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Touring Tyrone

Sperrin Mountains courtesy NITB County Tyrone’s eastern edge sits on Lough Neagh and in the west stretches to Ireland’s county Donegal. Within this area are the Sperrin Mountains (shared with county Derry), the Murrins, a number of forest parks, wooded valleys, and many prehistoric remains, including over a thousand standing stones. The Murrins is an area of heath, blanket bog, and small lakes. Bronze age man lived in the area, and remains were found by turf cutters.

Sperrin Mountain Range Barnes Gap courtesy Kenny Allen The Sperrin mountain range once supported large forests; now woods are mostly found in the river gorges. Moorland—blanket bog and heather—serves as pasture for sheep while farms are found lower down the mountains. At the Sperrin Heritage Centre exhibitions, computers, and AV presentations teach about the local flora and fauna and the history and culture of the area.

Sperrin Mountain Range Centre road courtesy Kenny Allen Goles Stone row courtesy Kenny Allen Near the Sperrin Heritage Centre is the Goles Stone Row, 11 stone age upright stones arranged in a straight line and orientated in a north-south direction. Details are available at the site. On the B48 west of the heritage centre is the Clogherny Wedge Tomb, a Scheduled Historic Monument, c BC 2000. The well-preserved wedge tomb is surrounded by a stone circle of 11 tall schist stones.

Lough Ash Wedge Tomb, near Lough Ash and the village of Dunamanagh in the north-west edge of the Sperrins, is a wedge-shaped tomb dating from about 4000-4500 years ago. There is one capstone, and a double portal leads to a single burial chamber. Found in the tomb were bones and artefacts.

Ardboe Cross courtesy Kenny Allen Ardboe Abbey ruins courtesy Kenny Allen On Lough Neagh is the Ardboe Cross, a national monument, thought to be Ulster’s first high cross. The 18-foot high cross has 22 panels depicting Old Testament scenes on one side and New Testament on the other. Its location at the entrance to a graveyard next to the ruins of a 17th century church marks the site of 6th century Ardboe Abbey, now gone. The Kinturk Cultural Centre tells the history of Lough Neagh’s fishing and eel industry and has displays of boats and equipment. You can take a boat cruise from here or other places on the lake.

The former linen centre, Cookstown, uses a restored railway station as a museum to show off its local heritage information. It also serves as a tourist information centre. The town’s main street is broad and long. Along it is Holy Trinity church built in 1860 and an 18th century courthouse.

Wellbrook Beetling Mill courtesy Kenny Allen Five miles from Cookstown is the Wellbrook Beetling Mill (National Trust) A tour includes information on the production of linen and the history of Ireland’s linen industry. Original machinery offers a ‘hands-on’ demonstration of beetling, the final stage in its production. There are walks through the glen in which the mill, one of a former group of six, is found.

South-east of the town is Drum Manor Forest Park, an 18th century demesne. Shrubs, woodlands, walks, ponds, an arboretum, and Japanese and butterfly gardens make for a varied outdoor attraction. Tullaghoge Fort, south of the town of Tullaghoge, was the site of the coronation of the O’Neill kings from the 12th to 17th centuries.

Pomeroy Forest courtesy Kenny Allen Near Pomeroy village, Pomeroy Forest offers nature trails while nearby Altmore Fisheries and Open Farm has a thatched cottage museum, two working waterwheels, rare breeds of domestic fowl, farm tours, and fly fishing/bait fishing lakes. Killycarnan House, in the south near Augher is a multi-gabled Victorian villa, dated1859. It’s built of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings.

Coalisland Heritage Centre courtesy Kenny Allen South of Cookstown in the town of Coalisland, the Cornmill Heritage Centre gives information on the industrial history of Coalisland in exhibits and AV presentations. Further south, the county town of Dungannon is the home of the Tyrone Crystal factory where visitors can watch glass being blown and finished as fine crystal. This is an agricultural area where dairy farming and fruit growing are highlighted.

Parkanaur courtesy Kenny Allen Three miles west is Castle Caulfield, the ruins of a mansion built in 1619. On the Moy road is Dungannon Park, 65 acres with a 12-acre lake, woodlands, walks, and an 18th century dam. West of Dungannon is Parkanaur Forest Park with white fallow deer, nature trails, oak and beech trees, a Victorian garden, and a wishing well. To the south on the county border at Caledon is the Dyan Corn Mill And Cottages, a complex of buildings that includes a mill, corn store, and two restored cottages. There are walks offered through the historic village, a conservation area.

Donaghmore High Cross courtesy Kenny Allen Between Dungannon and Cookstown by an old graveyard is the 10th century sandstone Donaghmore High Cross. It once belonged to a nearby monastery. Donaghmore’s Heritage Centre has a collection of old photographs, school books, and documents of local interest.

Beaghmore stone circle courtesy NITB Heading west on the A505 from Cookstown leads to Creggan, an area rich in prehistoric remains. In this area are seven bronze age stone circles and megalithic tombs known as the Beaghmore Stone Circles. They date back 6000 years. The Loughmacrory Wedge Tomb is a burial chamber with a three stone doorway and a flat roof. It is thought to be 4000 years old.

An Creagan Visitor Centre courtesy Kenny Allen Ogham stone courtesy Kenny Allen At Creggan is the An Creagan Visitor Centre with interpretive displays, the archaeological history of the area, bog trails, and walks. The Aghascrebagh Ogham Stone and Standing Stone are nearby. The Ogham stone is believed to have been a burial marker. Also near Creggan on the road from Carrickmore is the Athenree Portal Tomb with one of the largest capstones on an Ulster portal tomb.

Cregganconroe Grave courtesy Irish Antiquities The Cregganconroe Court Grave is a chambered cairn grave of Neolithic age. It has not been excavated.The Creggandevesky Court Grave dates from 4-6000 years ago. Bones, jewellery, and pottery were found in its three burial chambers. North of An Creagan is the Dun Ruadh Burial Cairn and Visitor Centre. The large circular burial cairn is surround by a ditch and bank. There are 13 burials in the 4000-year-old cairn.

Gortin Glen Forest Park courtesy Kenny Allen Near Creggan natural features include the Black Bog ASSI on the north of the Owenreagh river and the Gortin Glen Forest park north of the town. A five-mile drive provides views over the Sperrin Mountains, and an exhibition gives information. Sitka deer are on view. The Oak Lough scenic drive leads around lakes.

Omagh Presbyterian church courtesy Kenny Allen Omagh St Columbas church courtesy Kenny Allen The county town of Omagh is located mid-county near the Strule River. Trinity Presbyterian church is one of the town’s oldest churches, founded in 1752. St Columbas parish church was built in 1777 with a tower and spire added later and further additions in 1820. Stained glass windows add beauty to the interior. The Methodist church was constructed in 1857. On the High Street, the Courthouse is a listed building with the courtrooms keeping their original character. The building is reputed to have a resident friendly ghost.

Ulster American Folk Park courtesy NITB The Ulster American Folk Park is an outdoor museum about emigration to America during the 18th and 19th centuries. Thatched buildings, log houses, workshops, and a replica of a ship add details. Old crafts are demonstrated by costumed helpers. There’s an AV presentation and visitor centre. In the area, the Glenroan Portal Tomb, a scheduled historic monument, dates from BC 3000-2500. It’s a single chambered tomb with a capstone across the entrance.

Knockmanny Passage grave courtesy Kenny Allen In the far south of the county off the A4 south of Omagh is the town of Cloghor. On top of a steep hill, the Knockmany Passage Grave is protected by a modern covering. The prehistoric stones are carved with zigzags, spirals, and circles. The spot provides views across the Clogher Valley. Saint Macartan’s Cathedral, on a hillside, was built in 1740-45 in the cruciform style with pedimented gables to the transepts and chancel. The listed building has a square belfry tower with a balustrade. Two stone crosses of the 9th and 10th centuries are in the graveyard and a 7th century cross is in the outer porch.

On the county border in the west, Strabane is situated astride the River Mourne. St Patrick’s church of Ireland parish church (Badoney) was built in 1784. The Silverbrook Mills is a restored corn, flax, and sawmill complex with an interpretive display. Gray's Printing Press is an 18th century printing press, owned by the National Trust. There is a collection of 19th century hand-printing machines on site and an AV display. A local Strabane museum is in the former stationer’s shop.

South of Strabane is the Wilson Ancestral Home, connected by family to the 28th president of the US. Along the A5 is Sion Mills, a model village established by a flax milling operation. The terrace cottages and black and white half timbered buildings survive.

Newtownstewart old bridge courtesy Kenny Allen Newtownstewart castle ruins courtesy Kenny Allen Continuing south along the A5 leads to ruined Harry Avery's Castle at Newtownstewart. The castle was an O’Neill stronghold from c1500. It is fronted with D-shaped twin towers, which are still in evidence along with some other ruined parts. Newtownstewart Castle was built in the early 17th century. A bronze age double cist grave and capstone were unearthed at the site.

Castle Derg courtesy Kenny Allen West of Newtownstewart near the county border is Castlederg with the ruins of Castle Derg and a 15th century tower house belonging to the O'Neills overlooking the river Derg. St Patrick’s church in Castlederg is a cruciform church built in 1846. It was de-consecrated in 1978 and converted to youth club then restored as a church 1996. The Castlederg Visitor Centre has displays and exhibits on the local area and the Derg valley.

The Magherakeel Monastic Site along the Lower Strabane Road, at Castlederg is one of Ireland's most important ecclesiastical centres. The monastic site dates from the 6th century with only a small section of wall remaining from the St Caireall’s church. St Patrick’s Well Killeter is a well that legend says St Patrick stopped at to drink after leaving Lough Derg. Fivemiletown, sitting on the border with county Fermanagh, offers a Coach and Carriage Museum. Here is a stagecoach, a 1790 carriage, costumes, and horse-drawn farm machinery.

Tyrone Attractions

Aghascrebagh Ogham Stone and Visitor Centre
North of An Creagan
Tel. 028 8076 1112

Altmore Fisheries And Open Farm
32 Altmore Road, Pomeroy
Tel. 028 8775 8977

An Creagan Visitor Centre
Creggan, on the Omagh to Crookstown road, A505
Tel. 028 8076 1112
Web: An Creagan Visitor Centre

Ardboe Cross
B73, 10 miles east of Cookstown on shores Lough Neagh.
Tel. 028 8676 6727

Athenree Portal Tomb
On road to Creggan from Carrickmore
Tel. 028 8076 1112

Barrontop Farm
35 Barron Road, Strabane
Tel. 028 7139 8649

Beaghmore Stone Circles
West of Cookstown on way to Gortin

Black Bog Area Of Special Scientific Interest
Omagh, access from Black Bog road at north of site
Tel. 028 3885 1102 or 028 8224 7831

Bodoney Church
Tel. 028 9054 3034

Castle Caulfield
Three miles west of Dungannon

Castlederg Visitor Centre
26 Lower Strabane Road, Castlederg
Tel. 028 8167 0795

Clogherny Wedge Tomb
Four miles north of Plumbridge on B48
Tel. 028 9054 3034

Coach And Carriage Museum
Fivemiletown to B122, right at first junction
Tel. 028 8952 1221

Cookstown Old Station
48 Molesworth St, Cookstown
Tel. 028 8676 6727 or 028 8676 2205

Cornmill Heritage Centre
Lineside, Coalisland
Tel. 028 8774 8532

Coyles Cottage
Ballinderry, left at the bridge
Tel. 028 8673 7564 or 028 8673 7870

Cregganconroe Court Tomb
A505 from Omagh to Cookstown; signs for visitor centre
Tel. 028 8076 1112

Creggandevesky Court Tomb
Near Lough Mallon about 2 miles south of An Creagan.
Tel. 028 8076 1112

Davagh Forest
6 Forest Road, ten miles north-west of Cookstown at Sperrin mountain foothills
Tel. 028 2955 6003

Donaghmore Cross
Donaghmore Main St, by graveyard
Tel. 028 8776 7039

Donaghmore Heritage Centre
26 Market Square, Donaghmore
Tel. 028 8776 1306

Drum Manor Forest Park
A505, west of Cookstown
Tel. 028 8676 2774

Dun Ruadh Burial Cairn and Visitor Centre
Near the site of Crouk School north of An Creagan, B46
Tel. 028 8076 1112

Dungannon Park
Moy Road, A29 from Dungannon
Tel. 028 8772 7327

Glenroan Portal Tomb
Tel. 028 8224 7831

Gray's Printing Press
49 Main St, Strabane
Tel. 028 7188 0055

Killycarnan House
11 Altadaven Road, off A28 Augher-Aughnacloy Road
Tel. 028 8776 7259

Kinturk Cultural Centre
7 Kinturk Rd, Kinturk by Lough Neagh
Tel. 028 8673 6512

Knockmany Passage Grave
Tel. 028 6632 3110

Loughmacrory Wedge Tomb
A505 Cookstown-Omagh road following sign to An Creagan, ask for directions there.
Tel. 028 8076 1112

Murrins Nature Reserve
A505 Omagh to Cookstown Road
Tel. 028 3885 1102 or 028 8224 7831

Newtownstewart Castle
Main Street, Newtownstewart
Tel. 028 8224 7831

Omagh Courthouse
High Street, Omagh
Tel. 028 8224 2056

Omagh Methodist Church
Church Street, Omagh
Tel. 028 8224 7831

Parkanaur Forest Park
Castlecaulfield, off A4, west of Dungannon
Tel. 028 8775 9311

Pomeroy Forest
Pomeroy village
Tel. 028 6634 3032

Saint Columbas Parish Church
Tel. 028 8224 7831

Saint Patrick’s Well Killeter
Lower Strabane Road, Castlederg
Tel. 028 8167 0795

Silverbrook Mills
Brook Road, Donemana, Strabane
Tel. 028 7139 7097

Sperrin Heritage Centre
274 Glenelly Rd, Plumbridge
Tel. 028 8164 8142

Trinity Presbyterian Church
James St, Omagh, town centre
Tel. 028 8224 7831

Tullaghoge Fort
Off B162, south-east of Cookstown

Tyrone Crystal
Coalisland Rd, A45 from Dungannon toward Coalisland
Tel. 028 8772 5335

Ulster American Folk Park
2 Mellon Road, A5 Omagh to Strabane, on outskirts of Omagh.
Tel. 028 8224 3292
Web: Ulster American Folk Park

Wellbrook Beetling Mill
20 Wellbrook Road, Cookstown, off Cookstown-Omagh road A 505 or Orritor road A53
Tel. 028 8674 8210

Wilson Ancestral Home
28 Spout Road, two miles south-east Strabane, on B536
Tel.028 7138 2204

County Tyrone Tourist Information Centres

Castlederg Visitor Centre
26 Lower Strabane Road
Castlederg, Co Tyrone
BT81 7AZ

Grange Court
21-27 Moyle Road
Omagh, Co Tyrone

Strabane TIC
Abercorn Square
Town Centre
Tel. 028 7188 3735
Open: April-June, Sep, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm; July and Aug, Mon-Fri, 9am-5.30pm, Sat, 9am-4.30pm; Oct, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.

Ulster American Folk Park
2 Mellon Road
Omagh, Co Tyrone
BT78 5QY

Photo of Cregganconroe Court Grave courtesy of Irish Antiquities
Photos of Sperrin Mountains, Ulster American Folk Park and Beaghmore stone circle courtesy Northern Ireland Tourist Board
Other photos by Kenny Allen courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Sperrin Mountain Range Barnes Gap, Sperrin Mountain Range Centre Road, Goles stone, Ardboe Abbey ruins, Ardboe cross, Wellbrook Beetling mill, Pomeroy Forest, Coalisland heritage centre, Parkanaur, Donaghmore High Cross, An Creagan visitor centre, Ogham stone, Cregganconroe Court grave, Gortin Glen Forest Park, Omagh Presbyterian church, Omagh St Columbas church, Knockmany Passage grave, Newtownstewart castle ruins, Newtownstewart old bridge, Castle Derg

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