Sir James Balfour, a Plantation undertaker from Fifeshire, Scotland, built Castle Balfour in around 1618 on the edge of a low limestone cliff on the edge of the present town of Lisnaskea to assist in the securing of the plantation of Ulster, occurring at this time. Like many of the Plantation castles in County Fermanagh, the architecture is Scottish strong house in style with several turrets and corbelled projections. The building is thought to be the work of Lowland Scots masons as opposed to most of the other plantation castles which were built by local Irish tradesmen.
During the 1641 Irish Rebellion both the castle and town of Lisnaskea were burned but later reoccupied. The castle was again destroyed by Jacobite armies in the Williamite campaign of 1689. The reinstated castle was passed to the Creightons of Crom (The Earl of Erne) when the Balfours left Fermanagh in about 1780. Castle Balfour was then occupied until 1803 when it was destroyed in a fire thought to have been started by a member of the Maguire Clan. Lisnaskea was the seat of the Maguire clan until it was evicted by the Planters in the early 17th century.
The badly damaged castle was stabilised and partially reconstructed in 1962-66. The Bawn (Irish defensive walls) and flanker towers typical of the plantation castles now form part of the graveyard of the Church of Ireland, the grounds of which now includes the castle.
I have prepared reviews on several other plantation castles. While there are many similarities between them each one is unique and has its own story to tell. Do have a look my reviews on Portora, Monea, Tully, Crevenish and Necerne if you have not already done so.
Opening Hours: 24/7
Entry Fee: Free
Address: Newbridge/Derrylin Road, Lisneskea
Directions: Newbridge/Derrylin Road on the outskirts of Lisnaskea
Access to the castle is via the adjoining Holy Trinity Church of Ireland graveyard.
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 – Secure Everlasting Love in Lisnaskea – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – “Fare thee well Enniskillen, ………..”