TYRONE

From Atlas and Cyclopedia of Ireland (1900)

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Description of County Tyrone | Dungannon | Manor House, Benburb | Benburb Castle | Moy | Tyrone Map

NAME.—The Gaelic form of the name is Tir-Eoghain (pron. Tir-Owen), signifying the land or territory (tir) of Eoghan or Owen. This Owen was son of king Niall of the Nine Hostages, and brother of Conall, who gave name to Tirconnell (see Donegal).

SIZE AND POPULATION.—Length from the mouth of the Blackwater at Lough Neagh to the western point near Carrickaduff hill, 55 miles; breadth, from the southern corner, southeast of Fivemiletown, to the northeastern corner near Meenard Mountain, 37 ½ miles; area, 1,260 square miles; population, 197,719.

SURFACE.—All the northern border is a continued succession of mountains, some of them very lofty. The western angle is occupied by mountains, a continuation of the alpine region of Donegal. The southern angle, south of Clogher, is also mountainous and upland; and there is a small mountain knot southeast of Newtown Stewart, in the barony of Upper Strabane. That portion of the county bordering on Lough Neagh is a flat, meadowy district, interspersed with bogs. All the rest of the county is an endless succession of gentle hills, fruitful valleys, pretty glens, and small plains, with a good deal of dreary moorland in the northern half, but interspersed, especially in the south, with much beauty and softness of landscape. On the whole Tyrone is a hilly county.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS.—Along the northern and northeastern margin are the following mountains, beginning on the west: Slievekirk (1,219), on the boundary with Londonderry, a little east of the Foyle. The Sperrin Mountains begin about 6 miles northeast of Newtown Stewart, and run east-northeast, partly in Tyrone, partly on the boundary, and partly in Londonderry. The first summits of any consequence at the end nearest to Newtown Stewart are Crockrour (1,200), Craignagapple (1,082), and Balix Hill (1,333), all near one another. West of Craignagapple, and immediately over Strabane, rises the detached hill of Knockavoe (972). East of all these is Mullaghclogha (2,088), northwest of which is Tornoge (923).

Then follow Dart (2,040), Sawel (2,240), Meenard (2,061), and Oughtmore (1,878), all on the boundary, which have been mentioned in Londonderry.

South and southeast of these, at the other side of the valley of the Glenelly River, are the Munterlony Mountains, of which the chief summits are Craignamaddy (1,264), Munterlony or Mullaghbolig Mountain (1,456), and Carnanelly (1,851). Mullaghturk (1,353) is on the boundary; and with another valley intervening Beleevnamore (1,257). In the immediate vicinity of Newtown Stewart are the two hills, Bessy Bell (1,367) and Mary Gray (828); and six miles southeast of the town, and about the same distance northeast of Omagh, is the conspicuous hill of Mullagcarn (1,787).

In the southern end Slieve Beagh stands at the junction of the three counties, Tyrone, Monaghan, and Fermanagh; one of its peaks, 1,221 feet high, is in Tyrone; but its highest summit—1,255 feet—is in Fermanagh. A range of upland runs between Ballygawley and Omagh, locally called the Starbog hills; the highest summit is Sleivemore (1,033), 3 miles northwest of Ballygawley. Three miles north of Fivemiletown is Ballyness Mountain (958). West of these Brocker Mountain (1,046) stands on the boundary.

In the western extremity of the county—the barony of West Omagh—Cross Hill (1,024) stands just inside the boundary; south of this is Sturrin (814), near which to the southeast, beside the boundary, is an elevation of 1,059 feet. In the extreme south of the barony is Dooish (1,119), and beside it Tappaghan (1,112) which stands on the boundary, its summit being in Tyrone.

RIVERS.—The Finn, and its continuation the Foyle, run on the northwestern boundary for 16 miles, separating Tyrone from Donegal. The Foyle is formed by the confluence of the Finn and the Mourne at Lifford. Below Strabane the Foyle is joined by the Burn Dennet and Glenmornan streams, belonging to Tyrone.

The Mourne is formed by the confluence of a number of important tributaries, of which the Derg, the Strule, and the Owenkillew, are the principal. The Derg flows from Lough Derg in Donegal, and joins the main stream 2 ½ miles below Newtown Stawart; receiving as tributaries the Mourne Beg, which flows from Lough Mourne in Donegal (and runs for 5 miles of its course on the boundary between Tyrone and Donegal), and the Glendergan River which flows through a fine mountain valley. The Strule and the Owenkillew join at Newtown Stewart. The Strule is formed by the Fairy Water from the west, the Drumragh and its tributary the Owenreagh from the south, and the Camowen with its affluent the Cloghfin from the east. And the Owenkillew, draining the valley south of the Munterlony Mountains, has as tributaries, the Glenelly River, which drains the long valley between the Sperrin and Munterlony Mountains, the Glenlark, the Coneyglen, the Broughderg, and the Owenreagh.

In the southeast the Blackwater rises among the hills a little north of Fivemiletown; flows across the southern extremity of the county for about 15 miles, after which it forms the boundary of Tyrone (with Monaghan and Armagh) to its mouth at the southwestern corner of Lough Neagh, a further distance of about 34 miles (not following the smaller windings). Its Tyrone tributaries are the Torrent, the Oona Water, the Ballygawley Water, and the Fury River.

The Ballinderry River rises a little northwest of Pomeroy, flows eastward by Cookstown, and for nearly all the rest of its course runs on the boundary between Tyrone and Londonderry, till it falls into Lough Neagh. It receives as tributary from the northwest, the Lissan Water, which flows from Lough Fea, runs for some distance on the boundary, and then enters Londonderry.

In the southwest the district round Trillick is drained into Lough Erne by the Bellanamallard River, which belongs in the lower part of its course to Fermanagh; and the Fermanagh streams, the Tempo River the Many Burns, and the Colebrook, draw their headwaters from Tyrone.

LAKES.—Lough Neagh forms part of the eastern boundary from the mouth of the Blackwater to the mouth of the Ballinderry River. There are no other large lakes in Tyrone; but there are many very small ones. On the northeastern border is Lough Fea, about a mile in length. Northwest of Pomeroy are Lough Fingrean and Loughmacrory, near each other. Surrounded by the demesne of Baron's Court, near Newtown Stewart, are three long narrow lakes, Lough Catherine, a mile in length, and two smaller ones, Lough Fanny and Lough Mary; west of which is the small Maghera Lough. East of Strabane, under Craignagapple hill, is Moor Lough, from which issues the Glenmornan River.

TOWNS.—Dungannon (4,084), in the east of the county, an excellent business town, was in old times the chief seat of the O'Neills. The following are on the tributaries of the Foyle; Strabane (4,196) stands on the Mourne, and 3 miles south is Seein, or Sion Mills (1,077), Southeast of this, just below the confluence of the Strule and the Owennkillew, is Newtown Stewart (1,079). Still further southeast, near the middle of the county, is Omagh (4126), the assize town, on a hill, at the base of which is the confluence of the Camowen and Drumragh rivers. South of Omagh, on the Drumragh River, is Fintona (1,468); west of which, near but not on one of the head streams of the Owenreagh, is Dromore (625). West of Newtown Stewart, on the river Derg, is Castlederg (756) with the striking ruin of the castle that gave the town its name.

Near the Ballinderry River, in the east, is Cookstown (3,870), near the boundary of the county. Southwest of Cookstown, on one of the head streams of the Ballinderry River, is Pomeroy (438).

The following are on the Blackwater and its tributaries in the southeast: Moy (579), on the Blackwater itself really forms one town with Charlemont, at the Armagh side of the river. Higher up on the Blackwater, at the extreme southeastern angle of the county, is Caledon (562), a very pretty village, in the midst of a beautiful, well-cultivated country. Northwest of this is Aughnacloy (1,333), within half a mile of the Blackwater. Northwest of Aughnacloy, on the Ballygawley Water, is the neat and prosperous village of Ballygawley (446). Four miles northeast of Dungannon, near the Torrent River, is Coal Island (677); near which on the north, but unconnected with any of the Blackwater tributaries, is the stirring little town of Stewartstown (823). In the extreme south, in the barony of Clogher, beside the boundary, is Fivemiletown (597); near which, on the northeast, is Clogher, now a poor village, but once a place of great ecclesiastical celebrity.

MINERALS.—North of Dungannon, and around the village of Coal Island, is a coal field, which, though small, is the richest in Ireland. Along the shore of Lough Neagh, south from Washing Bay, is found lignite or wood coal.

ANCIENT DIVISIONS AND DESIGNATIONS.—The ancient principality of Tir-Owen, the inheritance of the O'Neills, included the whole of the present counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, and the two baronies of Inishowen and Raphoe in Donegal.

Description of County Tyrone | Dungannon | Manor House, Benburb | Benburb Castle | Moy | Tyrone Map

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