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County Tyrone

Contae Thír Eoghain
Coontie Owenslann
Coat of arms of County Tyrone
Coat of arms
The Red Hand County
Consilio et Prudentia  (Latin)
"By Wisdom and Prudence"
Location of County Tyrone
Country United Kingdom
Region Northern Ireland
Province Ulster
Established 1585
County town Omagh
 • Total 1,261 sq mi (3,270 km2)
Area rank 8th
Highest elevation 2,224 ft (678 m)
 • Rank 10th
Time zone UTC±0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
Postcode area
Contae Thír Eoghain is the Irish name; Countie Tyrone, Coontie Tyrone and Coontie Owenslann are Ulster Scots spellings (the latter used only by Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council).

County Tyrone ( from Irish: Tír Eoghain, meaning "land of Eoghan") is one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland, one of the nine counties of Ulster and one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. It is no longer used as an administrative division for local government but retains a strong identity in popular culture.

Adjoined to the south-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,266 km2 (1,261 sq mi) and has a population of about 177,986; its county town is Omagh. The county derives its name and general geographic location from Tír Eoghain, a Gaelic kingdom under the O'Neill dynasty which existed until the 17th century.


The name Tyrone is derived from Irish Tír Eoghain, meaning 'land of Eoghan', the name given to the conquests made by the Cenél nEógain from the provinces of Airgíalla and Ulaid. Historically, it was anglicised as Tirowen or Tyrowen, which are closer to the Irish pronunciation.


Historically Tyrone stretched as far north as Lough Foyle, and comprised part of modern-day County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. The majority of County Londonderry was carved out of Tyrone between 1610–1620 when that land went to the Guilds of London to set up profit making schemes based on natural resources located there. Tyrone was the traditional stronghold of the various O'Neill clans and families, the strongest of the Gaelic Irish families in Ulster, surviving into the seventeenth century. The ancient principality of Tír Eoghain, the inheritance of the O'Neills, included the whole of the present counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, and the four baronies of West Inishowen, East Inishowen, Raphoe North and Raphoe South in County Donegal.

In 1608 during O'Doherty's Rebellion areas of the country were plundered and burnt by the forces of Sir Cahir O'Doherty following his destruction of Derry. However, O'Doherty's men avoided the estates of the recently fled Earl of Tyrone around Dungannon, fearing Tyrone's anger if he returned from his exile.


With an area of 3,155 square kilometres (1,218 sq mi), Tyrone is the largest county in Northern Ireland. The flat peatlands of East Tyrone border the shoreline of the largest lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh, rising gradually across to the more mountainous terrain in the west of the county, the area surrounding the Sperrin Mountains, the highest point being Sawel Mountain at a height of 678 m (2,224 ft). The length of the county, from the mouth of the River Blackwater at Lough Neagh to the western point near Carrickaduff hill is 55 miles (89 km). The breadth, from the southern corner, southeast of Fivemiletown, to the northeastern corner near Meenard Mountain is 37.5 miles (60.4 km); giving an area of 1,260 square miles (in 1900). Annaghone lays claim to be the geographical centre of Northern Ireland.

Tyrone is connected by land to the county of Fermanagh to the southwest; Monaghan to the south; Armagh to the southeast; Londonderry to the north; and Donegal to the west. Across Lough Neagh to the east, it borders County Antrim. It is the eighth largest of Ireland's thirty-two counties by area and tenth largest by population. It is the second largest of Ulster's nine traditional counties by area and fourth largest by population.

Blackrock Bridge - - 467291
Blackrock Bridge near Newtownstewart, carrying the closed GNR mainline that ran through the county.


It is one of four counties in Northern Ireland which currently has a majority of the population from a Catholic community background, according to the 2011 census. In 1900 County Tyrone had a population of 197,719, while in 2011 it was 177,986.


Large towns

(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2001 Census)

Medium towns

(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2001 Census)

Small towns

(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2001 Census)

Intermediate settlements

(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2001 Census)


(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)

Small villages

(population of less than 1,000 at 2001 Census)

  • Altamuskin
  • Altmore
  • Ardstraw
  • Artigarvan
  • Augher
  • Aughnacloy
  • Ballygawley
  • Ballymagorry
  • Benburb
  • Beragh
  • Bready
  • Brockagh
  • Caledon
  • Clady
  • Clogher
  • Clonoe
  • Derryloughan
  • Derrytresk
  • Donaghmore
  • Donemana
  • Drumquin
  • Edenderry
  • Eglish
  • Erganagh
  • Eskra
  • Evish
  • Glenmornan
  • Gortin
  • Greencastle
  • Killyclogher
  • Loughmacrory
  • Kildress
  • Plumbridge
  • Pomeroy
  • Rock
  • Stewartstown
  • Tamnamore
  • Trillick
  • Tullyhogue
  • Victoria Bridge



  • Clogher
  • Dungannon Lower
  • Dungannon Middle
  • Dungannon Upper
  • Omagh East
  • Omagh West
  • Strabane Lower

Future Railway Revival

There is the future possibility of the line being reopened to Dungannon railway station from Portadown.


Major sports in Tyrone include Gaelic games, association football, rugby union and cricket:

  • Gaelic football is more widely played than hurling in Tyrone. The Tyrone GAA football side has had considerable success since 2000, winning four All Ireland titles (in 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2021). They have also won sixteen Ulster titles (1956, 1957, 1973, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016, 2017 and 2021) and two National League titles (in 2002 and 2003).
  • Association football also has a large following in Tyrone. Omagh Town F.C. were members of the Irish Football League until they folded in 2005 due to financial problems. Dungannon Swifts F.C. compete in the NIFL Premiership - the top division. Other teams include NIFL Championship side Dergview F.C.
  • Rugby union is very popular in the county. Dungannon RFC plays in the All-Ireland League. Other teams include Omagh RFC, Clogher Valley RFC, Cookstown RFC and Strabane RFC.
  • International Cricket is also played on the Bready Cricket Club Ground which is owned by Bready Cricket Club. It is Ireland's fourth venue for International Cricket hosting its first International Cricket match when Ireland played against Scotland in a series of T20I matches in June 2015. It was selected as a venue to host matches in the 2015 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament.

Notable people

  • Philomena Begley, Irish country music singer
  • James E. Boyd, seventh Governor of Nebraska
  • Paul Brady, musician
  • Peter Canavan, former All Ireland Tyrone captain
  • William Carleton (1794–1869), writer
  • Darren Clarke, professional golfer
  • Tom Clarke, Irish Republican and leader of the 1916 Easter Rising
  • Jimmy Cricket, comedian
  • Sidney Elisabeth Croskery, doctor
  • Austin Currie, politician, founding member SDLP; Member of Parliament (MP) and later Teachta Dála (TD)
  • Janet Devlin, soul and pop artist and contestant on The X Factor (UK)
  • Ryan Dolan, Ireland representative at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013
  • Brian Dooher, former captain of the Tyrone senior football team
  • Hugo Duncan, singer and broadcaster on BBC Radio Ulster
  • John Dunlap (1747–1812), publisher of the first American daily newspaper the Pennsylvania Packet in 1784, also the printer of the American Declaration of Independence
  • Brian Friel, dramatist and theatre director
  • Sylvia Hermon, Member of Parliament for North Down, born in Galbally, County Tyrone
  • Aaron Hughes, captain of the Northern Ireland football team
  • John Hughes (1797–1864), first Archbishop of Roman Catholic Diocese of New York
  • Martin Hurson, Irish Republican
  • Ryan Kelly, singer with Celtic Thunder
  • Benedict Kiely (1919–2007), writer and broadcaster
  • Gerry McKenna MRIA (1953–), biologist; Vice Chancellor and President, University of Ulster; Senior Vice President, Royal Irish Academy
  • William McMaster (1811–1887), founder of Canadian Bank of Commerce and namesake of McMaster University
  • Mary Mallon (1869–1938), more commonly known as Typhoid Mary
  • W. F. Marshall (1888–1954), the 'Bard of Tyrone', Presbyterian minister, author and poet
  • Thomas Mellon, founder of Mellon Bank, now Bank of New York Mellon
  • Sister Nivedita (1867–1911), Irish social activist
  • Flann O'Brien (1911–1966), writer
  • Dominic Ó Mongain (c.1715–1770s), poet and harpist
  • Arthur O'Neill (c.1737–1816), travelling blind Irish harpist
  • Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone (Aodh Mór Ó Néill) (c.1550–1616), Irish leader during the Nine Years' War
  • Thomas Porter, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Martha M. Simpson (1864-1948), educationalist
  • Victor Sloan MBE, visual artist
  • Ivan Sproule, football player for Bristol City F.C.
  • Dennis Taylor, former world snooker champion
  • John K. Tener, former baseball player and Governor of Pennsylvania. Creator of Congressional Baseball Game.
  • Colin Broderick, Author and Filmographer.
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