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Northern Ireland
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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland - Stretching from the Mourne Mountains, up the Glens of Antrim, to the Giants Causeway, and across to the walled city of Derry, lies the northeastern land of Ireland. Northern Ireland has an ancient history filled with myths and legends. This one of the most beautiful parts of the island to visit.

Prior to the 12th Century, the northeast of Ireland was inhabited by the Celts, and the chieftains ruled the land. Later, they converted to Christianity. When the Anglo-Normans invaded, life changed drastically. Eventually English and Scots Protestants, who took over the land, in what was called the Ulster Plantation, supplanted the indigenous Irish.

Partitioned from the Republic of Ireland in 1921, Northern Ireland is still under English rule, in some categories. Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, a First Minster, Deputy First Minster and a cross community Ministerial Council have some governing responsibility. Those categories include agriculture and rural development, culture, arts and leisure, education, employment, enterprise, trade and investment, environment, health, social services and public safety, and regional and social development. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is still responsible to the United Kingdom Cabinet in matters of policing, security policy, prisons, criminal, justice, international relations, taxation, national insurance, regulation of financial services, and the regulation of telecommunications and broadcasting.

There are a variety of sites and attractions, preserved by the National Trust of Northern Ireland which are of splendid beauty or historical interests throughout the North. The roads are in excellent condition and all parts of NI are within one-hour drive of airports and seaports. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy; the rivers are full of fish, there are championship and links golf courses, equestrian centres, walking, hiking, and cruising on the marvelous waterways.

United States and Canadian citizens are still required to have a passport for travel in Northern Ireland and a driver's license for car rental. Medical insurance from your own country is advisable, as you will have to pay for any medical services rendered. There are import restrictions on meat products and food items. Do not bring any with you. The Value Added Tax (VAT) is 17 ½ % and levied on most items. Some stores are part of the Retail Export Scheme that allow you to reclaim your VAT. Your passport is required to complete the Tax-Free Shopping form. The voltage in NI is 250V, 50AC. The climate ranges from a low of 34 degrees Fahrenheit in January to a high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit in August. The sunniest months are May and June and the driest months are March to June. Bring rain gear with you, and make sure to have a warm sweater or jacket, and comfortable shoes. Northern Ireland's currency is still the British pound (sterling) divided into one hundred pence. Currency is in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pound notes. Coins are the value of 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. Northern Ireland does not participate in the Euro at this time.

The heritage towns are not designated in Northern Ireland. However, noted below, are towns and cities of particular interest. Most of the larger towns offer a heritage or interpretive centre.

COUNTY ANTRIM
County Antrim offers eighty miles of the most magnificent coastline on the island of Ireland. The county offers a history of feast and famine, from the earliest settlers up to the present time. There are contrasts throughout the county, from ancient sites and modern conveniences, glens and mountains, religion and politics, and fast food to fine dining.

  • Belfast's history began over one thousand years ago and its ancient Irish name is Beal Feirste. Belfast is the Capital of Northern Ireland, with 600,000 people living in the surrounding area. It is the heartbeat of Northern Ireland, rich in a diversity of cultures and tastes, in art, music, dance, sports, shopping, attractions, and historical sites.

From March to November there are a variety of festivals, beginning with the St. Patrick's Day Festival, that takes place in the towns and neighborhoods, celebrating every facet of life. There is a three-week festival, Belfast Festival at Queen's, with theatre, dance, music, comedy, and visual arts. This festival brings thousands of people into the city.

The sports enthusiast can enjoy the various leisure and fitness centres with swimming pools and gyms. A myriad of water sports and sailing facilities, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, golf courses, equestrian centres, and bowling are available. You can enjoy watching the many teams playing, rugby, Gaelic football, hurling, camogie, or even ice hockey at the Odyssey Arena.

Walking around Belfast, with the ornate City Hall dominating the skyline, you can enjoy the splendid Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian architecture. Some landmark buildings include St. Anne's Cathedral, the Albert Clock, and the Grand Opera House. If you prefer, there are city coach tours that take you to all of the local attractions.

There is a healthy nightlife, with good times in the city's pubs, many offering traditional music. There is also a 'Historical Pub Tour of Belfast', each tour taking in six pubs and lasting approximately two hours. Belfast has a fine selection of restaurants where fresh local ingredients are turned into gourmet delights. The best way to start your day is with an 'Ulster Fry', consisting of bacon, eggs and sausages, soda bread and potato farls.

Belfast has been an industrial centre for over 200 years, renowned with its weaving, ropeworks, and shipbuilding. Belfast can boast of being the home to the inventor of the pneumatic tire, John Boyd Dunlop, and the hydraulic tractor system, which revolutionized world farming, invented by Harry Ferguson.

South Belfast

  • Ormeau Baths Gallery is housed in a refurbished public baths building.
  • Queen's University offers a visitor centre with historical exhibitions.
  • The Golden Mile has restaurants, galleries, entertainment venues, and pubs.
  • Belfast Botanic Gardens were established in 1920 with the rose garden and herbaceous borders. Two greenhouses dominate the gardens. The Palm House is a cast iron conservatory that houses tropical plants, like coffee, sugar, and banana. The Tropical Ravine features a high walkway that provides a great viewpoint.
  • Ulster Museum is noted for its Irish antiquities, Ulster history and displays of art, The Early Ireland Gallery (10,000BC to 1,500 BC), and treasures from the Armada shipwreck, Girona.

West Belfast the Irish Tradition is prevalent in the area. Some places to explore include:

  • Colin Glen Forest Park, a 200-acre park, is located at the foot of the Black Mountain consisting of nature trails, wildlife, ponds, and the river.
  • Culturlann Macadam O'Fiaich on the Falls Road is Belfast's main Irish language arts centre. There are many murals painted on the buildings that depict the history over the past thirty years of the Troubles.
  • Fernhill House: The People's Museum is the history of the Shankill District, British section. Murals are painted on the buildings in this district that depict the history over the past 30 years of the Troubles.

East Belfast

  • Victoria Park contains flocks of swans, geese, and herons.
  • Streamvale Open Dairy Farm furnishes watching milking from a viewing gallery or bottle-feed a lamb. One can find a nature trail, pony rides, and a picnic area.
  • Stormont, Northern Ireland Parliament Building, has landscaped grounds.

North Belfast

  • Cave Hill Country Park provides archaeological and natural features with Neolithic caves.
  • Belfast Zoo exhibits underwater viewing of sea lions, penguins, spectacled bears, rare tamarins, marmosets, gorillas, and a red panda.
  • Belfast Castle sits on the slopes of Cave Hill, overlooking Belfast Lough.


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Not far from Belfast is Carrickfergus. John de Courcy, a Norman, had overthrown the Irish kings of the north and established his rule from Carlingford Lough up the east coast, to Fair Head. In 1180 he built a keep to guard the approach to Belfast Lough at Carrickfergus. This was the first town to speak English, as Gaelic was the spoken language of Ulster.

  • Carrickfergus Castle, a 12th Century Norman fortress, has a deep well and dungeon.
  • US President Andrew Jackson Centre exists because the seventh President of the United States, parents emigrated from Carrickfergus in 1765. A centre has developed telling the story of Ulster life in the 18th Century and Jackson's political career.
  • Carrickfergus Gasworks is one of the last coal-fired gasworks in Ireland. Beginning in 1855 with the light street lamps, gas was produced until 1964. There is an exhibition of machinery and gas equipment.

THE ANTRIM COASTAntrim Coast
The Coast Road begins at Larne as you drive north through the Glens of Antrim to the Giant's Causeway. You can enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. Traveling along the Antrim Coast on eighty miles of coastline, you will experience awesome views, while exploring historic castle ruins, churches, and forts.

The Glens of Antrim, a land of folklore and fairies, are famous in legend and song, with each of the nine Glens having their own distinct character and charm. The people living in the Glens are, for the most part, descendants of the ancient Irish and the Hebridean Scots. This was one of the last places in Northern Ireland where Gaelic was spoken (today there is a revival in the Irish language). Some of the Glens' definitions vary, as noted. The Glens are:

  • Glenarm 'glen of the army'; is the oldest village with narrow streets
  • Glencloy ' glen of the dykes or hedges'
  • Glenariff 'glen of the plough or ploughmen's glen'
  • Glenballyeman 'Edwardstown Glen'
  • Glenaan 'glen of the little fords or glen of the rush lights'
  • Glencorp 'glen of the dead or glen of the slaughter'
  • Glendun 'brown glen'
  • Glenshesk 'glen of the sedges (reeds)
  • Glentaisie, named after Taisie, princess of Rathlin Island

The Glens of Antrim are an absolutely beautiful area to explore. Their isolation from the rest of the area have left them untainted. One of the events in the Glens is the 'Oul Lammas Fair', a two day music and market festival. It used to continue for a week and was a match making and horse trading festival.

THE CAUSEWAY COASTGiants Causeway
After your visit in the Glens, continue driving up the coast to the world famous, Giant's Causeway. It is a natural wonder whose six-sided basalt columns were formed by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. Over 40,000 hexagonal columns, some with four, five, seven, and eight sides, create unique shapes with imaginative titles for those shapes. The tops of the columns form stepping-stones from the cliff foot and retreat beneath the sea. The tallest are about 40 feet high. The solidified lava in the cliffs is 90 feet thick in some places. There is an interpretive exhibition, an audio-visual show on the geology, and flora and fauna of the region.

If you are brave and adventuresome, take a walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Rope Bridge(swinging bridge) as it extends over an 80-foot ravine above the sea between the mainland and a small island. The bridge is accessible via a one-mile walk along a cliff path. It is in position during fishing season only (April - September).

Dunluce Castle was built on the edge of a cliff in the 16th Century on the north Antrim coast by Richard de Burgh, Earl of Ulster. Under siege often, Sorley Boy MacDonnell captured it. As MacDonnell's stronghold, the castle was renovated. However, the kitchen fell into the sea along with the cooks, pots, and pans. From its perch on a rocky headland, the ruin looks out across the Irish Sea. There is a visitor centre and shop.

  • Dunluce Centre is located in Portrush. It offers a family entertainment centre, virtual reality, myths and legends, and an interactive nature trail.
  • Old Bushmills Distillery is the world's oldest legal distillery. It was granted its license by King James I in 1608. Some techniques are still used today. A tour is available with taste testing at the end.
  • Rathlin Island Boathouse Centre tells the history and folklore of the island through artifacts and photographs. There are three lighthouses on the island. Ferries depart from Ballycastle.
  • Benvarden Gardens is located in Ballymoney. It was built in 1630 and is a walled garden with roses, shrubs, and herbaceous borders. There is a stable courtyard with a tea room and collection of farm and garden implements.


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COUNTY ARMAGH
County Armagh is the land of CuChulainn, Deidre of the Sorrows, Connor MacNessa and the Red Branch Knights. It's the land of legends and myths, song and poetry. Armagh was the ancient seat and the earliest capital of Ulster, Navan Fort, or its ancient name Emain Macha.

In pre-Christian times the people of Armagh carved their stones in circles to memorialize their dead. Life was a circle and a person went from life in flesh and blood, to life in the otherworld. When St. Patrick came to Ireland in the fifth century and converted the people, Armagh became the centre of Christianity. Armagh in Irish is Ard Macha, meaning 'the height of the goddess Macha'. All the Christianity in Ireland cannot erase that which went before in pre-Christian times.

Little is written about Armagh before the seventh century, but at that time the Book of Armagh was written by a young scribe Ferdomnach (p. Fer dove nacht) and his assistants. This book contains material of St. Martin of Tours, St. Patrick's Confession, and some earlier documents written about him. The Book of the Angel was completed around 640AD and gives a unique glimpse of Armagh in the middle of the seventh century.

  • St. Patrick's Trian Visitor Complex is a visitor centre in three refurbished 18th and 19th century buildings, with exhibitions and audio-visuals that presents history on early Christian Ireland, St. Patrick, and Jonathan Swift, author and clergyman, and his 'Land of Lilliput'.
  • Navan Centre tells the story of Navan in a three part exhibition:
    • A pre-Christian Ireland and the Celts
    • Archaeological discoveries which explain the ancient settlements
    • The legends of King Conor MacNessa, CuChuliann
  • Armagh Planetarium is a science centre with multi-media shows, a Hall of Astronomy, Eartharium, and Astropark. It contains 'hands-on' computers and astronomical exhibits that give a global view of the earth in the universe.
  • Palace Stables Heritage Centre This property used to be a part of the Anglican archbishop's palace. The restored stables, horse-drawn carriages for hire, demonstrations and costumed interpreters recreate the life of the palace in 1776 and the grandeur of the Georgian period.
  • Ti Chulainn Cultural Activity Centre is located in the heart of the Ring of Gullion - a geological formation of hills and mountains encircling Slieve Gullion. History in this area dates back over 6,000 years. There are burial cairns and stone monuments.

COUNTY DERRY (LONDONDERRY)
Its original name in Irish is Doire, meaning Oak Grove. History dates back prior to the sixth century with remnants of ancient settlements. After the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the 13th Century, Ulster was the only part not yet conquered by the English. It wasn't until the 'Flight of Earls' that Ulster was left unprotected by its chieftains.

The county was granted to the new Protestant, English and Scottish settlers, and renamed Londonderry. The city was then developed according to the town planning principles of Europe, and encircled by an earthen wall. Derry was the last walled city built in Ireland.

When James II, a Catholic, became King of England in 1685, his agents in Ireland began replacing the Protestant army with Catholics. After his second wife bore a son, the English Protestants called upon William of Orange to take the crown of England. William was married to Mary, a Protestant and daughter of James II. William and his army went to England. James fled to France, then to Ireland hoping to muster support.

The 'Siege of Derry' began in 1688 when King James II came to Derry to demand surrender of the planters. The gates of the walls were closed. The fighting continued for three and a half months, with both groups suffering terrible losses, with death, disease, and famine.

Today, the 17th Century 'Walls of Derry' still stand, having become a tourist attraction. From the top of the walls, as you walk the mile around the old city, there are excellent views of Derry City and the River Foyle. Derry is a diverse county offering much in the way of scenery, activities, history, and hospitality.

  • Derry City is situated on the River Foyle. It offers a good nightlife scene, with traditional Irish music in many pubs. There are city tours along with various cultural activities to enjoy.
    • Walls of Derry were completed in 1618 to enclose the old city. They are a one-mile circuit, with seven gates, seven bastions, and two watchtowers.
    • Derry Genealogy Heritage Centre provides information on ancestry.
    • The Craft Village tells the story of the crafts of the city
    • The Guildhall was built in the 19th Century overlooking the River Foyle. Interesting architecture and stained glass windows were completed by local craftspeople.


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COUNTY DOWN 'The KINDGOMS OF DOWN'
County Down is a county with over 200 miles of spectacular coastline and a combination of loughs, forest, parks and the Mountains of Mourne, made famous in song by Percy French.

This county is very rich in history, from the prehistoric stone-age inhabitants who arrived 8,000 years ago, to the Celts and their way of life, to the arrival of St. Patrick in the 5th Century, and the invasions of the Vikings and Normans, who ended up conquering and dividing. There is much evidence of these early civilizations and the religious orders established here. St. Patrick arrived on the shores of Strangford Lough, established his first church here and is buried at Downpatrick. There are numerous dolmens, burial grounds, fairy hills, and fairy thorns, in this county along with castle ruins, moats and baileys, and old Viking names.

County Down is St. Patrick country, where he established his first church at Saul overlooking Strangford Lough. It was nearby, at the healing waters of Struell Wells, that he baptized his converts. History tells us that it was the Frenchman, John de Courcy, who worked vigilantly to restore the remains of St. Patrick, St. Bridget, and St. Columbanus to Down. De Courcy, a devout Christian, believed the Normans owed a debt to the Irish Saints for keeping the Christian faith alive during the Dark Ages. The Saints remains are said to lie in the grave marked with a huge granite boulder at St. Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral at Downpatrick.

With all of its history, and spectacular scenery, County Down has evolved into a very comfortable and modern place to visit, with numerous attractions, historical sites, and a multitude of indoor and outdoor activities. Good nightlife abounds in Down; restaurants using ingredients grown locally prepare simple fare to fine dining. Those ingredients include grass-reared lamb and beef from the green fields and mountain slopes, and seafood from the local bays and loughs. If it's good music you are looking for, try one of the pubs and old coaching inns. There is a wealth of very talented traditional musicians that play in the pubs throughout the county.

  • Mourne Mountains, with 15 summits, is a magical region, with breath taking scenery, rural charm, peace, and an unspoiled landscape offering a multitude of activities to enjoy. One finds various hill walks, rock climbing, sea kayaking, open canoeing, yachting, windsurfing, banana skiing, archery, deep sea fishing, cycling, painting, golfing, heritage and culture tours, and equestrian centres.
  • Ulster Folk & Transport Museum is located in Cultra, Holywood. The museum was established for those with Irish American connections. It includes an outdoor village from 1900, with artifacts throughout Ulster. There are farms stocked with indigenous and rare breeds of hens, sheep, cows, and horses. There is a town replica, with shops, a blacksmith, and church. The four indoor galleries exhibit a comprehensive History of Transport Collection, Irish Railway Collection and Road Transport Galleries, and the Titanic.
  • Grey Abbey is a Cistercian abbey founded in 1193 by Affreca, daughter of the King of Man, on the eastern shores of Strangford Lough.
  • Castle Ward is set on a 700 acre country estate on the shores of Strangford Lough. There are 18th Century facades in different styles, with the west front in Classical, the east front in Gothic. Children can play with toys and dress in period clothing. There is a gift shop, restaurant, and a Victorian laundry. Another part of the estate is the old Castle Ward, from 1610. It includes a sawmill, a cornmill, and the Strangford Lough Wildlife Centre.
  • Castlewellan Forest Park dates from 1740 and boasts an arboretum containing exotic trees and plants from throughout the world. There is a castle built in the baronial style.
  • Down Cathedral was built in the 12th Century on the historic Hill of Down. Adjacent to the cathedral is the Grave of St. Patrick.
  • Down County Museum Downpatrick's old jail, the 18th Century cells are preserved. You can explore the displays telling the story of St. Patrick and the human and natural history of the region.
  • Kilbroney Park is a parkland with open space, riverside walks, tennis courts, information area, barbecue, and café-restaurant. The park is located in Rostrevor.
  • Mount Sewart is an18th Century Londonderry family house reflecting British political and social life, with a 98-acre garden and collection of rare and unusual plants.
  • Newry & Mourne Arts Centre & Museum reflects Newry's history, exhibit on archaeology, industry and social history.
  • North Down Heritage Centre is a registered museum in Bangor with exhibitions of Christian heritage, the Scottish Plantation and abbeys.
  • Somme Heritage Centre, in Newtownards, houses multi-media displays depicting conditions as experienced by the Irish and Ulster Volunteers, who met death in 1916 at Somme in Belgium.

ARDS PENINSULA
Ards Peninsula has seaside resorts and villages from Donaghadee to Portaferry, with beaches at Millisle Ballywalter, Ballyalbert, and Cloughey, which offer safe bathing.

STRANGFORD LOUGH
Strangford Lough, with six National Nature Reserves, is an area of outstanding natural beauty and of special scientific interest. Over 2,000 marine animal species have been found in the Lough. It is a winter habitat for flocks of international wildfowl and wading birds. This is a very important breeding site for the common seals.

  • Newcastle offers year round festivals, and has extensive entertainment with well known artists and show bands.
  • Donard Park is the main access point to paths leading to Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland's highest mountain.


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LISBURN
Lisburn dates back to 1720 and is noted as one of the prettiest towns in Ireland. Today it boasts many shops and entertainment venues.

  • Giant's Ring, This 4000 year old, prehistoric circular enclosure measures nearly 200 yards, with a tomb in the centre. This was a horse racing circuit in the 18th Century.
  • Castle Gardens is the site of Lisburn Castle, which was burnt down during the great fire of 1707, in which most of the town was destroyed.
  • Irish Linen Centre / Lisburn Museum exhibits the history of Ireland's linen and textile industry.
  • Hillsborough Castle is an 18th Century mansion surrounded by gardens, terraces, and lakes. The gardens are home to a Quaker burial ground, Greek temple and Lady Alice's circular temple built in 1880. The castle is the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

COUNTY FERMANAGH
County Fermanagh is bordered by County Tyrone in Northern Ireland and Counties Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal in the Republic of Ireland. Fermanagh has been described as the Lakeland Paradise. The Upper and Lower Lough Erne, over 70 km long, connects with the River Shannon, which is the longest navigable inland waterway in Europe. The county is renowned for its flora and fauna, nature reserves, gardens, and forest parks. While in Fermanagh the visitor has a wealth of historic sites to view, all sorts of water sports, with fishing, sailing, cruising, and swimming. The beauty of the scenery takes you from serene lakes to rugged hills.

There are a variety of museums and exhibition centres within the county.

  • Enniskillen Castle offers an interactive display tracing the town's development and military history and follows the evolution of Belleek Potters and lace making.
  • Devenish Island and White Island contain ruins of 12th Century monastic churches.
  • Castle Coole features tearooms, landscaped parkland, and scenic walks.
  • Crom Estate is one of Northern Ireland's most important nature reserves. Self-catering is available within the parklands.
  • Marble Arch Caves is a natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages, and chambers with a variety of cave formations. This natural attraction is located at the National Nature Reserve.
  • Belleek Pottery is one of the finest china products producers on the island. The methods and techniques can be viewed through the tour.

ENNISKILLEN
Enniskillen is situated between the Upper and Lower Lough Erne and Enniskillen Castle, which was the medieval seat of the McGuires. Today the castle is home to the county museum, which has many artifacts of past history. Wide ranges of accommodations are available, from luxury hotels to bed & breakfast, self-catering, caravan and camping, and hostels.

One very popular activity is cruising along the Shannon Erne Waterway. Whether you are an amateur or an experienced sea captain, there is craft available for you. The waterway is the longest navigable inland waterway, made up of many still-water canals, river sections, and lakes. There are passenger boats that offer sightseeing tours with day and evening cruises in high season.

With the abundance of rivers and lakes there is great coarse and game fishing. In a short drive to the Atlantic Ocean you can enjoy sea fishing. Licenses and permits are required and are available throughout the county. Fishing boats, fishing lessons, and instruction in boat handling are also available. There is combined golf and cruise holidays, and one way cruise travel. Fishing rods and bicycles are available for hire.

Enniskillen is a good town for walking within the town, forest parks, and hiking on the mountain walks. If you prefer cycling there are a number of companies that rent cycles. The equestrian centres, of which there are three, offer a range of activities including pony trekking, hacking, riding lessons, horse and trap, and riding for persons with disabilities. There are a variety of golf courses available for any skill level.

Enniskillen Airport is a short jaunt from the centre of the city and is close to the neighboring northwestern counties.


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COUNTY TYRONE
County Tyrone is an inland, mostly rural, county in Northern Ireland. County Donegal borders it in the west, the Sperrin Mountains in the north, Lough Neagh to the east, and the lakes of County Fermanagh in the south. The historical sites are scattered throughout the county. Omagh is the capital city.

The O'Neills, whose ancestry is chronicled back to 'Nail of the Nine Hostages', ruled County Tyrone. Shane O'Neill, son of Conn, continued to fight the subjugation to England and was eventually murdered by the MacDonnells. Hugh O'Neill, nephew of Shane, was at the helm when the Gaelic Order was defeated at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. Hugh was forced to sign the Treaty of Mellifont, which, in effect, forced English laws, language and dress on the Irish people.

A few years later, Hugh O'Neill gathered other Gaelic chiefs and embarked on 'The Flight of Earls'. It is reputed he died of sadness a few years later in Rome, and is buried in St. Pietro before the high altar.

When these Irish chieftains departed the island, they left the Irish people without protection. This action ensured the plantation and control of Ulster was given to the English and Scottish Protestant settlers. Throughout the history of Ulster, the Irish have rebelled in trying to regain their religious and civic freedom.

As ironic as it might be, many of the heroes for Irish freedom have been people of the Protestant faith. England had trampled their religious and civic freedom as well. In the 17th Century, large emigrations to America, of Ulster, Scotch-Irish (marriage of the Planters to the native Irish) took place, for religious and personal freedom.

In touring County Tyrone, which is mainly rural farmland, you will need a car. Some interesting sites to explore include:

  • Sperrin Mountains is located in the northeastern part of the county, and home to a variety of wildlife. They are covered with heather and bog, and add to their beauty.
  • Gray's Printing Shop is located in Strabane and is a small printing museum. John Dunlap emigrated from this area, and moved to Pennsylvania. He printed the broadsheets for the American Declaration of Independence, and the first daily newspaper, the Pennsylvanian Packet.
  • Beaghmore Stone Circles originate from the Bronze Age. They are located in the southeast of the Sperrins.

OMAGH is the capital city of County Tyrone.

  • Ulster American Folk Park located in Camphill provides the story on the causes and patterns of the people who departed for America. Buildings from the 18th and 19th Century have been moved from their original location, to the park, with some having been rebuilt. This area is the ancestral home of Thomas Mellon, who emigrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He became a judge and industrial giant. There is an Emigration Studies Centre with a library and a database.
  • Ulster History Park depicts history from the Stone Age up to the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th Century. There is a visitor centre, restaurant, shop, and picnic area.


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