The name of the town Enniskillen is derived from Inis Ceithleann which can be translated as Ceithlenn’s island, which pays tribute to an Irish legend. It is believed that Ceithleann, who was possibly an ancient Goddess was wounded by an arrow during a battle and made an attempt to swim across the river to safety but never made it to the opposite bank, and safety. Situated in County Fermanagh it is by far the largest town in the county. The oldest building in the town is the stone castle which was constructed in 1428 under the orders of Hugh the Hospitable, the castle became the stronghold of the Maguire’s and was long a target for British Forces.
Places to Visit
There are plenty of places to visit while you are here in what is regarded as the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands. There are a number of National Trust properties that you can visit such as Castle Coole, Crom Castle and Florence Court House. A trip to the Sheelin Antique Lace Museum which is situated in the pretty village of Bellanaleck is also well worth a visit. You also have the opportunity to get back to nature and the raw energy of the Earth in a unique way as the region is home to what are widely regarded as the finest show caves in Europe. The Marble Arch Caves offer visitors the opportunity to experience an incredible subterranean world, filled with natural waterfalls and underground rivers.
You could not plan a trip to the town without including a visit to Enniskillen Castle, the castle is a true mix of the ancient and the contemporary as around the medieval castle keep you will find army barracks that date to the 19th Century. The south side of the castle is easily identifiable by the turrets that mark the Watergate that dates back to the 17th Century. A trip to Devenish Island will take you to what remains of the 6th Century monastery of St Molaise, one of the most important monasteries in the region.
The heart of Enniskillen is without doubt the Main Street; this street is so long that it actually goes through six name changes along its length. This is a well established high street, typical of any old town in this part of the world. There are no new shiny developments to take away from the charm of the old established businesses and here you will find a good mixture of the high street names that you will recognise alongside a good mix of local, independent traders. The Main Street is also home to plenty of bars and cafes should you need a break from shopping for a while.
What makes Enniskillen different to other towns is its proximity to Lough Erne, rather than just the usual town centre parking spaces you will find that there are moorings just outside of the town which gives the whole place something of a continental feel. Aside from the Main Street there is also a large retail complex within walking distance from the heart of the town.