1st January 1837
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A snapshot of pre-famine local history, as described in the "Topographical Dictionary of Ireland" by Samuel Lewis, 1837. (Much of the information collected here was submitted by members of the local gentry and clergy of the time).

TYRONE (County of), an inland county of the province of ULSTER, bounded on the east by the county of Armagh and Lough Neagh, on the north by the county of Londonderry, on the west by the counties of Donegal and Fermanagh, and on the south by those of Fermanagh and Monaghan.

  • It extends from 53° 59' to 54° 37. (N. Lat.), and from 6° 28' to 7° 50' (W. Lon.); comprising an area, according to the Ordnance survey, of 754,395 statute acres, of which 555,820 are cultivated land, 171,314 are unimproved mountain and bog, and 27,261 are covered with water.
  • The population in 1821, amounted to 261,865; and in 1831, to 302,943.


In the time of Ptolemy it was inhabited by the Scoti, which tribe extended itself over most of the inland regions; though some writers place Erdini here as well as in the neighbouring maritime county of Donegal. It was afterwards known as the district or kingdom of Cineal Eoghain, frequently called Tir Oen, whence its present name of Tyrone is derived, a portion of its southern border embraces the northern parts of the ancient district of Orgial or Uriel. According to Camden it was divided into Upper and Lower, or North and South Tyrone by the Slieve Callion mountain; but as this range is now wholly included within Londonderry, it is probable that the name of Tyrone was then extended to the greater part of that county also.

This district was from the earliest period of the Irish annals the chief seat of the power of the O'Nials, the princes or kings of the country, who traced their origin from Nial of the nine hostages, and several of whom obtained the sovereignty over the whole island. In the tenth century, Hugh O'Nial, lord or chief of Tyr Oen, was solicited by Malachy, King of Ireland, to assist him against Brian Boroimhe (Brian Boru), then claiming the rank of King of Ireland, and was offered a large portion of Meath as the reward of his acquiescence. O'Nial of Tyrone was one of the chiefs in Roderic O'Conor's army in his unsuccessful attempt to drive the English out of Dublin. In 1177, his death is recorded under the title of King of Tyrone. On the second arrival of King John in Ireland, O'Nial, who had been a formidable opponent to De Courcy during his invasion of Ulster, was prevailed on to give his personal attendance on the king, but not until two hostages had been sent for the security of his person. Hen. III, in a letter to the Irish subordinate princes who had done homage to the English sovereign, style him O'Neil regi de Kinelum sive Tir Oen. The O'Nial family was also one of the five Irish septs which were specially entitled to the enjoyment of English rights and privileges. On the first arrival of Rich. II in Ireland, O'Nial met him in Drogheda, being the first of four native princes who waited on that king. During this period and for many years after, this territory of which Tyrone was the principal part and the usual seat of the ruling prince's residence, was untouched by the English; while, on the contrary, their borders were exposed to this predatory incursions. O'Nial was one of the adherents of Edward Bruce in his attempt to conquer Ireland. In 1333, on the death of the Earl of Ulster, who was assassinated at Carrickfergus by his own servants, O'Nial crossed the river Bann and seized part of the counties of Down and Antrim, which he parcelled out into the districts of the Upper and Lower Claneboy, and these continued subject to the family till the reign of Jas. I. In the reign of Hen. VIII., Hugh Baccagh, or the Lame, invaded Meath but was afterwards induced to submit to that monarch, by whom he was honoured with a collar of gold; and though he had supported the Kildare family during its rebellion, he was not only pardoned, but had the title of Earl of Tyrone conferred on him, with remainder to his illegitimate son Matthew. On his death, however, his legitimate son John, better know by the name of Shane O'Nial, assumed the family title and seized on the inheritance, claiming the sovereignty of the province and arrogating the supremacy over all the subordinate clans; after maintaining a desultory warfare against the English government, he was assassinated by Alexander Oge McConnell, or McDonnell, the leader of the Scots in Ulster, to whom he had recourse for protection when unable to give effectual resistance to the English. The title was claimed after his death by Tirlough Lemagh O'Nial, a nephew of the first Earl of Tyrone, but being advanced in years and of a peaceable disposition, he suffered it to be wrested from him by Hugh, the son of Matthew O'Nial, who, after performing some services to the English in the war against Desmond, was admitted to the title and rank of Earl of Tyrone and to the estate of his ancestors, in virtue of the grant made to his grandfather; a fort on the Blackwater being the only place excepted from his jurisdiction. He afterwards became one of the bitterest and most formidable enemies of the English. In consequence of alleged grievances, he raised forces and suddenly seized on the above-mentioned fort, which was the key of his territory on that side; but being hard pressed by Sir John Norris, he evacuated that position, burnt the town of Dungannon, and the neighbouring villages, together with the greater part of his own fortress there, and endeavoured to preserve his life by concealment. Afterwards, being buoyed up with promises of succours from Spain, he joined a league of all the northern chieftains against the English. In 1597, the whole of Ulster, except the castles along the coast, was in the possession of O'Nial or his adherents; and in an attempt made to relieve the fort of the Blackwater, then hard pressed by his army, Sir Henry Bagnall, Marshal of the English, his inveterate enemy, was utterly routed and slain. After having baffled the celebrated and unfortunate Earl of Essex by a succession of affected submissions and unexpected hostilities, and joined in the expedition to Munster to aid the Spaniards at Kinsale, he was invaded in turn by the royal forces under Lord Mountjoy, who, by seizing on the passes and erecting forts at Charlemont, Mountjoy, and other important positions, reduced him to such extremities that he surrendered at Mellifont, and attended Mountjoy to Dublin, who proposed to send him thence to the Queen. Her death changed his destination for that time; but in the beginning of the ensuing reign, being suspected of an attempt to excite a new insurrection in Ulster, he fled to Spain; and his princely property being consequently confiscated, was parcelled out into six counties, which were modelled, divided and planted with English settlers under special instructions from the king. According to the rules of his settlement, the whole county, which was estimated to contain 1571 balliboes, or 98,187 acres, being at the rate of 1000 acres to 16 balliboes, was divided into 78 portions, which, after deducting a portion for the church and some lands for Trinity College, Dublin, were granted to English and Irish undertakers, that is, settlers, who engaged to build, fortify, and stock the lands with British tenantry. Five borough towns, Dungannon, Clogher, Omagh, Strabane, and Mountjoy, were allowed a certain portion of the surrounding grounds; and another portion was assigned to some of the members of the O'Nial family. The Irish were distributed as tenants among the undertakers, the swordsmen excepted, who were to be removed to the waste parts of Connaught or Munster, where they were to be dispersed and not suffered to settle together in one place. On an inspection of the progress of the plantation, made by Captain Pynnar under the king's direction in 1618, it appeared that the county was divided into the five precincts of Strabane, Omy, Clogher, Mountjoy, and Dungannon: the first of these, Strabane, was allotted to Scotch undertakers, of whom those then in possession of the lands granted to the original patentees were the Earl of Abercorn, Sir Geo. Hamilton, Sir William Stewart, Sir Robert Newcomen, and Sir John Drummond; Omy, allotted to English undertakers, was in the possession of the Earl of Castlehaven and Sir John Davies; Clogher, also allotted to English undertakers, was held by Lord Ridgware, George Ridgware, Sir Gerard Lowther, Lord Burleigh, John Leigh, Sir William Stewart, Sir William Cope and William Parsons; Mountjoy, allotted to Scotch undertakers, was held by Sir Robert Heyburne, Lord Vehiltree, Captain Sanderson, Mrs. Lindsey, Alex. Richardson, Andrew Stewart (son to Lord Vehiltree), and Davide Kenedare; Dungannon, allotted to servitors and natives, was held by Lord Chichester, Lord Ridgware, Sir Toby Caulfield, William Parsons, Sir Francis Ansley, Lord Wingfield, and Tirlagh O'Nial. The only towns, in the erection of which any progress had been made, were those of Strabane and Augher. The county continued to improve during the reign of Jas. I., but it suffered greatly during the war of 1641, at the termination of which, much of the lands fell into the hands of new proprietors; and in the subsequent war of 1688 it was the scene of many military events connected with the siege of Londonderry.


The county is partly in the diocese of Clogher, partly in that of Armagh, but chiefly in that of Derry.

For purposes of civil jurisdiction, it is divided into the baronies of Clogher, Dungannon, Strabane, and Omagh. It contains


It sent ten members to the Irish parliament: two for the county, and two each for the boroughs of Dungannon, Strabane, Augher, and Clogher. Since the Union its representatives in the Imperial parliament have been two for the county and one for the borough of Dungannon: the election for the county is held at Omagh.

  • The county constituency, as registered to the commencement of the year 1837, was, 322 freeholders of £50, 346 of £20, and 1805 of £10; 1 rent charger of £50, and 30 of £20; 50 leaseholders of £20 and 46 of £10; making a total of 2600 electors.
  • Tyrone is included in the north-west circuit, the assizes are held at Omagh, where the county gaol and courthouse are situated, general sessions of the peace are held alternately at Omagh and Strabane, for the Omagh district, which comprises the baronies of the same name; those for the district of Dungannon, which comprises the baronies of Dungannon and Clogher are held at Dungannon and Clogher alternately.
  • The local government is vested in a lieutenant, 13 deputy lieutenants, and 106 other magistrates, together with the usual county officers, including two coroners.
  • There are 29 constabulary police stations, having in the whole a force of an inspector, a paymaster, 2 stipendiary magistrates, 5 officers, 32 constables, 189 men and 5 horses.
  • The district lunatic asylum is in the city of Londonderry, the county infirmary at Omagh, the fever hospital at Strabane; and there are dispensaries at Termonmaguirk, Stewartstown, Augher, Clogher, Castlederg, Caledon, Dungannon, Newtown Stewart, Strabane, Dunumanagh, Drumquin, Fintona, Coagh, Dromore, Trillick, Omagh, Gortin, Ballygawley, and Cookstown: supported by equal Grand Jury presentments and private subscription.
  • The Grand Jury presentments for 1836 amounted to £35,331. 13s. 2d., of which £4031. 11s. 10d, was for roads, bridges, &c., being the county charge; £18,952. 1s. 2.50d., for the same, being the baronial charge, £5450. 17s. 8d., for public buildings, charities, officers' salaries, and incidents, £2574. 6s. 2.50d. for the police; and £4322. 16s. 3d. for the repayment of advances made by the Government.
  • In the military arrangements, the county is in the northern district and contains one barrack for infantry at Omagh.

The surface is greatly diversified by a continued variety of hill and dale, rising into elevated mountain tracts in the north and west, which are known by the general name of the Munterlowny mountains; the most elevated is Sawell, part of which is in the county of Londonderry, 2235 feet high; the next is Mullaghearn, 1778 feet. Bessy Bell and Mary Grey are the fanciful names of two mountains detached from this range and standing prominently remarkable on each side of the river Mourne: the former is said to derive its name from Baal or Bel, whose religious rites called Baase were performed on its summit, hence the expression Baase Bell, which by a natural corruption has been moulded into its present popular appellation; the origin of the name of the other has not been ascertained. To the west of the barony of Dungannon are the mountains of Ballygawley, and still further south-west are those of Morley or Murley, both so high as to preclude the possibility of cultivation, though not so lofty as the northern range. The less elevated districts present many views of rich tranquil scenery. The mountainous parts, particularly near the courses of the numerous rivers and streams, abound with picturesque and romantic prospects; the central part of the county from Omagh to Ballygawley is mostly a dreary expanse of bog and heath. The lakes are few and small; in the demesne of Baronscourt are three, in one of which is an artificial islet, clothed with timber, called McHugh's island, from a chieftain of that name who constructed it and erected a fortress on it. Not far from Baronscourt is Lough Creevy; Lough Frae or Fry is in Lissan parish; there are others, small but interesting for their scenery, near Pomeroy, Donoughmore, Fairlough, and Dunamanagh; the border of one in the demesne of Pomeroy presents an exact miniature resemblance of the outline of Ireland.


The climate is very variable: the prevalence of western winds occasions a constant humidity of the atmosphere, which is a frequent cause of rheumatism and paralysis; but the county is improving greatly in this respect; disease is much more uncommon than it was formerly, and those who are well fed and clothed are as free from sickness here as the similar class in any other part of the country. In the mountain districts to the north the soil is cold and shallow, seldom exceeding six inches in depth; in some parts the subsoil is a tenacious clay, rendering the surface wet and spongy; in others it is a compact bog, equally tenacious of moisture and therefore equally injurious by retaining the surface water; yet even amidst these elevated cold and moory districts in the north and west, some spots of excellent land appear, well-cultivated and highly productive. At Strabane the lands are of a dry and fertile description, and also in a high state of cultivation; near Umery are some meadow lands of the richest quality. The eastern parts are a deep alluvial soil based upon limestone, adequate also to produce excellent crops. The vale of the river Blackwater is exceedingly picturesque and also of the greatest fertility.


Agriculture has made rapid advances of late years, particularly in the eastern districts where crops of every kind are raised of the best quality. The culture of wheat is universal except in the mountainous parts; the farmers are peculiarly skilful in the management of flax and potatoes. The lands in the more fertile districts are much subdivided, the general size of farms varying from 5 to 50 acres, the fields are judiciously laid out; the fences generally of white thorn except in the hilly country where they are mostly of dry stone; sometimes 8 feet broad at the bottom, very carelessly built and much neglected; where stones are scarce, walls built of sods, and often topped with furze, are used. Draining and irrigation form part of the general system in many parts, but the water is not good of irrigation.

The improvements in the agricultural implements and carriages have kept pace with those in tillage. Spade cultivation is not so prevalent here as in the hilly districts of other counties. An implement called a "skroghoge", for cutting scraws or sods, is peculiar to this part of the country: it is in the form of a large spade, with a blade of ten inches both in length and breadth and a handle about four feet and a half long. The sods used in the covering of houses, to lay between the wattles and the thatch, are cut with it about two feet broad and from an inch to two inches thick; the length is determined by that of the slope of the roof: when cut, they are rolled upon a stick like a roll of parchment, and thus carried to the place on which they are to be laid.

The mode formerly general here of allowing land to rest for a few years to recover itself naturally, without the assistance of clover or hay-seeds, prevented the pastures from being of a rich quality; but it is no longer practised except by the poorest class of farmers.

  • A pernicious custom exists in many parts of turning the cattle into the potato grounds before the stalks are withered, thus checking the growth of the bulb and injuring the land. Red and white clover are the most common kind of artificial grasses. The native cattle are mostly reared on the mountains; they are of various colours and shapes, but generally small as heavy stock could not subsist on the scanty vegetation produced there, being principally heath and a coarse kind of sedge grass which springs up immediately after burning the heath, a common practice in many parts. In no other county in Ireland has there been a greater improvement in the breed of cattle than in the county of Tyrone. Some of the best types in England and Scotland have been brought over. The numerous crosses thus produced have occasioned a great variety of stock which, however, appears necessary to suit the various soils. In the valley of the Blackwater and some other similar districts, the Durham breed thrives remarkably well and in many parts a judicious cross with the Kerry cow has been introduced to great advantage. Though there are few extensive dairy farms, butter is made in large quantities, and some cheese; the butter is usually salted and made up in firkins for the Scotch market.
  • The native horse, though ill-shaped, is hardy and well suited to agricultural purposes; a superior description, for the road or field sports, is brought in from other counties; the great mart for the purchase of good horses is the fair of Moy, yet some very fine horses are now reared in the county from British sires.
  • The native sheep are small and ill-shaped, and very inferior both as to fleece and carcass; these are confined to the mountainous districts; in the fertile parts the breed is good; but, strictly speaking, Tyrone is not a sheep-feeding county. The vicinity of Strabane is the only part in which pigs are kept in great numbers; and little improvement has taken place in this kind of stock.

The county exhibits some very striking geological features.The red sandstone formation embraces a considerable portion of its southern and eastern parts while the greatest part of the north and west belongs to the clay slate formation. In both districts there are considerable exceptions. The clay slate is intersected by a vein of micaceous limestone which first appears in the bed of the river Poe; thence passing near Newtown-Stewart and crossing the Munterlowney mountains it terminates near the village of Dunamanagh in the northern extremity of the county. Detached portions of limestone, similar to that of the great central field of Ireland, are to be met with in many parts: white limestone containing numerous nodules of flint, similar to that of county Antrim, is found near Coagh. Near Cookstown is a species dissimilar to all the others, and containing a great variety of organic remains; the vein extends southwards to Stewartstown and is disposed in strata varying from five inches to four feet in thickness.

But the most remarkable geological feature of the county is its coal formation in which, though the field is of small extent as compared with those in the south and west, it surpasses them in the thickness of the seams and quality of the mineral. The district around this coal field contains rocks of every class: from the more ancient of the primary, to the latest of the secondary or alluvial formations. In the Coal Island works the coal rests on fire-clay, in Drumglass on soft porous sandstone, and in Annahoe on blue clunch; but as the country in which the collieries are situated is covered with alluvial soil to the depth of from 20 to 30 feet, it is often difficult to trace the various beds. In its external aspect it is in general similar to that composed of sandstone; the surface exhibiting an assemblage of low hills with steep acclivities and flattened summits rarely exceeding 100 feet in height; when higher, their upper part is generally composed either of new red sandstone or of trap.

  • The Coal Island district is 8 miles long by an average breadth of 2.50 miles, and therefore comprehends an area of about 1140 acres; the Annahoe district is little more than a mile long by half a mile in breadth and may therefore contain about 500 acres. Both districts contain sandstone, sandstone-slate, shale, argillaceous iron-stone, and fire-clay. The composition and external character both of the coal and of its accompanying strata are nearly similar in the two divisions; it burns rapidly, giving out a bright blaze and intense heat, like that of Ayrshire. The shale, called by the miners metal, varies in colour from light blueish white to black, is extremely soft, and decomposes rapidly on exposure to the atmosphere; it sometimes contains impressions of ferns, myrtle, and gigantic reeds. An uncommon species of claystone, extremely compact and difficult to break, occurs interstratified with the shale. Argillaceous ironstone is not abundant; when found, impressions of a large species of fern are frequently detected in the interior. The fire-clay, which lies immediately beneath the bed of coal, is so soft as to form a pulpy mass on the admixture of the slightest moisture, and by allowing the pillars of coal which support the roof to sink into it immediately swells and would close the workings were not great precautions adopted. This clay makes fire bricks equal to those of Stourbridge. Great irregularity prevails in the direction and inclination of the coal strata, the main dip in the southern extremity is northeast; in the northern, south-west; but it is frequently altered by wavings or undulations, which are generally north and south. Besides these undulations, which throw the strata into confusion, the continuity of the beds is often broken by slips or faults. The average angle of the strata with the horizon is about 11° 30', or one foot of fall for five of length, but in many places, it increases to 50°; the difficulty of clearing off the water is much increased by this increase of angle. The quantity of coal capable of being produced from the Coal Island district may be estimated from the fact that, in workable beds of coal amounting, in the aggregate, to 34 feet of coal in a depth of 244 yards, no instance occurs in the great mining districts of England of an equal number of beds so near each other. From the sulphurous and ferruginous appearance of the water in many places, it is evident that large quantities of iron ore are deposited here.
  • Clay of various colours for making bricks may be procured in all parts of the county. Good flooring and ridge tiles, garden pots, and coarse earthenware are made in the neighbourhood of Moy and Killyman. Excellent pottery is manufactured near Coal Island: the clay, with is of a muddy white before it is baked, is made up into small oblong wedges of about a pound each, and sold as a substitute for fullers earth, for which purpose it is sent to all parts and brings back a profitable return.
  • A line of escars proceeds from Killyman, by Dungannon, Ballygawley, and Clogher, to Five-mile-town, where it enters the county of Fermanagh. Those in this county are formed of nodules of basalt, greenstone, porphyry, limestone, chalcedony, jasper, and agate; a branch of them near Fintona is almost exclusively formed of chalcedony, jasper, agates, and quartz. At Killeshill and Newtown Saville the formation of the escars is as regular as if they had been artificially arranged. In the sandstone formation in Killyman, fossil fishes of several species are found, among which the trout and pike can be distinctly recognised: on raising the stone from the quarry, the fish is found imbedded in it, one side of it being raised in high relief, and the concave impress of it in the lower stone exhibits the marks of the gills, eyes and scales with the utmost accuracy.

The linen manufacture has long been the staple of the county, and though it has declined considerably, large quantities are annually manufactured and bleached, principally for the English market. Bleach greens were numerous in every part, but nearly two-thirds of them are unemployed or converted to other purposes. The linens are all carried in a brown state to the towns of Omagh, Dungannon, Cookstown, Ballygawley, Fintona and Strabane, and sold in the markets there. The wool of the county, and all that is brought into it, is made up into cloth, blankets and druggets. The farmers, who are in general linen weavers, consume the greater part of the cloth and blankets; the druggets are worn by the poorer class of women; the cloth is generally yard wide, and of very good quality.

  • The people are all expert at dyeing for their domestic purposes; they dye various colours, but blue is the favourite.
  • Excellent druggets of two parts wool and one linen are much esteemed.
  • An economical practice of the wool spinners is worthy of notice: the root of the common fern is replete during summer with an oily glutinous substance, an excellent substitute for oil or butter; and as wool cannot be manufactured without the aid of some substance of this nature, a pound of wool requiring a quarter of a pound of butter, the common people supply the want of it by cutting the fern-root into small pieces, bruising it in a mortar, and pressing out the juice through a cloth.

Spades, shovels and other farming implements, crucibles and other chemical vessels, and fire bricks are manufactured very extensively at Coal Island.

Tanning is carried on in several places, as is also the manufacture of tobacco, soap and candles.

There is a good ale brewery at Donoughmore; distilleries are worked in various parts.

There are large flour mills at Caledon and Coal Island, plating mills at Leckpatrick, Fintona and New-mills, and scutch mills in most parts.

The county is copiously watered by the numerous branches of the river Foyle which, under the names of the Munterlony, the Poe, the Mourne, the Carnown, the Owenkellow, and the Owenreagh, rise in the mountainous central districts; the Derg joins the Mourne from a lough of its own name; the Dennet empties itself into the Foyle near the northern boundary of the county. The Foyle, which forms part of the western boundary, is navigable to St Johnstown, and thence by an artificial navigation between three and four miles farther up to Strabane. The Ballinderry river forms part of the north-eastern boundary. The Blackwater, which forms part of the southern boundary, and discharges itself into Lough Neagh, is navigable to Moy and Blackwatertown; near the mouth of this river a canal proceeds from the lake to Coal Island, and more than half a century since was partially opened above New Mills, but this latter part of the undertaking was abandoned before the canal was completed.

The beauty of the scenery in several parts is much enhanced by woods and plantations. Large tracts of land near Baron's Court and Rash or Mountjoy forest, have been planted since 1795. Near Augher and Favour Royal there are considerable natural woods and throughout the greater part of the county the soil appears disposed to throw up a spontaneous growth of timber, but in too many instances the young trees are neglected and the cattle suffered to browse upon them. Near Strabane are many large and well-stocked orchards.

The roads are numerous, and in general judiciously laid out and kept in good repair. A new line is now in progress of formation from Omagh by Mountfield, Kildress and Cookstown to Belfast. The roads are all made and repaired by county presentments.


The remains of antiquity are neither numerous nor peculiarly interesting.

  • Raths are scattered over almost every part: near the western border of the mountain named Mary Gray, more than twelve of them may be seen within the compass of a mile; they are generally in pairs; many are now scarcely discernible in consequence of the farmers having drawn off the mould for manure. The most perfect has a parapet six feet high, with stepping stones projecting from the inner sides in an oblique direction to the top like the winding of a staircase: its diameter is 33 yards.
  • A very remarkable Druidical monument, called Clogh togle, or the "lifted stone", stands on a hill a mile north of Newtown-Stewart: it consists of three large stones set upright in a triangular position about 7 feet high each, and covered with a broad horizontal flag 11 feet long, 7 broad, and 15 inches thick. On an opposite hill, at the distance of about 100 yards, was a similar relic of larger dimensions, now lying on the ground. There is a large and very beautiful one, also called Clogh togle, at Tamlaght near Coagh; it consists of six upright stones standing about 5 feet above the ground on which is a large slab whose greatest diameter is 10 feet, its circumference 28, and its greatest thickness 7 feet; and there is another, but less perfect, in the demesne of Loughry; and a very noble one, 12 feet high, a quarter of a mile above Castle Derg.
  • At Kilmeillie, near Dungannon, are two circles of stones, each about 20 yards in diameter, in the form of the figure 8. On the same hill was found a kind of altar of dry stones, with the charcoal and bones fresh among the stones which retained the marks of fire.
  • An urn was found in a little sandy hill near Cookstown, covered with a large limestone slab and surrounded by six others.
  • Near Omagh, three small chests containing as many urns were found in 1712 under two heaps of stones.
  • In the parish of Errigal Keroge is a flat stone set upright about three feet broad and of the same height above ground, having one side covered with carvings of a regular design, consisting of waving and circular lines: it had been the cover of a vault formed of flags set edgeways; in the fault were found two earthen vessels containing ashes.
  • Near Dungannnon were found several brazen trumpets of an uncommon construction with a hole in the side and the smaller end stopped, supposed to have been Danish.

The monastic institutions of which traces yet remain are those of Ardboe, Ardstraw, Cluin Dhubhain, Garvaghkerin, Puble Grange and Donoughmore. Those of Clogher, Airecal, Dachioroc or Errigal Keroge, Corock, Ballinasagart, Dungannon, Omagh, Maghclair, Strabane and Trillick exist only in the records of history.

The remains of ancient castles are numerous, but few of them are of much importance. Benburb is the largest: near it are the ruins of one of the residences of Shane O'Nial; those of Newtown Stewart, Dungannon, Strabane and Ballygawley are, together with the modern mansions of the nobility and gentry throughout the country, noticed under their respective parishes.


The peasantry are very industrious.

  • The houses of the farmers are built in some parts of stone, in others of clay; slating is becoming more prevalent than thatch for roofing. The want of native timber has also been much felt in the construction of the houses of the small farmers and cottiers.
  • The cabins are generally built at the joint cost of landlord and tenant, in which case the latter has an abatement of rent; when the whole is executed at the tenant's cost, a year's rent is usually allowed him.
  • The use of turf for fuel is universal except in the immediate neighbourhood of the collieries.
  • The food consists of potatoes and oatmeal, and in seasons of scarcity, barley meal; milk is used in summer and autumn; in winter, herrings. Sometimes a pig is killed at Christmas, or several labourers join in the purchase of a cow.


The Donagh, which is kept at Brookborough, near Five-mile-town, is a box or casket about the size of a thick quarto volume containing a representation of Christ and the Apostles in high relief on brass coated with silver, under which are some relics; it is used as a test of veracity in taking evidence among the people.

A belief in fairies, called here the Wee People, is universal among the poorer peasantry; as is the custom of driving their cattle round fires lighted on Midsummer-eve.

A kind of hurling here called "common" is a favourite amusement of the young men; formerly they devoted eleven days at Christmas to this exercise, now they give only one; a proof of the increase of habits of industry.


There are chalybeate springs at Dunbonrover in Badony parish; at the foot of Douglas mountain; besides several of less note among the Munterlowny mountains. At Aghaloo is a sulphureous water stronger than that at Swanlinbar; and a very valuable mineral water at Scarvey, two miles from Aughnacloy.

Tyrone gives the inferior titles of Earl and Viscount to the Marquess of Waterford, the head of the Beresford family.

SOURCE: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel Lewis (pub 1837)

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