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Saturday 17 March 2018

Fortress Fermanagh can't hold back fine weather and friendliness

Fiach Kelly Enniskillen

SMILE – you're inside a fortress.

Forbidding yet somehow friendly at the same time, Enniskillen and the Lough Erne resort – the nerve centre of the G8 summit – tried to put their best feet forward for their visitors from around the world.

Security was heavy, but not intimidating, and even the police stationed at every corner tried to make people feel welcome.

As one press bus was chugging through the gates of the Lough Erne resort, from the media centre in another hotel in Enniskillen a burly police officer holding a doberman on a leash looked up at the ranks of the international press, beamed and asked us all to smile.

The political leaders joined in the relaxed atmosphere, and dressed down as is customary at the G8.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny avoided a fashion catastrophe on the scale of the Bert's canary cacks and opted for an open necked blue shirt and a grey-blue blazers. "I forgot the yellow trousers," he joked.

The approach to the hotel hosting the summit was like a cross between Jurassic Park and a horror movie, with high steel fences, crash barriers and tall gates every few hundred yards.

And yet, in the fine weather, Enniskillen went out of its way to help, with locals even offering lifts to people merely asking for directions to their next destination.

Irish Independent

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