Castle Balfour,
County Fermanagh

When Captain Nicholas Pynnar visited Lisnaskea in 1619 he found "great numbers of men at work" building a 70-footsquare bawn and a "castle of the same length, of which one half is built two storeys high, and is to be three storeys and a half high". No definite trace of the bawn survives, but the gaunt ruins of the castle, built by the Scottish planter Sir James Balfour on the site of an important Maguire stronghold, still dominate the town. Just inside the entrance lies a timber stair giving access to the great hall on the first floor. On the ground floor are barrel-vaulted service rooms including a kitchen with a big fireplace and circular brick-built oven.

The castle was refortified in 1652 by Ludlow, the famous commander-in-chief of Cromwell's Irish armies. It was dismantled during the troubles of 1689 but reoccupied by the Balfours and later passed to the Townleys. The building ceased to be inhabited after a fire in 1803 and was acquired by the Crichtons of Crom in 1821.

Lisnaskea. NGR: H 362337.