The site known as ‘The Moat’ on a hill beside Lisnaskea was the inauguration site of the local Maguire chieftains.
The central feature is a stone capped mound rising steeply from a level circular area, bordered by a low bank which drops to surrounding fields at a lower level. The bank is marked by natural hawthorn, ash, holly, ivy, with spring flowers of primroses. A few bluebells grow at the base of the mound, indicating a site of old woodland.
Local tradition holds that this was the only ‘royal’ site to be wooded from ancient times: what is now level improved agricultural land all around the mound was once the site of fine trees. During the First World War, when demand for timber was high, a Mr Brown (factor at Florence Court) got possession of the trees. The Maguires refused him permission to take the timber out over the ground which surrounded the historic site.
He attempted to do so, and the subsequent legal case went all the way to the House of Lords – he lost.
Nor did he profit from the timber – some which had been loaded onto a train was sidelined at Lisbellaw and rotted in a railway siding, more was left to decay on site.
This is a particularly well documented case of ill fortune from felling ‘protected’ trees. There are many other stories, up to very recent years. In one case it was believed that even removing fallen timber from a rath (near Comber, Co. Down) has caused illness in cattle.