Northern Ireland

Enniskillen Castle museum opens after £3.5m refurbishment

Museum at Enniskillen Castle
Image caption The new museum building houses galleries and exhibition spaces

The museum at Enniskillen Castle is reopening following a £3.5m refurbishment.

The investment created new galleries and exhibition spaces that tell the story of Fermanagh's history and heritage.

Historic buildings on the site have been restored and a derelict health centre was demolished.

The new visitor centre offers views of the castle keep and iconic 17th century water gate.

Sarah McHugh, the museum's manager, said the difference is "just brilliant".

"From a derelict building from the 1960s that was really an eyesore to visitors who entered the castle, to this new visitor centre and this wonderful floor to ceiling window; a window onto over 600 years of history," said Ms McHugh.

Image caption From the museum's new window visitors can see the castle keep and water gate

She added the museum was now able to display objects in its collection that have never been seen by the public before.

The Lakelands gallery in the centre includes some of the earliest archaeological finds in Fermanagh as well as more recent discoveries during the excavation of the Drumclay Crannog.

"We're able to show some very important stone sculptures from our collections and link them to the landscape which is what these new displays enable us to do, to both highlight what we have but to look outwards, to discover more" said Ms McHugh.

Wonderful items

The museum has also received loans of objects discovered in Fermanagh from the collections of the National Museum in Belfast, including the gold torc discovered at Corrard near Upper Lough Erne.

Image caption The Bronze Age gold torc was unearthed near Lough Erne

The displays would be constantly developing and changing so visitors could return and find something new to discover, said Ms McHugh.

"There are many firsts for us as part of this new development," she added.

"We've been given some wonderful items by people over the years, whether from friends of the museum or people locally who've wanted to donate their own memories, photographs and collections.

"Now future generations can enjoy them."

Image caption There have been many donations to the museum

The Enniskillen Castle Heritage Gateway project also involves the relocation of the tourist information centre.

The project received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme, the Department for Communities, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and the Friends of Fermanagh County Museum.

More on this story