Queen Elizabeth I of England always feared that King Philip of Spain would use Ireland as a base to launch an attack against England. To prevent this she determined to conquer the whole country - including its remote North.
By 1590 Ulster had been divided into counties and in Fermanagh land which had previously belonged to the Maguire chieftain was 'granted' to him on the understanding that he would pay rent to the English Crown and obey English laws.
Predictably, the Ulster lords deeply resented this kind of interference and fought a war that was to last for nine years, to prevent the English taking control of their territory.
The first to rebel was King Hugh Maguire of Fermanagh who in 1593 fought the English near the present town of Ballyshannon. In the months that followed, both sides realised that whoever held Enniskillen Castle held the key to ultimate control.