the hair of local man Barry Maguire.


She was agile and friendly as she moved around her shop, and around her customer’s head, with a pair of scissors.

Ms. Breslin has only been operating for a number of weeks, she explained.

“I am going since the week of Christmas; it is going great. It was very busy around Christmas, it was mental! I do walk-ins, and it has been working well.

“Before Covid-19, barbers were all walk-ins, and after the pandemic, everyone stuck to appointments.

“But from when I opened, I saw how older people appreciated walk-in barbers, and it suits everybody.”

She explained that she worked for several years as a barber in Lisnaskea, but now takes clients from across south Fermanagh.

“The clientele is from all over – Brookeborough, Lisnaskea, Lisbellaw – there is no barbers there; I take them from all over, really, and Fivemiletown too.”

Ms. Breslin has been made to feel very welcome by all those in the village.

“Everyone has been lovely; I am so shocked by how good people are,” she added.

A lingering smell of freshly-baked scones, buns and tarts was soon detected wafting through the air by Sweet Temptations bakery.

The wholesale bakery supplies 35 shops across Fermanagh and Tyrone from Maguirebridge, and staff were busy baking up a storm as Eric Graydon discussed business.


Eric Graydon, Graydons Sweet Temptations Ltd.

Eric Graydon, Graydon's Sweet Temptations Ltd.



The business has been operating since 1991 when Mr. Grayson and his wife, Myrtle, opened it. The pair had previously run the village’s SPAR shop, where they had honed the trade of baking for customers.

Mr. Grayson believes it is the quality of the product that has sustained business, he says.

“What has stood us in good stead is this is all home-made, and not mass produced.”

Highlighting that Maguiresbridge is a very convenient area for business, he said: “It is well serviced, and going the other way [on the road], we are on the A4, which for us in distribution is central so we can get out to our customers.”

When asked if he grew up in Maguiresbridge, he was proud to say he was born and raised here, and he added with a smile: “I haven’t been off this road since I was born.

“The community spirit is excellent – if it wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here all my life.”

He enjoys the natural beauty of the area.

“The fact is, it is rural out in the country. We have the Colebrooke River beside us; I like to fish, and we have the Aghavea River running into the Colebrooke River beside our garden,” he said.