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Fermanagh, one of the six counties of Northern Ireland until the local government reorganization of 1973, borders on the Irish Republic. Enniskillen, the chief town, is in the centre of the county. In the north of the county is Lower Lough Erne, to the south Upper Lough Erne. Enniskillen was a protestant settlement in the early 17th cent. and sustained a siege in 1689 which took much of the pressure off the Jacobite attack on Londonderry. There is a Church of Ireland cathedral, dedicated to St Macartan, and dating from 1841. The area depends upon tourism, cattle, and fishing, with a little light industry. It has a mixed religious population. When Northern Ireland was set up in 1921 the Fermanagh County Council declared its allegiance to the Irish Free State and was dissolved. For parliamentary purposes, Fermanagh is joined with south Tyrone: at the 2005 election, the seat was held by Sinn Fein with an enchanced majority.
J. A. Cannon
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