The park was once an estate owned by the Archdale family, who arrived in 1614 during the Plantation of Ulster. The original castle was destroyed during the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and again in 1689, during the Williamite wars.
In the 18th century the manor-house was built by Colonel Mervyn Archdale to replace a Plantation castle of 1615. All that remains of the manor-house is its site, paved and ballustraded; but the grand courtyard remains in good condition behind it which house an information centre and tearooms. The house had three storeys over a basement; a six-bay entrance front with a two bay breakfront centre; and a tripartite doorway with Ionic pilasters, entablature and pediment, the latter breaking forwards on two Ionic columns to form a porch. The ruins of the old castle itself are situated 1km northeast from the main courtyard in the old area of the park.
During World War Two No. 209 squadron of RAF Catalina Flying Boats was stationed at RAF Castle Archdale on the shores of Lough Erne just 15km north from Enniskillen. From Castle Archdale, PBY Catalinas and Short Sunderlands could patrol the North Atlantic for German U-boats. A secret agreement with the government of Ireland allowed aircraft to fly from Lough Erne to the Atlantic along the Donegal Corridor, providing vital air cover from one of the most westerly RAF bases in the United Kingdom. During May 1941, one of these Catalinas spotted the German Battleship, Bismarck, whilst it was steaming for German ports in France. The Bismarck had sunk the largest ship in the British Navy, HMS Hood, 2 days previously, and had eluded a fleet of British battleships, aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines in the interim. At the time it was spotted, its position was not known to the British, and was confidently heading for aircraft cover from the Luftwaffe coming out of France. Thanks to being spotted by the Catalina, a torpedo air strike was launched from the Ark Royal, during which the Bismarck's port rudder was jammed at an angle of 15 degree. The ship was effectively crippled by this (she could only travel in a wide circle) despite being only 100 miles from air and submarine cover. The British ships closed in applied the Coup De Grace. The loss of prestige to Hitler was so great that the German surface navy never put to sea during the war again.
The base was closed after WWII and today is part of Castle Archdale Country Park. The slip way remains in use and the concrete stands for parking the Catalina aircraft are now part of a caravan site. A museum in the park grounds has a section devoted to its role during WWII.
Boats are available for hire for those wishing to explore the nearby islands, some of which are National Nature Reserves. The White Island ferry offers hourly boat trips to White Island which dates back to the 6th century with ruins of a 12th century monastery and 8 unique stone carved figures which.
Boat and Cycle Hire:
Tel: +44 (0) 28 6862 1156
More about Irish Castles you will find HERE.
• visitor center
• fully licensed bar
• restaurant and shop
• 10 caravan and motor-home spaces
• cooking/barbeque facilities on site
• showers on-site
• picnic areas
• nature reserve and marina nearby
• watersports and boat hire
• seasonal pony trekking
• cycle hire
• 'Castle Archdale at War' exhibition
• displays of farm machinery
Tel.: +44 (0) 28 6862 1333
Belle Isle Castle and Estate within 26.3 km
Blessingbourne Manor House and Estate within 28.5 km
Castle Coole and Forest Park within 18.4 km
Devenish Island Monastic Site, Round Tower, High Cross and St. Mary's Augustinian Abbey within 13.1 km
Enniskillen Castle within 16.3 km
Florence Court, Park and Garden within 25.1 km
Marble Arch Caves Geopark, Florencecourt within 26.2 km
Monea Castle Ruins within 10.7 km
Necarne / Irvine Castle Ruins within 5.6 km
Tempo Manor and Estate within 20.7 km
Tully Castle Ruins within 6.8 km
Bridges Youth Hostel and Clinton Centre, Enniskillen within 16.7 km
Tir Navar Hostel and Camping, Derrygonnelly within 10.3 km