Lost Buildings: Necarne Castle, Co Fermanagh

Necarne Castle, Fermanagh - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Necarne Castle, Fermanagh – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

The castle formerly known as Castle Irvine was built in the first half of the 17th century. The family is of Scottish origin, being directly descended from the Irvings of Bonshawe, Dumfriesshire, whose ancestor was Robert de Herewine, 1226.

Necarne Castle, Fermanagh - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Necarne Castle, Fermanagh – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

Christopher Irvine of the Temple, London, was the first to settle in Ireland and being granted lands in Co. Fermanagh, he built the castle. However rebels quickly set fire to it. Yet, the castle remained with the The Irvines until 1922.

Necarne Castle, Fermanagh - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Necarne Castle, Fermanagh – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

An impressive range of yards was built on lower ground to the house rear, while a fine walled garden (2.8 acres) was built on the east side around 1836. The south front of the house faces onto magnificent sweeping parkland studded with fine mature specimen trees, with views of clumps and shelter belts in the far distance.

Necarne Castle, Fermanagh - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Necarne Castle, Fermanagh – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

There has always been much speculation as to how Necarne got its name. Legend has it that Hugh Roe O’Donnell, an Irish chieftain, was on one of his marches to discipline the O’Briens who were collaborating with the English.

He noticed an army fortification on his left flank and ordered his men to investigate it. They returned to say “Ni carn e” or “there is no building there”. Hence, the name Necarne.

Folklore has it that the inmates of the castle or building learned in time of the proposed march and covered their building with sods from a nearby field. This story has been passed down in Irvinestown through the years. We can still see this field known as the “Sod Park.” It lies just to the left of the castle.

In 1925 Captain Richard Outram Hermon from Sussex bought the Castle, turning it into a haven for shooting parties. During the Second World War, Necarne was used as a hospital by the Royal Air Force and the American Navy. In the castle grounds you will find an easily-missed single stone mortuary slab.

After the War, the Castle was never inhabited again. Captain Hermon died in 1976. Fermanagh District Council bought the Estate in 1981 and in 1988 The Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland leased the estate on a long-term basis from them.

The equestrian centre is now closed and left abandoned.Every building lies silent as of 2015. It is for sale – see brochure here.