The historic Hill of the O’Neill is the site at which the O’Neill clan ruled over Gaelic Ireland for over 300 years in the 13th century. Dungannon Castle would have stood at the top of the hill and, on a good day, it is said that all seven surrounding counties could be seen from at the top of it.
In 1594 and in 1602 the castle was burned down and captured by the English who passed it to Sir Arthur Chichester, the person put in charge of the plantation.
Today, lying below Hill of the O’Neill is Ranfurly House, the former Belfast Bank and impressive art and visitor centre that holds events and multi-media exhibitions detailing the Hill’s story, the Flight of the Earls and history of the Plantation of Ulster. There are also arts and crafts workshops held within the building. The building also has a new glass viewing tower, making it possible to imagine the views taken advantage of by the O’Neill dynasty and by Sir Chichester during the plantation.
The centre is open all year round from Monday to Saturday (09:00 – 17:00). Visit today and discover if it is possible to view all seven counties the kings of Ireland would have looked out over hundreds of years ago.
Image © Mid Ulster Council