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Lisnaskea Community Dig to explore the Maguires

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Following on from their successful excavation at the “Backstreets” area of Enniskillen in 2021, the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership (LELP) will be undertaking their second community excavation in September 2022.

Funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the location for this year’s investigation will be Lisnaskea with the excavation conducted as part of the LELP project entitled “People, Place, Power and Pageantry: Exploring Fermanagh in the time of the Maguires”, undertaken in collaboration with the archaeologists from the Centre for Community Archaeology at Queen’s University Belfast.

The Lisnaskea area was the heartland of the Maguire lordship during the Medieval period, with their inauguration centre based at Cornashee outside the modern town, and this was once a landscape of great political power. The focus of the excavation will be a large ringfort – a defended enclosure – at Lisdoo, which is thought may have been the main residence of the Maguire lords before they moved to where the early seventeenth century Castle Balfour was later built. Previous work at Lisdoo back in the 1970’s highlighted that this ringfort was certainly an important place and this fieldwork hopes to amplify our understanding of the monument and its part in Lisnaskea’s Maguire story.

LELP Programme Manager Elmarie Swanepoel stated:

“We are delighted to be carrying out this fabulous community excavation here in Lisnaskea, the Maguires are such an important part of the history of the Lough Erne region, especially the Lisnaskea area.  We are excited to see what the team and volunteers will uncover here on this site and would like to thank Mrs Jordan for allowing us to carry out the dig on her land.   We look forward to welcoming members of the community to take part in the excavation and be part of unearthing the heritage of the site.”

Pupils of St Ronans Primary School have been in attendance this week and have been enjoying learning about the history of the site and being young archaeologists searching for what is buried beneath the ground. Throughout the dig many local schoolchildren will visit the site and have the opportunity to get Dug in.

A huge thank you to the local landowner Mrs Jordan and once again LELP are delighted to receive support from the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities, and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.  The excavation will run over the course of three weeks, from Wednesday 7 September to Tuesday 27 September and – as was the case last year – members of the public who want to try their hand at being archaeologists will be able to take part in the fieldwork by registering with LELP. There will be daily afternoon sessions, from 2.00pm to 4.00pm, from Thursday 8 September through to Friday 23 September. If you would like to take part in this very exciting excavation please contact the team at for further information visit