Monea Castle,
County Fermanagh

Few castle ruins so readily engage the imagination as the picturesquely sited Monea - undoubtedly the most complete and best-preserved of all the Plantation castles of Ulster. Building commenced in 1616 by the Reverend Malcolm Hamilton. Shortly afterwards it was described by Pynnar as "a strong castle of lime and stone being 54 feet long and 20 feet broad". The bawn, comprising "a wall 9 feet in height and 300 feet in circuit" was added shortly before Hamilton was promoted to become Archbishop of Cashel in 1623. Monea's history is less dramatic than nearby Tully. During the 1641 rebellion it was attacked by Rory Maguire, who "slew and murthered eight Protestants" here, but evidently failed to capture the castle. In 1688 it was occupied by Gustavus Hamilton, the Governor of Enniskillen, who had incurred enormous financial losses in the Williamite wars. His greatly impoverished wife and children continued to live at Monea, but had to sell the estate in 1704. A few decades later the castle was gutted by fire and was subsequently abandoned.

In the last century "a weird woman named Bell McCabe took her residence in a vault beneath one of the towers" until she was evicted by the proprietor, who feared she "might be found dead on the wretched premises" and that some inquiries might ensue.

9.5 km (6 miles) NW of Enniskillen and 1.6 km (1 mile) E of St Molaise's Church. NGR: H 165494.