First Derry Presbyterian Church


Presbyterians have resided in the City since around 1642 having arrived during the Plantation of Ulster which began in the early 1600s. By the time of the Siege of Derry there was a significant number of Presbyterians in the city but still they didn’t have a place of worship within the City Walls. During the Siege, like many others in the region, the Presbyterians had moved in behind the city walls either to assist in the defence of the City or to seek safety from Jacobite forces. Within the Walls they worshipped in St Columb’s Cathedral and at some time they actually had St Augustine’s Church“on loan”. Continue reading “First Derry Presbyterian Church”

Florence Court House and Gardens


This National Trust property was the home of the Cole (Earl of Enniskillen) family from the early 1700s to 1973.

The Cole family, originally William Cole, arrived in County Fermanagh from Devon, England, in around 1612 when he was awarded the island of Enniskillen as part of the Plantation of Ulster. Continue reading “Florence Court House and Gardens”

Portora Castle


Portora Castle is located on the south bank of the River Erne overlooking the narrowest part of the river before it widens into Lower Lough Erne. Archaeological digs have recovered Stone Age axes, Bronze Age swords and Iron Age ornaments proving that this has been an important and busy crossing point between the provinces of Connacht and Ulster back to prehistoric times. Continue reading “Portora Castle”

Monea Castle


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. Continue reading “Monea Castle”

The Church of St. Molaise – Monea


A century after St. Patrick’s death and paralleling the growth of monasticism in Ireland in the sixth century, St. Molaise, founded a monastery on nearby Devenish Island. The Reformation and defeat of Ulster’s Irish Chieftains by the English and Scottish Plantation settlers finally brought the monastic communities on Devenish to an end in 1603. Continue reading “The Church of St. Molaise – Monea”

Crevenish Castle


The remains of Crevenish Castle are south-east of the village of Kesh on the Crevenish Road, or ‘the back road’ as the locals call it – a beautiful drive in itself.

The Castle (originally called Castle Hassett) was built by Thomas Blennerhassett a native of Norwich, England. Blennerhassett secured his land here – confiscated Maguire property – in 1610 as part of the Ulster Plantation. A church, built around the same time has long since disappeared. Continue reading “Crevenish Castle”

Irvinestown Old Church and Graveyard


After about ten years into the Plantation of Ulster, Nicholas Pynnar was appointed ‘to survey and to make a return of the proceedings and performance of conditions of the undertakers, servitors, and natives planted’ in the six escheated counties of Armagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Fermanagh, and Londonderry. Pynnar carried out his rather inconclusive survey (another had to be done three years later) between December 1618 and March 1619. Continue reading “Irvinestown Old Church and Graveyard”

Necerne Castle – What’s on the Slab?


Necerne Castle is one of many Plantation Castles in Country Fermanagh – that is a castle built or acquired by English or Scottish settlers in the early 1600s. What differentiates this from many of the others including Tully, Monea, Crevenish and Portora is its two storey Tudor-Gothic south wing extension added in 1833, its relatively better state of repair (it was used until the late 1940s) and the striking blue wooden panels securing its windows and doors! Continue reading “Necerne Castle – What’s on the Slab?”