Enniskillen and Derry - The personal journey of a fellow enthusiast - Part 1

Friend of the Blog - Peter shares with us all his exciting visit to many of the locations featured in the forthcoming LoA Campaign book for Ireland...

Enniskillen castle
When sorrows come… … they come not single spies. But in battalions…’ 

Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark could as easily have been describing Ireland’s long history of troubles. Ireland is green, so green in the rain and a cold wind blowing… but it is a beautiful place, full of history and legends and mystery and in a short weekend a lot can be seen… in this first part I want to share with readers a look at the raising of the regiments and the defence of Enniskillen.

Montcashel, Galmoy, Jasmes, Berwick, Hamilton and Sarsfield - 15mm from Peter A.
Following the route from Dublin to Ulster taken by King James’s forces early in 1689 we head northwest and eventually come to a countryside of drumlins – glacial ridges now green-over and forested and perfect country for skirmishes and holding lines. This is the land south of Enniskillen and Newtownbutler where the running battles between the Enniskillen garrison and the Jacobite troops took place. 

Overkirk, Ginkel, William and Portland - 15mm from Peter A.

There is little to be seen today in this rolling landscape – no boards or brown signs marking the battle sites which remain in dispute – the height of Kilgarret hill and the surrounding wetlands close to Upper Lough Erne make this an intriguing scene… the road signs have changed now, the potholes briefly disappeared, we have gone from distances displayed in kilometres to towns described in miles – we have crossed the border into the North but with no fanfare, no notice – the wriggling frontier line on the map is invisible in every sense on the ground.

Bentinck, Wurttemberg and Ginkel - 15mm from Peter A.
Enniskillen is a small town, dominated by church spires and columns to Anglo-Irish landowners from the 18th and 19th centuries. A small town in the North, yet one which produced two famous regiments Horse and Foot, the Royal Inniskilling Dragoons and the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

It is remarkable that such a small community, essentially rural in the beautiful landscape of Fermanagh could produce such a constant stream of excellent fighting troops over the years.

The Duke of Berwick
Enniskillen Castle is the famous landmark with the Watergate towers and the keep – seat of the Maguire clan – Chieftains of the lands of Fermanagh for centuries… the site now houses a museum to the two regiments from the town and the county museum of Fermanagh. Both full of fascinating exhibits