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Main Street, Lisnaskea - - 1270375.jpg
Lisnaskea is located in Northern Ireland
Location within Northern Ireland
Population2,960 (2011 Census)
Irish grid referenceH3634
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBT92
Dialling code02867
EU ParliamentNorthern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°15′00″N 7°26′31″W / 54.25°N 7.442°W / 54.25; -7.442Coordinates: 54°15′00″N 7°26′31″W / 54.25°N 7.442°W / 54.25; -7.442

Lisnaskea (from Irish: Lios na Scéithe, meaning "fort of the shield")[1] is the second-biggest settlement in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is situated mainly in the townland of Lisoneill, with some areas in the townland of Castle Balfour Demesne, both in the civil parish of Aghalurcher and the historic barony of Magherastephana,[1] it had a population of 2,960 people in the 2011 Census.

The town is built around the long main street, which bends at almost 90 degrees along its course. At the middle, the old market place contains a high cross (grid ref:H364340)[2] from an early monastery. 19th century buildings include the former market house, corn market and butter market.[3] The Castle Park Leisure Centre is situated just off the main street.[4]


Lisnaskea (or Lissenskeah) was once the seat of the Maguire Clan and its strategic importance led to the town changing hands many times over the years; the 17th century remains of Castle Balfour, are just off the Main Street in Lisnaskea, built around 1618 by James, Lord Balfour.[5]

In the Irish Rebellion of 1641, it is noted that: "At Lissenskeah they hanged, or otherwise killed, above 100 persons, most of them of the Scottish nation"[6] The castle was altered in 1652 and damaged in 1689, but remained inhabited into the 19th century, it was restored and conserved in the 1960s and 1990s.[7]

In 1821 the village came under the control of the Earls of Erne, they established the market in the town whilst bolstering and controlling development around the high street.[8]

There was also evidence of a very much earlier ringfort (with radiocarbon dates of 359-428 AD) in the townland of Castle Balfour Demesne [9] suggesting the area was inhabited from a very early date; the ruins of the old monastery, associated with St Ronan, who died some time before 635 AD, are to the west of the town.[10]

About 1 km NNE in the townland of Cornashee is an 8.7 m high steep-sided mound. It has been suggested that this is a large passage tomb, an inauguration mound of the Maguires or a motte.[11]

The Troubles[edit]

In December 2013, suspected dissident republicans fired shots at Lisnaskea PSNI station. There were no casualties.[12]

The Workhouse[edit]

Lisnaskea Poor Law Union was formally declared on the 27 June 1840 and in August Sir Arthur Brooke was elected Chairman; the workhouse was built (at a total cost of over £6,400) on a six-acre site to the south of Lisnaskea purchased from Lord Erne to accommodate 500 inmates, the first of whom were received on 25 February 1843. During 1846, the number of inmates rose from 263 to 817 by the end of the year.

In 1847, additional accommodation was erected for 130 inmates. In the early 1920s, during the Troubles of that time, the workhouse was used to house soldiers of the Royal Hampshire Regiment; the workhouse later resumed its operation until 1940 when it was used for men of the 8th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. The inmates were transferred to Enniskillen, and in 1948 to Armagh. Eventually part of the workhouse was used for a time as the headquarters of Lisnaskea Fire Brigade. Later the buildings was adapted for a mixture of residential and commercial use.[13][14]

A large iron pot said to have held 300 gallons of gruel, rested at one time in its gardens.[3] In July 2011, part of the upper floor of the building was completely gutted in a fire, believed to be malicious.[15]


Throughout the history of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Fermanagh, Lisnaskea Emmetts have consistently been a major force in Gaelic football winning 20 Fermanagh Senior Football Championship titles, ladies football and hurling, they have won a range of honours in the sport including the All Ireland intermediate championship in 2011 and the All Ireland ladies final in 2011[16] They wear red and green. Lisnaskea Emmetts over the years have had clubmen involved in the Fermanagh GAA and Ulster Railway Cup team.


As with the rest of the British Isles, Lisnaskea experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters.[17]

Climate data for Lisnaskea 63m asl, 1981-2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.8
Average low °C (°F) 1.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 102.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 44.2 65.1 96.3 135.4 165.1 138.3 124.4 119.7 103.5 80.1 49.9 32.3 1,154.1
Source: Met Office[18]


Primary level[edit]

  • St Eugene's Knocks Primary School
  • The Moat Primary School
  • St Ronan's Primary School

Secondary level[edit]

  • St Kevin's Secondary School

St Comghalls Secondary School[edit]

Roman Catholic School (1970-2017), closed due to a merge with another school; the site of the school is now used for the newly merged school St Kevin's. The last Principal of St Comghalls secondary school, Gary Kelly is now the current Principal Of St Kevins College Lisnakea

Lisnaskea High School[edit]

Lisnaskea High School (Castle Balfour Demesne), the town's only non-Catholic high school, was ordered amalgamated with nearby Devenish College in 2013 by then-Northern Ireland Education Minister John O'Dowd (Sinn Féin), despite the objections of those associated with the high school. Since then, 75% of the school's students transferred to Devenish College, with the majority of the remaining students transferring equally between Erne Integrated College and Fivemiletown High School.[19][20]


  • Lisnaskea Library - A new public library was opened in Main Street on 8 April 2015 by Libraries NI at a cost of £1.28m. It is spread over two floors with a special children's library, conference rooms and Wifi access.[21][22]

2001 Census[edit]

Lisnaskea is classified as an intermediate settlement by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 2,250 and 4,500 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 2,739 people living in Lisnaskea. Of these:

  • 23.5% were aged under 16 years and 18.9% were aged 60 and over
  • 46.8% of the population were male and 53.2% were female
  • 74.1% were from a Catholic background and 24.5% were from a Protestant background
  • 7.0% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service


  • Johnny Patterson (1840-1889), circus showman and songwriter lived for a time in the village. He wrote many popular songs including The garden where the praties grow and The stone outside Dan Murphy's door.[3]


Lisnaskea railway station opened on 26 August 1858 and was shut on 1 October 1957;[23] the station was opened by the Dundalk and Enniskillen Railway, later named the Irish North Western Railway. In 1876 it became part off the Great Northern Railway (Ireland).


  1. ^ a b "Lisnaskea". Place Names NI. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ Department of the Environment (NI) (1987). Historic Monuments of Northern Ireland. Belfast: HMSO. pp. 152–153. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Sanderson, Ernest (1976). Discover Northern Ireland. Belfast: Northern Ireland Tourist Board. p. 152. ISBN 0 9500222 7 6.
  4. ^ "Castle Park Leisure Centre". Fermanagh District Council. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  5. ^ Flanagan, Laurence (1992). A Dictionary of Irish Archaeology. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. pp. 50–51. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ Parliamentary Memoirs of Fermanagh and Tyrone, from 1613 to 1885
  7. ^ "Castle Balfour" (PDF). Northern Ireland Environment Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  8. ^ Culture Northern Ireland Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Stout, Matthew (1997). The Irish Ringfort. Dublin: Four Courts Press. pp. 18 and 28. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  10. ^ "Lisnaskea Conservation Area". Planning Portal. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  11. ^ - Search Retrieved May 12, 2018
  12. ^ "Shots fired at Lisnaskea police station". BBC News NI. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh". The Workhouse. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Lisnaskea Workhouse". Ulster Workhouse and Famine Trusr. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  15. ^ "Community saddened at workhouse fire". Fermanagh Herald. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  16. ^ Lisnaskea Emmetts Crowned All-Ireland Intermediate Club Champions 2011,; accessed 9 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Northern Ireland: climate". Met Office. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Climate tables". Met Office. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  19. ^ "One year on, Lisnaskea is still reeling from the closure of its High School, 24 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Minister closes Lisnaskea High School". Impartial Reporter.
  21. ^ "New £1.28m library is a big hit in Lisnaskea". Fermanagh Herald. 18 April 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Lisnaskea Library". Libraries NI. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  23. ^ "Lisnaskea station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 28 October 2007.

External links[edit]