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.
Enniskillen is the site of the foundation of two British Army
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).
For more information see The Troubles in Enniskillen, which includes a list of incidents in Enniskillen during the Troubles resulting in fatalities.
The Irish singer / songwriter Tommy Makem wrote a lighthearted song about the town, "Fare Thee Well, Enniskillen," covered by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and The Dubliners.
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.
- 23.2% were aged under 16 years and 17.4% were aged 60 and over
- 48.1% of the population were male and 51.9% were female
- 61.5% were from a Roman Catholic background and 36.3% were from a Protestant background
- 5.2% of people aged 16-74 were unemployed.
For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service
Places of interest
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.
The following are people born or brought up in or around Enniskillen. Locally, people are only considered to be truly from Enniskillen if they were born "between the bridges", i.e. on the island.
- Oscar Wilde, satirist and playwright, educated at Portora Royal School
- Neil Hannon, lead singer/composer of the pop band The Divine Comedy educated at Portora Royal School
- Samuel Beckett, playwright, educated at Portora Royal School
- Roy Carroll, goalkeeper for Derby County FC
- Adrian Dunbar, actor, born and brought up in Enniskillen
- Frank Hoy, professional wrestler, was born in the town
- David Robinson, photographer and publisher, educated at Portora Royal School
- Edward Kernan, a Roman Catholic bishop
- Kyle Lafferty, striker, professional football player for Rangers and Northern Ireland international.
- Charles Lawson, most notable for playing Jim McDonald in Coronation Street
- Rodney Edwards, journalist, broadcaster and columnist
- Henry Francis Lyte, hymn composer, most notably Abide With Me, educated at Portora Royal School
- Nial Fulton, film and television producer, educated at Portora Royal School
- Bobby Kerr, Olympic 100 m gold medalist in the 1908 Olympics for Canada
- Michael McGovern, goalkeeper, currently with Dundee United F.C.
- Kieran McKenna, midfielder, currently with Tottenham Hotspur
- Ciarán McMenamin, television actor
- Frank Ormsby, poet
- Claire Falconer, actress and painter
- Seán Quinn, entrepreneur and Ireland's richest man (originally from Derrylin)
- Duke of Westminster, formerly the UK's richest man, brought up at the family's estate at Ely Lodge
- David McCann, author of children's books
- Mick Softley singer and song writer for Bob Dylan, currently lives in the town
- Gordon Wilson (peace campaigner), peace campaigner and Irish senator
- Ron Wilson (newsreader) is a news anchor with Network Ten in Australia
- E Charles Nelson, Botanist and Botanical Author, educated at Portora Royal School
- John White, Royal Navy, Surgeon General New South Wales (1788), Sailed in First Fleet HMS Sirius. Educated at Portora Royal School.
- Gavin Noble,Irish triathlete who competed in the 2008 Olympics
- Eamonn Bermingham, Northern Irish journalist. Formerly of the Impartial Reporter, The Scotsman and currently working as a freelance journalist in Mackay, Australia.
There are numerous schools and colleges in and around the Enniskillen area, from primary level to secondary level, including some further education colleges such as the technical college.
- Erne Integrated Primary school
- Model primary school
- Holy Trinity Primary School
- Jones Memorial Primary School
- Saint Patrick's Primary School, Mullanaskea
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.
Enniskillen is twinned with Bielefeld, Germany. Enniskillen was originally twinned with Brackwede - a Bielefeld suburb - where the Inniskillen Dragoon Guards
were stationed at the end of World War Two
; however, this suburb was incorporated into Stadt Bielefeld in 1973, the city with which Enniskillen is now officially twinned.