In the town of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, this strategic and well-preserved stronghold today houses two museums -- the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Museum and the Fermanagh County Museum.
Fermanagh County Museum opened its doors in 1977. It features award-winning exhibits depicting County Fermanagh’s rich history and archaeological treasures, and covers topics like the Viking invasions, the plantation period, and World War II.
The Inniskillings Museum displays uniforms, weapons, photos and artwork related to the local military regiment, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers -- including the bugle used in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.
At the time of writing, the Fermanagh County museum is undergoing major refurbishment and redevelopment. It is planned that in 2016, major new galleries will open to celebrate local crafts and traditions such as Belleek Pottery and the Fermanagh hearth, when communities would gather round to tell stories and play cards at day's end. A rotating programme of exhibitions and events is planned throughout the year.
Built in 1670 by the Maguire clan, the site on the River Erne was chosen to guard the passage into Ulster, and the original structure consisted of a square tower house known as the Keep.
In the late 1700’s, the threat of French invasion prompted the government to refurbish the existing castle and add barracks, which can still be seen today on a tour of the castle.
Near the castle, you can also see the Water Gate, a double turreted structure built in the early 17th century to protect the town from invasion.
Enniskillen Castle. Image by Mario Ray Borg