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Scots: Inniskillin[1]
Irish: Inis Ceithleann
Enniskillen from the air (2005)
Enniskillen is located in Northern Ireland
 Enniskillen shown within Northern Ireland
Population 13,757 [2]
Irish grid reference H240440
   – Belfast  88 miles (142 km) 
District Fermanagh and Omagh
County County Fermanagh
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT74, BT92-94
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Fermanagh and South Tyrone
NI Assembly Fermanagh and South Tyrone
Website www.enniskillen.com
List of places
Northern Ireland

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Enniskillen (/ˌɛnsˈkɪlən/, from Irish Inis Ceithleann, meaning "Ceithlenn's island" [ˈɪnʲɪʃ ˈcɛlʲən̪ˠ]) 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.


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. 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.[3]

The town's oldest building is the Maguire's stone castle, built by Hugh the Hospitable who died in 1428.[4] 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.[5] 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.

File:Enniskillen - geograph.org.uk - 46534.jpg
Enniskillen's main street in 2004

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.[6]

Enniskillen and Derry were the two garrisons in Ulster that were not wholly loyal to James II, and it was the last town to fall before the siege of Derry. 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.

The current site of Fermanagh College (now part of the South West College) was the former Enniskillen Gaol. Many people were tried and hanged here in the square during the times of public execution. Part of the old Gaol is still used by the college.

Military history

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 Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment).

The Troubles

Enniskillen was the site of several events during The Troubles, the most notable being the Remembrance Day bombing in which 11 people were killed.


The Irish singer/songwriter Tommy Makem wrote a lighthearted song about the town, "Fare Thee Well, Enniskillen"[citation needed]covered by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and The Dubliners.

The Chieftains sing a song that mentions Enniskillen titled "North Amerikay".

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds was so moved by the results of the Enniskillen bombing in 1987 that he wrote new words to the traditional folk song "She Moved Through The Fair" and the group recorded it with the name "Belfast Child". The recording reached No. 1 in the UK Charts, Ireland and several other countries in 1989. The single was taken from the album "Street Fighting Years" and the single version was also published with the title "Ballad of the Streets". The video to the song was shot in black and white and displays poignant footage of children and the destruction of the bombing.

The Irish language novel Mo Dhá Mhicí by Séamus Mac Annaidh is set in Enniskillen.


Enniskillen is classified as a "medium town" by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. 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 Catholic background and 36.3% were from a Protestant background
  • 5.2% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
  • 98.8% of people were from a white ethnic background.[7]

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


As throughout Britain and Ireland, Enniskillen experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest official Met Office weather station for which online records are available is at Lough Navar Forest,[8] about 8 12 mi (14 km) North West of Enniskillen. Data has also more recently been collected from Enniskillen Airport/ St Angelo, under 4 mi (6 km) to the North of the town centre, which should, in time, give a more accurate representation of the climate of the Enniskillen area.

The absolute maximum temperature is 29.8 °C (85.6 °F), recorded during July 2006.[9] In an 'average' year, the warmest day is 25.5 °C (77.9 °F)[10] and only 2.4 days[11] a year should rise to 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above. The respective absolute maximum for St Angelo is 29.4 °C (84.9 °F)[12]

The absolute minimum temperature is −12.9 °C (8.8 °F), recorded during January 1984.[13] In an 'average' year, the coldest night should fall to −8.2 °C (17.2 °F). Lough Navar is a frosty location, with some 76 air frosts recorded in a typical year.[13] It is likely Enniskillen town centre is significantly less frosty than this. The absolute minimum at St Angelo is −14.5 °C (5.9 °F), reported during the record cold month of December 2010.[13]

The warmest month on record at St Angelo was August 1995 with a mean temperature of 18.8 °C (65.8 °F)[14] (mean maximum 23.3 °C (73.9 °F), mean minimum 12.9 °C (55.2 °F), while the coldest month was December 2010, with a mean temperature of −1.8 °C (28.8 °F)[15] (mean maximum 2.9 °C (37.2 °F), mean minimum −5.9 °C (21.4 °F).

Rainfall is high, averaging over 1500 mm. 212 days of the year report at least 1 mm of precipitation, ranging from 15 days during April, May and June, to 20 days in October, November, December, January and March.

The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[16]

Climate data for Lough Navar Forest 126m asl 1971–2000, extremes 1960– (Weather station 8.5 miles (14 km) North West of Enniskillen)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.0
Average high °C (°F) 6.4
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Record low °C (°F) −12.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 163.38
Source #1: YR.NO[17]

date=September 2011

Source #2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute[18]

Places of interest

File:Coles monument.jpg
Cole's Monument

The Diamond

"The Diamond" is the town square. It is located directly beside the Town Hall.[19][20]

International events

Enniskillen was chosen as the venue for the 39th G8 summit held on 17 and 18 June 2013. The gathering was the biggest international diplomatic gathering held in Northern Ireland. Among G8 leaders who attended were British Prime Minister David Cameron, United States President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.[21]

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.[22] Despite its success, Enniskillen was not chosen as a World Cup Stop for 2008.

Also, a Pro wakeboard competition, 'Wakejam', took place between 27 and 29 July 2007, where top riders from around the world, as well as local riders, took part in the event, hosted by Erne Wakeboard Club (EWC).

In January 2009, Enniskillen hosted the ceremonial start of Rally Ireland 2009, the first stage of the WRC FIA World Rally Championship 2009 Calendar.

Enniskillen Airport is the host venue for Heli Challenge: The Premier Helicopter Championship]. Heli Challenge is an international competition, which tests the skill of some of the best helicopter pilots from across the British Isles. Enniskillen Airport has hosted Heli Challenge in 2009 & 2010. Heli Challenge will return in August 2011.

May 2009 saw the first International Seaplane Festival take place at the Share Centre in Lisnakea, as part of the Fermanagh Seaplane Festival, 10 Seaplanes from across Europe arrived to celebrate the beauty of the Fermanagh Loughs. The day before the festival a number of planes landed in the town of Enniskillen (Dramatic footage of it can be seen on YouTube).

In 2011, The Fermanagh Seaplane Festival returned, located at the original World War II Catalina base in RAF Killadeas on Lower Lough Erne. The Festival attracted two World War II Catalina's and went on to capture global media exposure(Confirmed 4.5million plus viewers) via a TV show called 'Dig WWII', hosted by presenter Dan Snow.

For the past two years, Enniskillen has played host to the Ireland Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting, an event that draws motorcyclists from across the country and across Europe. The 2010 HU Ireland meeting raised £506 for Motorcycle Outreach, through the sale of raffle tickets and the generous donation of prizes.

Notable people

The following are former or current residents of the town.

Common surnames

Most common surnames in Enniskillen according Irish Census 1901/1911: Maguire, Wilson, Johnston, Murphy, Irvine, McManus, Kelly, Elliott, Drumm, Smith, Doherty, Donnelly, Gallagher, Shannon, Smyth, Morrison, Keenan, Armstrong, Nolan, Bleakley, Love, Crawford, FitzPatrick, Boyd, Martin, Dolan, Stewart, Magee, Walker, Flanagan, Henderson, Cleary, Sweeney, Breen, Clarke, Nixon, Jones, Hynes, Corrigan, Reilly, Slavin, Dooris, Cassidy, Scott, McLoughlin, McCusker, Carney, Rooney, Leonard, Carrothers, McGovern, Dorothy, Quinn, Ward, Wadsworth, McCaffery, Palmer, Lunny, Harte, Kenny, Robinson, McDonagh, Lally, Montgomery, Maxwell, McCauley, Cox, Hassard, Curran, Haren, McNulty, McBride, McFarland, Fox, Dundas, Coulter, Forsythe, Brady, Parker, Gardiner, Hamilton, Campbell, McMullen, Mulligan, Duffy, Steele, Miller, Moore, Feely, McCaffrey, McKernan, Carleton, Monaghan, Gibson, Thompson, Latimer, Ritchie, Scollan, Cavanagh, Drumn, Barton, Gregg, Hogan, O'Donnell, McKeown, Jackson, McKenna, Hall, Dickson, Gildea, Carroll, Coalter, Connor, Hurst, Vaughan, Hueston, Cadden, Graham, Kennedy, Ford, Ross, Frith, Healy.


File:The old Enniskillen Model School - geograph.org.uk - 1464238.jpg
The old Enniskillen Model School, now used as the Fermanagh office of the Western Education and Library Board (WELB)

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.

Primary level

  • Erne Integrated Primary school
  • Model primary school
  • Holy Trinity Primary School
  • Jones Memorial Primary School
  • Mullnaskea Primary School

Secondary level



Rail - historic

Railway lines from Enniskillen railway station linked the town with Derry from 1854, Dundalk from 1861, Bundoran from 1868 and Sligo from 1882.[23] By 1883 the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) absorbed all the lines except the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway, which remained independent throughout its existence. In October 1957 the Government of Northern Ireland closed the GNR line, which made it impossible for the SL&NCR continue and forced it also to close.[24]

Rail - current

The nearest railway station to Enniskillen is Sligo station which is served by trains to Dublin Connolly and is operated by Iarnród Éireann. The Dublin-Sligo railway line has a two hourly service run by Irish Rail Official site – Timetables, bookings and operations The connecting bus from Sligo via Manorhamilton to Enniskillen is route 66 operated by Bus Éireann.


Enniskillen has an extensive bus service; both Ulsterbus and Bus Éireann serve Fermanagh through the bus station in Enniskillen. Leydons Coaches operate route 930 linking Enniskillen to Swanlinbar, Bawnboy, Ballyconnell, Belturbet and Cavan.[25] LakesCity route 950 provides a number of journeys each day to Dublin, Cavan and Donegal.[26] The Ulsterbus Route 261 departs from Belfast Europa Station to Enniskillen Bus Station. The Bus Éireann Route 30 will take you from Dublin Airport/Dublin City to Enniskillen Bus Station.


Enniskillen has a World War II-era airport, Enniskillen/St Angelo Airport. The airport had scheduled flights in the past, but now serves mainly private traffic.


The town is on the main A4/N16 route linking Belfast and 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 Inniskilling 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.

See also


  1. History of Moira Station – NI Department of the Environment
  2. http://www.fermanaghomagh.com/about-us
  3. Placenames Database of Ireland
  4. Mary Rogers (1982). Prospect of Fermanagh. Watergate Press, Enniskillen.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "The Maguires of Fermanagh".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Witherow, Thomas. "The Defence of Enniskillen". Derry and Enniskillen in the Year 1689. Library Ireland. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  7. Town
  8. "Station Locations". MetOffice.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "2006 Maximum". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "71-00 Mean Warmest Day". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "71-00 >25c days". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "2006 Maximum". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "2003 Sunshine". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "August 1995". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "December 2010". Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Climate Summary for Enniskillen
  17. "1971–2000 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 16 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Climate Normals 1971–2000". Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 20 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Fermanagh District Council :: Home. Fermanagh.gov.uk. Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  20. Arts Council of Northern Ireland [1], "Architecture & the Built Environment: Consultation Document Submitted by the Architecture Working Group". (Belfast, April 2002). Accessed online 12 April 2007 [2].
  21. "Tanaiste welcomes announcement that Enniskillen will host the G8 Summit in June 2013". MerrionStreet. Retrieved 30 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "International Water Ski Federation 2007".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Hajducki, S. Maxwell (1974). A Railway Atlas of Ireland. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. maps 6, 7, 12. ISBN 0-7153-5167-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Sprinks, N.W. (1970). Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway. Billericay: Irish Railway Record Society (London Area).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Leydons Coaches. Leydons Coaches (11 February 2013). Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  26. http://lakescity.ie/ LakesCity. Retrieved on 18 October 2013.

External links