THE townland of Tamlaght, in Irish (‘Tamhlacht’) translates, quite simply, as “Sanctuary/land set apart”.

It is not known who named the 185-acre townland as such, but it’s hard to disagree that the Gaelic meaning captures the feel of the Co. Fermanagh hamlet perfectly.

Situated on a main road less than 2.8 miles from the hustle and bustle of Enniskillen, Tamlaght is a place that many will drive through daily, often without thinking.

But those who do decide to pull over and take the time are met with a mecca of peace and quiet, nature and community.

It’s a sanctuary from the demands of modern life if there ever was one.

This endearing ethos is particularly pertinent in the demesne of Killyreagh House, a true hidden gem that sits elevated a short distance from the general settlement of Tamlaght.

Walking around, it’s hard not be taken by the naturalistic surrounds of the garden, with mature trees, its herbaceous border, sunken garden, lawns and pond.

Lord and Lady Anthony Hamilton are some of Tamlaght’s best-known residents, having resided at the stunning Georgian manor since 1988.

Since then, they have witnessed the constant changing of the seasons within the elegant garden, and with this, numerous changes in Tamlaght itself.

“When we came here there was a post office and two shops, which are sadly now gone,” Lord Hamilton said, speaking in the kitchen of his home, with a period red ‘AGA’ cooker in the background.

“Tamlaght has seen a lot of development, and what started out as a small hamlet has really become a mini-village.

“This is a sign of the times, as people are more mobile and can easily travel between towns.”

Set in an elevated position above Tamlaght, the magnificent Killyreagh House has been a steadfast feature of the townland since the 1830s.

Across countless seasons, the house and gardens have delighted visitors from near and far, with the lavish grounds opened for charity ‘open-gardens’, and a stable block available for a range of functions.

Lord and Lady Hamilton’s ongoing support for their local area is indicative of a wider spirit of community within Tamlaght.

Community exploits include both a thriving WI and Community Association, where opportunities for socialising, fun and charity abound.

Iris Mahon, President of Tamlaght WI, said the organisation has grown to around 23 members, including Lady Hamilton, who meet regularly to enjoy fun, friendship and more.

She explained: “We are doing very well at the moment, thanks to the support of all our members. We do a range of things, including craft classes, flower arranging, and hosting the Area Quiz once a year.

“Other institutes also use the hall now and again for their own committee meetings, and the hall is also available for use by other community groups and organisations.”

For its members, the youngest of whom is only 27, Tamlaght WI helps to promote a sense of togetherness, as well as alleviating social isolation.

Mrs. Mahon explained: “The WI is a great organisation in many respects, as it helps with social isolation, and it brings the people together with a common interest.

“We are all on WhatsApp, and this also helps us keep in touch, and overall the organisation helps to keep everyone together.”

Thriving Along with local community groups, businesses are also thriving in Tamlaght. Visually, it’s hard to miss Tamlaght Auto Sales, situated in a prominent location on the Belfast Road.

Opened by businessman Derek Cheshire in 2021, the eye-catching roadside show space offers a range of cars to suit any budget.

Sales Executive, Darryl Hassard, said Tamlaght has proven to be an excellent place to do business.

“Tamlaght Auto Sales was opened up three years ago, and it’s been going very well since,” Mr. Hassard said, speaking from the packed yard, with cars lined across the vicinity.

“We are on the roadside, and it’s definitely a busy road, so our location is essentially our shop window.

“The team here have gone to great lengths to make the business look visually appealing, and we feel we are doing our bit to boost the appearance of Tamlaght as a village.”

Mr. Hassard continued: “Without a doubt, it’s a close-knit community. We are supportive of the community and in turn, they support us. It’s a two-way street.

“Many people from Tamlaght have bought cars from us, but of course, we have also sold many outside the area too.

“Our model here is we have something for everyone. We have a wide range of affordable cars of various makes, and it’s very rare that we don’t have a car to suit someone!”

Meanwhile, another local business, My Design House NI, also embodies the spirit of continual development and growth of Tamlaght as a place.

Operated by Carole McCarney, a range of interior design services are offered by the local business, including private home consultations; fabrics, wallpaper and paint; curtains, blinds, poles and tracks; bespoke cabinetry, furniture and kitchens; product sourcing; personal shopping, and much more.

The business is situated at the site of the former Nixon’s shop, and those of a certain age will remember the grocery shop and filling station from years gone by.

Many will also remember the bustling former post office, on the Enniskillen Road, which is now a residential property.

The former shop was once run by Sam and Joan Nixon.

Speaking from her kitchen, Mrs. Nixon reflected on those days, and the developments that have taken place within Tamlaght over past decades.

“My husband, Sam, and myself ran the shop down there, Nixon’s shop, for 50-odd years,” Mrs. Nixon explained.

“We sold groceries and also had a filling station, and it was always a hive of activity in the local community.

“Without a doubt, there have been a lot of changes. When we came here, the area opposite the shop was all green fields. Hundreds of houses in different parks have went up since.

“Overall, it’s a quiet and peaceful place to live. There doesn’t be much trouble here in Tamlaght, and there is a good sense of community here.”

Worship Like many other local woman, Mrs. Nixon is a member of Tamlaght WI, and also enjoys worship at Derryvullen South, Tamlaght.

Meanwhile, fellow Tamlaght resident, Eileen Hutchinson, also enjoys what life has to offer in Tamlaght. She lives on the edge of the hamlet with her husband, Robbie.

“I am originally from Newtownbutler direction; I was born and bred at Crom Estate on a wee farm,” she explained.

“This house came up and we took a notion of looking at it, and we then decided that we should move here! It is a nice place to live, without a doubt.”

In particular, Mrs. Hutchinson enjoys overlooking Lough Erne, which she said she has a long-standing connection with.

“It’s in a lovely part of the world, and it’s nice to be in a house that’s overlooking Lough Erne,” she said.

“I was born near Lough Erne, on the other side of it, so it’s nice to still be around the lake.

“As well as this, it’s been a good place to rear the family. It’s a desirable place to live, and people seem to admire Tamlaght.

“People want to live here. It’s peaceful, quiet, and has everything you could want.”

Without a doubt, the Irish translation of Tamlaght as a sanctuary rings true to this day.