Saturday, May 1, 2021

Archaeology 360: Tully Castle, Co Fermanagh

Belatedly, continuing the tale of the Chapple Family excursion through mid Ulster, we visited the picturesque ruins of Tully Castle on the shores of Lough Erne, in Fermanagh.

Tully is a fortified house and bawn built in 1619 for Sir John Hume, a Scottish planter, having dispossessed the native Maguires of their land. Twenty-two years later, during the 1641 Irish Rebellion, Rory Maguire decided to take back those lands. He arrived with his forces at Tully on Christmas Eve to discover that most of the males of the household were absent and the castle was quickly surrendered to him. While the members of the Hume family were escorted away, Maguire ordered the murder of some 75 others and had the castle burnt. Understandably, it was never inhabited again. By the 1970s it looked close to collapse but has been sensitively conserved and is well worth a visit, though the knowledge the so many met a violent end here does seem to add a haunting feeling to the place.

Most of the photos you'll see of the place show a gorgeous late-medieval-inspired formal garden taking up most of the bawn area. However, in 2016 the Department of Communities decided that this gem of Fermanagh was not in keeping with how the place would have look in its hey day and removed the lot, replacing it with a plain lawn [here]. In their drive for authenticity, I presume they plan to conduct tens of brutal murders here every Christmas Day ... it's sure to draw in the crowds!

Until the guardians of this place start their brutal slaughter of the local populace, please feel free to take a few moments and take a gentle tour through this windy, evocative site.

You can view it on an ordinary browser or on the dedicated YouTube app, but for best results we recommend the immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.