Inis Saimer’s location and its island status has led to a fascinating and eventful history.
Myth has it, that a Scythian chief named Parthalon settled on the island with his followers around 2700 BC and were the first people to set foot in Ireland.
Historical records indicate that Inis Saimer was used as a protected stronghold by Irish chieftains such as the O’Cannons, O’Mulderrys, and the O’Donnells.
Cistercian monks used it as a place of residence in the 1100’s and 1200’s.
As part of the Plantation of Ulster, the island was taken by the British Crown and given to protestant planters and Trinity College Dublin.
The island also played a role in various historical battles at Erne River crossings.
Inis Saimer was also once owned by
the Speaker of the first Irish House of Parliament,
and then richest man in Ireland, Thomas Conolly.
Ballyshannon Harbour surrounding Inis Saimer
was an internationally trading harbour,
with ships plying to Europe and America.
The present house on Inis Saimer was constructed in the mid 1800’s
by the Erne Fishery Company as part of
the then very lucrative Erne salmon and eel fishery.