Dungannon - Story of Belfast

DUNGANNON was once a place of great importance, and was celebrated as being the ancient stronghold of the O'Neills. Part of the old castle is still in existence, but it experienced the usual vicissitudes of those turbulent ages, and its story is of siege and assault. It was destroyed and rebuilt over and over again.

The O'Neills clung tenaciously to their ancient patrimony. It was their principal place of residence for hundreds of years, and the history of their family is interwoven with Dungannon from the earliest ages. Conn O'Neill built a small Franciscan Monastery on the south side of the town.

The inauguration stone where the O'Neills were crowned as Kings of Ulster, was on the rath of Tullahogue. The last inauguration was in September, 1595, when Hugh O'Neill was crowned. Lord Mountjoy broke it down in the year 1602, and the broken stones were found many years afterwards in a neighbouring orchard. James II. garrisoned the town in 1689, and his troops occupied the castle and remained in Dungannon during that great struggle. Nothing of very much importance occurred until the memorable Volunteer Convention of later years.

The remains of some old monastic ruins and a beautiful cross are still at Donaghmore beside Dungannon.

The Royal School was founded by Charles I. about 1628. The Primate of Armagh, Dr. Robinson, who did so much for the city of Armagh, extended his generosity to Dungannon, and he erected the present College. He also purchased nine acres and presented the grounds for a building site. The school has a rich endowment of land and money.

The Dungannon of to-day is a busy, prosperous place, and the inhabitants have now a much happier existence than when their forefathers lived under the shadow of a great name and lived too in the pages of history.

Rain wears away the rock,

And time has worn away the tribe

That stood the battle's shock.

James I. gave a charter to Dungannon in which these words occur:

"Two honest, sober and discreet men are to be sent to parliament."