While many people might remark that Letterbreen is only a hamlet, there is much more to it than meets the eye, with those living along the Sligo road and the surrounding hinterlands “hard-working” and “friendly” people, according to locals.

The hamlet has evolved over the years, with several newly-built homes in the area; however, it is still very much a community with farming at its core.


The SPAR shop was a hub of activity on a busy Thursday afternoon when The Impartial Reporter visited Letterbreen, with customers from right across the surrounding area calling in, and some - including this reporter - sheltering from the day's poor weather.

One farmer stomped his wellies on the doormat, knocking the water off before fully entering the shop to pick up a few messages.

Nathan Holder and Makayla Lyons were working hard to serve customers. Mr. Holder has been managing the shop for the past five years, and remarked that he has some of the best customers around.Impartial Reporter: Nathan Holder with Violet Brownlee and Makayia Lyons.

When asked what is good about the area, he replied: “Everything”, and continued: "It’s a great place; it keeps us busy.

“There is a lot of passing trade from Letterbreen, Florencecourt, Mullughdun, Belcoo.

“It is a big farming community, and a very close-knit community.”

The friendliness of the area is perhaps summed up by those singing the praises of this local business.

Violet Brownlee, from neighbouring Florencecourt, was doing her shopping there. She said: “This is the best shop in the world, with the best people! They are everything.”

The calm of the area away from the hustle and bustle of Enniskillen town was one of the reasons often raised as why people like it.

One of those who enjoys the oasis of calm in the area is artist, Gail Turner.

Impartial Reporter: Gail TurnerGail Turner (Image: John McVitty)

She said: “I go for a walk with my dog every day, and to me, every day, the landscape changes. The light is everything - you can walk past Benaughlin 100 times, and it's different every day.

"You can walk past the lake 100 times, and it's different every day because of the light. I always feel inspired here; I love nature.”

Ms. Turner says she is inspired by nature, and she has captured some of the local area in her book of paintings, ‘Every Place is a Beautiful Space’.

She said: “I have published the book with my paintings to get people to go out and talk about their feelings; to get out in nature, and not to bottle things up.

“Nature always helps you reset. My book is to open up discussions on mental health, and to get people talking about our feelings.”

One man who has seen the evolution of Leterbreen is Stanley Moffatt. Mr. Moffatt first came to the hamlet in 1962 when he entered into partnership with J. N. Carson of J. N. Carson Quarry. He later took over the business in 1968.

Impartial Reporter: Stanley MoffattStanley Moffatt (Image: John McVitty)

In partnership with his twin brother, who was based in Mr. Moffatt’s native Drumquinn, he worked for more than 30 years at the Belcoo site of the business before retiring.

Mr. Moffatt explained: “I sold it in 2000. I retired from Belcoo in 1995, and went to another quarry we had in Ederney until 2000, and my brother and I retired in 2000.”

He is not, however, taking a quiet retirement in tranquil Letterbreen. A devoted member of his church community at Mullughdun Parish Church, he - like many others - undertook a pandemic lockdown project.

Moving from his living room to his kitchen, Mr. Moffatt opened a photo book of the ‘little’ lockdown project he completed - the construction of a new car park for the church.

He worked solo for most of the project before being joined by Tommy Elliott and others to restore the gates for the church, and complete works to the car park.

Outside of church, Mr. Moffatt  enjoys a game of pool with friends and neighbours as well as spending time at Florencecourt Gun Club.

He remarked: “There is a good bit of craic in it! No one takes it too seriously.”

Reflecting on why Letterbreen is a good place to live, Mr. Moffatt said: “I am living here 40-plus years, and I like it. It’s quiet; a quiet, wee place, and it’s a nice distance from town.”

The hamlet has changed but is still active in many facets of community life with the busy Letterbreen Silver Band as well as various organisations present throughout the hamlet and surrounding areas.

One man who hasn’t strayed too far from his roots is Wesley Melanophy, who was outside Letterbreen Methodist Church when he spoke to this newspaper.

Impartial Reporter: Wesley MelanophyWesley Melanophy (Image: John McVitty)

He recalled going to Sunday School at the roadside church, where he is still a parishioner.

“I went to church in Lettterbreen, always did, from when I was in Sunday School.”

He spoke of the excitement caused on Palm Sunday when a donkey made an appearance at the church service.

He explained: “We had a children’s message here on Sunday, we do it once a month where children take part.

"The donkey came into the church and stood with his nose nearly at the altar, and stood for four verses in the first hymn, and he never moved.

"He never moved for the prayers, either, and then he went back out to the trailer.”

Mr. Melanophy says that the people who live in Letterbreen are friendly, and the area is a good place to retire to.

He himself is enjoying his retirement after 39 years working in the health service.

Further praising Letterbreen, he said: “There is a nice countryside, you have the local church, and the pub down the road - we are in the middle of it all.”

Impartial Reporter: LetterbreenLetterbreen (Image: John McVitty)