Town (pop., 2001: 13,599), seat of Fermanagh district, southwestern Northern Ireland. Situated on an island in the River Erne, it was a strategic crossing point of Lough Erne. Incorporated by English King James I, Enniskillen defeated a force sent by James II in 1689 and gained a reputation as a Protestant stronghold. Long a garrison town, it gave its name to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, both famous regiments of the British army. The town is an agricultural market.
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Enniskillen is the county town (and largest town) in County Fermanagh and the west of Northern Ireland. It is located almost exactly in the centre of the county between the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne. The elected MP (Member of Parliament) over this area is Sinn Féin's Michelle Gildernew MP MLA.
With a population of over 13,000, it is by far the largest settlement in the county as well as the main retail centre. It is also the seat of local government for Fermanagh District Council.
The island was captured by the English in 1607, as 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.
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.
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.
Also a little known fact is that before all this a major offense was attempted by the British, where they the mistake of killing a member of the Mac Gafraith (now, McCaffery) Clan. The next morning over the hills came Thousands of McCaffery's wiping out the entire british force except one member who was captured, and sent back to England to report. In fact all land in County Fermanagh was not known as conqured until many of the McCaffery's Migrated to the United States in the late 1800's, only then did the British conclude it as safe to occupy.
The town's name (with the archaic spelling) continues to form part of the title to the The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment).
Enniskillen is classified as a Medium Town by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (ie with population between 10,000 and 18,000 people). On census day (29 April 2001) there were 13,599 people living in Enniskillen.
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
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. Despite its success, Enniskillen has not been chosen as a World Cup Stop for 2008, and whether or not it will return in 2009 is unclear. Also, a Pro wakeboard competition, 'Wakejam', took place between July 27 and July 29 2007, where top riders from around the world, as well as local riders, took part in the event, hosted by Erne Wakeboard Club (EWC).
Bridge-jumping is also quite a popular sport amongst youths and is usually participated in at the Lakeland Forum.
Until 1957, the town was a junction on the Great Northern Railway and had rail links to Clones, Omagh and Bundoran, and the shared station was the eastern terminus of the SL&NCR railway, which ran passenger and freight services to Sligo. There is extensive bus service in Enniskillen; both Ulsterbus and Bus Eireann serve Fermanagh through the main bus station in Enniskillen. The town is also home to a World War II era airport, Enniskillen/St Angelo Airport. While the airport had scheduled flights in the past, it now serves mainly private traffic.