|Irish: Inis Ceithleann|
Enniskillen shown within Northern Ireland
|Irish grid reference|
|- Belfast||88 miles (142 km)|
|Constituent country||Northern Ireland|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||BT74, BT92-94|
|European Parliament||Northern Ireland|
|NI Assembly||Fermanagh and South Tyrone|
|List of places: UK • Northern Ireland • Fermanagh|
Enniskillen (Irish : "Inis Ceithleann" meaning Ceithlenn's island) is the county town (and largest town) in County Fermanagh. It is located almost exactly in the centre of the county between the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne. It is also the seat of local government for Fermanagh District Council.
The town's name comes from the Irish: Inis Ceithleann. This refers to Cethlenn, a figure in Irish mythology who may have been a goddess. It has been anglicised many ways over the centuries — Iniskellen, Iniskellin, Iniskillin, Iniskillen, Inishkellen, Inishkellin, Inishkillin, Inishkillen, and so on.
The town's oldest building is the Maguire's stone castle, built by Hugh the Hospitable who died in 1428. An earthwork, the Skonce on the lough shore, may be the remains of an earlier motte. The castle was the stronghold of the junior branch of the Maguires. The first water-gate was built around 1580 by Cú Chonnacht Maguire, though subsequent lowering of the level of the lough has left it without water. The strategic position of the castle made it important for the English to capture it in 1593 for their plantation plans which was achieved by a Captain Dowdall. Maguire then laid siege to it and defeated a relieving force at the Battle of the Ford of the Bicuits at Drumane Bridge. Although the defenders were relieved, Maguire was in possession of the castle from 1595-8 and it wasn't till 1607 that it was finally captured by the English.
This was part of a wider campaign to bring the province of Ulster under English control; there had been a major siege of Enniskillen Castle in 1594. The Plantation of Ulster followed during which the lands of the native Irish were seized and handed over to planters loyal to the English Crown. The Maguires were supplanted by William Cole, originally from Devon, who was appointed by James I to build an English settlement there.
Captain Cole was installed as Constable and strengthened the castle wall and built a "fair house" on the old foundation as the centrepoint of the county town. The first Protestant parish church was erected on the hilltop in 1627. The Royal Free School of Fermanagh was moved onto the island in 1643. The first bridges were drawbridges and permanent bridges were not installed before 1688.
By 1689 the town had grown significantly. During the conflict which resulted from the ousting of King James II by his Protestant rival, William III, Enniskillen and Derry were the focus of Williamite resistance in Ireland, including the nearby Battle of Newtownbutler.
As a direct result of this conflict Enniskillen developed not only as a market town but also as a garrison which became home to two regiments.
Enniskillen is the site of the foundation of two British Army regiments:
The town's name (with the archaic spelling) continues to form part of the title to the The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment).
The Remembrance Day Bombing (8 November 1987) was one of the most notable events of The Troubles. Eleven people were killed and hundreds injured as a result of a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb. The IRA later claimed that their target was a colour guard of British soldiers. At the same time as the Enniskillen bombing, the IRA also planted a bomb 20 miles away in Tullyhommon, near Pettigo, where the Boys' Brigade and the Girls' Brigade were due to participate in a Remembrance Day service. The bomb failed to detonate, preventing the further loss of innocent life. The Enniskillen bomb is acknowledged by some as a turning point in the Northern Ireland peace process.
For more information see The Troubles in Enniskillen, which includes a list of incidents in Enniskillen during the Troubles resulting in fatalities.
The Chieftains sing a song that mentions Enniskillin titled "North Amerikay".
Enniskillen is classified as a "medium town" by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (ie with population between 10,000 and 18,000 people). On census day (29 April 2001) there were 13,599 people living in Enniskillen.
- 23.2% were aged under 16 years and 17.4% were aged 60 and over
- 48.1% of the population were male and 51.9% were female
- 61.5% were from a Roman Catholic background and 36.3% were from a Protestant background
- 5.2% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
Places of interest
- Ardhowen Theatre
- Castle Coole
- Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School
- Cole's Monument
- Enniskillen Castle
- Portora Royal School
- St Macartin's Cathedral
- The Diamond and Town Hall
- The Clinton Centre
- St. Michael's College (Enniskillen)
- Fort Lodge Hotel
- Wetherspoons Pub & Bar all shifty lads hang round here...cheap drink ye see
- The Round O
- The Lakeland Forum
In recent years, Enniskillen has hosted an array of international events, most notably, stages of the World Waterski World Cup annually from 2005 to 2007, at the Broadmeadow. Despite its success, Enniskillen was not chosen as a World Cup Stop for 2008.
Also, a Pro wakeboard competition, 'Wakejam', took place between July 27 and July 29 2007, where top riders from around the world, as well as local riders, took part in the event, hosted by Erne Wakeboard Club (EWC).
The following are people born or brought up in or around Enniskillen. Locally, people are only considered to be truly from Enniskillen if they were born "between the bridges", i.e. on the island.
- Oscar Wilde, satirist and playwright, educated at Portora Royal School
- Neil Hannon, lead singer/composer of the pop band The Divine Comedy educated at Portora Royal School
- Samuel Beckett, playwright, educated at Portora Royal School
- Roy Carroll, goalkeeper for Derby County FC
- Declan Burns,Irish Kayaking legend, Three-time Irish Olympic representitive and former World Superstars Runner-up
- Jim Cleary, former Glentoran footballer and member of Northern Ireland's 1982 World Cup squad.
- Adrian Dunbar, actor, born and brought up in Enniskillen
- Frank Hoy, professional wrestler, was born in the town
- David Robinson, photographer and publisher, educated at Portora Royal School
- Edward Kernan, a Roman Catholic bishop
- Kyle Lafferty, striker, professional football player for Rangers and Northern Ireland international.
- Charles Lawson, most notable for playing Jim McDonald in Coronation Street
- Andrew Little (footballer), professional football player for Rangers and Northern Ireland international.
- Henry Francis Lyte, hymn composer, most notably Abide With Me, educated at Portora Royal School
- Nial Fulton, film and television producer, educated at Portora Royal School
- Bobby Kerr, Olympic 100 m gold medalist in the 1908 Olympics for Canada
- Michael McGovern, goalkeeper, currently with Ross County F.C.
- Ciarán McMenamin, television actor
- Frank Ormsby, poet
- Claire Falconer, actress and painter
- Seán Quinn, entrepreneur and Ireland's richest man (originally from Derrylin)
- Duke of Westminster, formerly the UK's richest man, brought up at the family's estate at Ely Lodge
- David McCann, author of children's books
- Mick Softley singer and song writer for Bob Dylan, currently lives in the town
- Gordon Wilson (peace campaigner), peace campaigner and Irish senator
- Ron Wilson (newsreader) is a news anchor with Network Ten in Australia
- Gavin Noble, Irish international triathlete
- Edward Cooney, evangelist and early leader of the Cooneyite and Go-Preacher sects, educated at Portora Royal School
There are numerous schools and colleges in and around the Enniskillen area, from primary level to secondary level, including some further education colleges such as the technical college.
- Erne Integrated Primary school
- Model primary school
- Holy Trinity Primary School
- Jones Memorial Primary School
- Saint Patrick's Primary School, Mullanaskea
- Erne Integrated College
- Devenish College (a collaboration of Enniskillen High School and the Duke of Westminster College in Kesh)
- Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School
- Portora Royal School
- Mount Lourdes Enniskillen; convent girls grammar school
- Historic houseSt Michael's College; boys grammar school
- St Fanchea's College
- St Joseph's College
- Enniskillen College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise
- Enniskillen Campus South West College
Until 1957, the town was a junction on the Great Northern Railway and had rail links to Clones, Omagh and Bundoran, and the shared station was the eastern terminus of the SL&NCR railway, which ran passenger and freight services to Sligo. There is extensive bus service in Enniskillen; both Ulsterbus and Bus Eireann serve Fermanagh through the main bus station in Enniskillen. The town is also home to a World War II era airport, Enniskillen/St Angelo Airport. While the airport had scheduled flights in the past, it now serves mainly private traffic. The town is located on the main A4/N16 route from Belfast to Sligo, and on the main Dublin to Ballyshannon route, the N3/A46/A509.
Enniskillen is twinned with Bielefeld, Germany. Enniskillen was originally twinned with Brackwede - a Bielefeld suburb - where the Inniskillen Dragoon Guards were stationed at the end of World War II ; however, this suburb was incorporated into Stadt Bielefeld in 1973, the city with which Enniskillen is now officially twinned.
- Placenames Database of Ireland
- Mary Rogers (1982). Prospect of Fermanagh. Watergate Press, Enniskillen.
- "The Maguires of Fermanagh". http://www.libraryireland.com/articles/MaguiresDuffysHibernian2-10/index.php.
- "International Water Ski Federation 2007". http://www.iwsftournament.com/calendar/calendardisplay.php.
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