This is most complete and the best preserved of Ulster’s plantation castles and well worth a visit. I have also written reviews on a number of others.
The so-called plantation castles were built in the 1610s and 1620s to consolidate the Ulster plantation of that period – when Ulster was colonised (following the Flight of the Earls in 1607) and planted with loyal wealthy landowners (from Scotland and England) to prevent further rebellion. Ulster had been the region most resistant to English control during the preceding century.
Monea Castle was built in 1618 by the Rector of Devenish, the Reverend Malcolm Hamilton in a very characteristically Scottish style with corbels and crow-stepped gables on top of the towers (the steeped feature you see in picture three above). The bawn (Irish defensive wall) was added in 1622.
In the Irish Rebellion of 1641 (an attempt by Irish Catholics to wrest control of Ireland from the English and Scottish settlers or planters) the castle was attacked and briefly fell into the hands of Rory Maguire who slew eight Protestants here.
Gustav Hamiliton, the Governor of Enniskillen and loyal supporter of King William III occupied the castle in 1688. He died bankrupt (due to major financial support of the Williamite Wars) in 1691 and his wife and family were forced to sell the castle in 1704 for financial reasons. Following a major fire in around 1750 the castle was abandoned and has so remained, apart from a short period in the 1900s when “a weird woman named Bell McCabe took her residence in a vault beneath one of the towers” before being evicted.
Address: Approx 1.5km from Monea
Directions: Monea is 10kms NW of Enniskillen the castle is approximately 1.5kms E St Molaise’s Church in Monea.
Approached along a beautiful beech avenue through Castletown Demesne.
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on many trips to Enniskillen. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Portora – The Royal School – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – “Fare thee well Enniskillen, ………..”