The first Enniskillen castle was built on this site by Hugh Macguire in 1428. It featured greatly in Irish rebellions against English rule in the 16th century and was taken after an eight-day siege in 1594. Captain William Cole remodelled and refurbished the castle adding the riverside tower at the south, known as the Watergate, in 1609.
The castle was remodelled as “Castle Barracks” as part of the response to a threat of a French invasion in 1796. Castle Barracks became the home of the 27th Regiment of Foot in 1853. The barracks continued to be used by other regiments and, from November 1939, they became to home of the North Irish Horse, a Territorial Army unit.
The barracks were decommissioned in 1950 and were converted for use as council depot. The castle was subsequently opened to the public as a heritage centre.
The castle consists of two sections, a central tower keep and a curtain wall which was strengthened with small turrets called Bartizans. The design of the castle has strong Scottish influences. This can be particularly seen in the Watergate, which features two corbelled circular tourelles which were built about 1609.
The castle is now home to the Fermanagh County Museum, which focuses on the county's history, culture and natural history. Exhibits include the area's prehistory, natural history, traditional rural life, local crafts and Belleek Pottery, and history of the castle. It also contains information on the Maguire family. The castle also houses the Inniskillings Museum, which is the regimental museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.