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Enniskillen

(4.1/5 based on 1,800+ reviews for top 20 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, nature, museums
Enniskillen is a town and civil parish in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is located almost exactly in the centre of the county between the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne. It had a population of 13,599 in the 2001 Census. It is the seat of local government for Fermanagh District Council, and is also the county town of Fermanagh as well as its largest town.HistoryThe town's name comes from the Irish: Inis Ceithleann. This refers to Cethlenn, a figure in Irish mythology who may have been a goddess. Local legend has it that Ceithlenn was wounded in battle by an arrow and attempted to swim across the river Erne, which surrounds the island, but she never reached the other side so the island was named in reference to her. 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 of Ulster 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 on the Arney River. 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.
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