Some, believe the late actor Tyrone Power got his name from Tyrone County, it is a common name used for Irish babies, and it means from Owen’s territory. Yet according to history, County Tyrone’s title comes from the Irish words Tir Eoghain, which means the land of Eoghan.
County Tyrone is one of the thirty-two Ireland counties and represents one of the six Northern Ireland counties. It retains its strong identity in the Irish culture even though it is no longer used as the local government’s administrative division. The county covers an area of 1,218 sq mi or 3,133 km2 and is home to a population estimated at 177,986. The county town is Omagh, which derives its title as well a geographical location from the Gaelic kingdom, existing since the 17th century under the O’Neill dynasty.
Geography and Political Subdivisions
Tir Eoghain or Tyrone is the second largest of Ulster’s nine counties and the biggest of the six Northern Ireland counties. The towns in Tyrone county includes Augher, Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Beragh, Castlederg, Coalisland, Cookstown, Creggan, Donaghmore, Dromore, Drumquin, Dungannon, Fintona, Fivemiletown, Gortin, Moy, Newtownstewart, Omagh, Pomeroy, Seskinore, Sion Mills, Sixmilecross and Trillick.
Culture and Architecture
With almost a thousand standing stones, County Tyrone is a testament to the existence of the stone age and the people that passed through the county across many centuries. Most of the landscape is empty of men, yet it remains rich in Celtic and prehistoric remains, this is part of the county town Omagh, Dungannon and the town famous for its tasty sausages, Cookstown. Neolithic sites that are famed include, Beachmore stone circles close to Cookstown, these were discovered more than forty years ago, and then there is the Knockmany chambered cairn based on the top of the wooded hill close to Clogher.
This time period interested many visitors who take a detour through the Ulster History Park close to Gortin Glen Forest Park. From the seventh to the twelve century, high crosses and crosses where placed all over Christian Ireland and even today superb examples remain, it is peculiarly Irish art that reaches up to 18 feet high in the area of Ardboe. Others left behind, which are not as tall can be found at the end of the main street in the village Donaghmore. Tullahhoge Hill was the main crowning venue of the Tyrone O’Neills offering a superb view of the Tyrone old kingdom from above. It is said that hundreds of harps and the amid clang of bucklers were all part of the crowning ceremonies.
The mark the Irish made on America, more, in particular, North America and the Ulster Scot Presbyterian settlers in the 18th century is paid tribute to by Omagh’s Ulster American Folk Park. The Wilson’s still live near Strabane in the ancestral home of the 28th USA president, Woodrow Wilson, and visitors are gladly shown around the house.
With so much history to enjoy it is quite important to plan your visit to Ireland carefully as you would want to visit all the heritage sites. The high tourist season stretches from July to August, which might make it easier on your budget to visit the lovely country in June, May, or even September. These are months in which the weather are the most likely to be great, and the prices at the hotels are more affordable since these are less booked up. If your goal is to enjoy the beauty of the Irish spring flowers, then it is best to book your visit in May or April, while most of the arts festivals take place in October.
The average monthly temperatures for the year is around 5°C in January, 5°C in February and 6°C in March. By April the average temperature increases to 8°C, and in May it reaches 11°C with June offering plenty of days with average temperatures of around 13°C. Warmer weather is also part of July when the average temperature is 15°C, and then the average temperatures start slowly decreasing from August reaching around 14°C. In September tourists can look forward to an average temperature or 13°C, while it starts dropping fast by October when the average day is 10°C and winter really settles in by November as the average day is only 7°C and it reaches 6°C in December. So, if it is a white Christmas you are wishing to experience, Ireland is the place.
The best way to describe the Speriin Mountains is beautiful and desolate, as these stretches over 64 kilometres along the border of Tyrone-Derry the gently curved slopes as well as the 682-meter peak are well worth seeing. The only bustling and hustling taking place on these mountain ranges are the wildlife including badgers, rabbits, sparrow hawks, and hares. While the rivers at the mountain foot is perfect for trout fishing, the peak at MT Sawel, which is by the Sperrin Heritage Centre, a centre offering innovative computerised displays, explains the cultural, historical and environmental issues of the area while it also can be seen as a holographic storyteller. Gold was rediscovered in these mountains, and therefore the centre can organise gold panning experiences in the nearby stream.
Beachmore Stone Circles
Another worthwhile stop for tourists is the Creagan Visitors Centre, which promotes both festival and cultural events and has story-telling and song session during weekend all year round. It is a great place to gather advice from before you set off on a hiking adventure and if you are in search of a less adventurous track, the staff at the centre will provide you with a map passing along the Ulster Way. Particularly pleasant runs are available between the Glengawna and Gortin passes, while chamber graves and standing stones are scattered along the Beachmore trail. It is well worth taking the walk as the Beachmore stone circles are aligned with the stars and moon as well as burial cairns.
During the summer months, there are several walking festivals taking place in the area. These include the late June Cookstown Walking-Festival, Carntogher Festival taking place around the middle of June and the Sperrin Walking weekend always scheduled for the middle of June. If you’re not particularly fond of walking there are always the option of hiring a bicycle or organising a trip on horseback.