Monea Castle, Monea, County Fermanagh

The Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century was an attempt by the English monarchy to take control of the troublesome province of Ulster. After attempts by Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, it wasn`t until the Flight of the Earls in 1607 that King James began to confiscate lands and grant it to those who would settle in Ulster and support the royal claim. Many of these settlers were English and Scottish and finding themselves amongst a hostile native population, they built defensive dwellings. The largest and best preserved of the Plantation Castles in Fermanagh is this one at Monea. It was built in 1618 for rev Malcolm Hamilton. Prior to the plantation this location was the stronghold of the Maguire clan and the outline of a crannog is still visible (a fortified house built on the lake shore). Rev. Hamilton went on to become the Archbishop of Cashel in 1623. During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, the castle was attacked by Rory Maguire killing eight Protestants. In 1688 it was occupied by Gustav Hamilton, the Governor of Enniskillen, who died in 1691. His wife and children continued to live at Monea but who ended up selling the estate in 1704. A few decades later the castle was gutted by fire and subsequently abandoned.