New £3m project to transform Enniskillen Castle museum

Enniskillen Castle

The old Health Centre at Enniskillen Castle that is due to be demolished to make way for a new reception/visitor centre

THE two-museum Enniskillen Castles Museums’ complex based in the west end of Enniskillen will take on an entirely different aspect next year.

Last week, Fermanagh councillors took the first step towards creating a £3m ‘gateway project there which, when completed, will feature a permanent exhibition centre, a heritage centre and a visitor/reception area which will accommodate both museum staff and the council’s tourist information centre.


Members accepted an award of £2,375,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and, also, an offer of £695,000 from the NI Tourist Board.

That Tourist Board offer is conditional on their money being spent by September next year.

Tenders for the scheme are scheduled to be presented to a council committee meeting this month.

The council has lost no time in getting its act together.

In the planning schedule published in last week’s ‘Herald’,  it sought approval for a change of use to the existing exhibition centre, the demolition of the old health centre (just inside the gates), the construction of a new visitor centre and refurbishment.

Robert Gibson, the council’s acting chief executive, explained that the name, ‘gateway’ in the title, ‘Fermanagh Heritage Gateway Project’ was chosen for two reasons.

“It’s the ‘gateway’ in two ways: the visitor to the visitor centre will leave the museum and they will have a gateway to be able to go into the county. Our hope is that people who visit the museum and the visitors to the centre will get all the information about the county and will go out and explore it for themselves.”


Mr Gibson described it as ’a very significant project’, which, he explained, was identified as part of the Destination Fermanagh strategy.

“You have to have a strategy before you actually have a strategy drawn up to draw down funding, so it is nice to see something like this come to fruition.”

He told the Herald that a ‘project management’ team had been appointed and that the scheme was now progressing as far as procurement of contracts, for finishing design and site investigation.

“The old health centre will be demolished and rebuilt as an exhibition area and a new visitor information centre.

“The scheme will mean a bit of disruption while the works are underway as there will be a bit of relocation, on a temporary basis, to facilitate the works.”

However, Mr Gibson was confident it will be well worth it in the end.

“The old two-storey health building along Wellington Road will be the new exhibition and events base and, readers may not know we have a lot of stuff that they have never seen, for example a  door from the Enniskillen Gaol.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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