County Fermanagh

Enniskillen Castle, County Fermanagh

Enniskillen Castle began it's life as a tower house from the 15th Century built by Hugh "the Hospitable" Maguire. The Castle is positioned (as indeed is Enniskillen) at the vital crossing point of the island between the two Lough Ernes (Enniskillen means the town on the island).  The Maguires held all the land hereabouts, and the Castle was involved in several skirmishes with the neighbouring O'Donnells and O'Neills.  It was eventually destroyed by the English in 1602 and replaced by a Plantation tower house, at which time the distinctive water gate was added.

The base of the original tower was incorporated into the current "keep" - a large square tower now very much altered from it's Castle appearance.  The Jacobites laid siege to the Castle in 1690 and it remained in use until 1710 as a residence.  It fell into disrepair and was rebuilt as barracks in 1790, a use it kept until the 1950s.

Today the keep houses a museum.  The best view of the Castle is surely from across the river with the unusual water gate looking far more defensive than it does when viewed from closer to, when the thinness of it's walls become more apparent.

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