Lisnaska is the second largest town in County Fermanagh and is full of lively pubs, restaurants and activities. The town get its name from the Gaelic “Lois na sceithe” which means the ring fort of the Shield. It was once the crowing place of the Maguire clan who were the Kings of Fermanagh throughout the middle ages up until the 17th century. The name Fermanagh translates to the Men of Managh and the origins of these can be traced to a small second century settlement outside the town. However, a four thousand year old burial place located just north of the town suggests a far longer inhabitancy of this area. To the south of the town at Aghalurcher are the remains of and early Christian monastery associated with St Ronan who died around 635 AD. Its graveyard contains many compelling tombstones and vaults from this period. Another interesting feature in the area is a medieval road which traverses the town and was once the original route between the cities of Derry and Dublin.
Sir James Balfour set about building a castle in the town during the plantation of Ulster in 1615. The castle was a notorious stronghold and survived numerous rebellions for over 250 years before partly burning to the ground in 1893. Its remains can still be seen today.
The town has many fine stone buildings, most of which were built 150 years ago by the landlord of this area ‘The Earl of Erne’ and in 1919 these properties transferred to the local markets committee. The imposing Corn Market structure in the centre of the main street has the town’s motto ‘Live and let live’ inscribed on its central pediment. There is also a Celtic cross located here. Within the Corn Market, you will notice the prominent barter stone which was once a place for swearing oaths, clinching deals and exchanging vows.
Not far from the Corn Market is the ‘Kissin Crust’. The fine restaurant and bakery recently won one of Northern Ireland’s top awards and is a warm and friendly place for a relaxing meal. Free wi-fi is provided and the coffee is great too.
A few miles downstream and visible from the Lough is the impressive Crom Castle Estate. This was the seat of the Earls of Erne for over 350 years. It is now an exclusive resort and is open for public viewing. Tours can be arrange through contacting reception on 028 67738 004.
The Share Holiday village is also located nearby and contains a host of activities including canoeing, archery, climbing, mountain biking, wind surfing, banana boating and much more. It’s certainly a place where fun for all the family can be enjoyed.