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Coordinates: 54°30′N 6°46′W / 54.50°N 6.77°W / 54.50; -6.77

Scots: Rathgannon[1]
Irish: Dún Geanainn
Dungannon from SE 258959.jpg
The south east of the town (Killyman Road, looking towards the town centre). St Patrick's Roman Catholic Chapel in the background.
Dungannon is located in Northern Ireland
 Dungannon shown within Northern Ireland
Population 15,889 (2011 Census)
Irish grid reference H7962
    - Belfast  40 miles (64 km) 
District Dungannon
County County Tyrone
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT70
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament Fermanagh and South Tyrone
NI Assembly Fermanagh and South Tyrone
Website [1]
List of places
Northern Ireland

Dungannon (from Irish: Dún Geanainn, meaning "Geanann's stronghold")[2] is a medium-sized town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county (after Omagh and Strabane) and a population of 15,889 people was recorded in the 2011 Census. It is situated in the historic barony of Dungannon Middle and the civil parish of Drumglass.[3] In August 2006, Dungannon won Ulster in Bloom's Best Kept Town Award for the fifth time. It contains the headquarters of the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.


Dungannon's fortunes have been closely tied to that of the O'Neill dynasty which ruled most of Ulster until the seventeenth century and was the most powerful Gaelic family. Dungannon was the clan's main stronghold which made it by default the most important settlement in Gaelic Ireland. The traditional site of inauguration for 'The O'Neill', was Tullyhogue Fort, an Iron Age mound some four miles northeast of Dungannon. The clan O'Hagan were the stewards of this site for the O'Neills.The last castle was located at what is today known as Castle Hill; the location was ideal for a fort as it was one of the highest points in Tyrone, and dominated the surrounding countryside with the ability to see seven counties depending on the weather. Its location ultimately led to the British Army taking over the site for a security installation during The Troubles, only being returned to the local council in August 2007.

This castle was burned in 1602 by Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone as the English forces closed in on the Gaelic lords towards the end of the Nine Years' War. In 1607, ninety-nine Irish chieftains and their followers, including Hugh O'Neill, set sail from Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, bound for the continent. What followed became known as the Plantation of Ulster and the town and its castle were granted to Sir Arthur Chichester, the architect of the Plantation.

The castle was partially excavated in October 2007, by the Channel 4 archaeological show 'Time Team', uncovering part of the moate and walls of the castle.[4]

After the O'Neills[edit]

Dungannon remained the county seat of County Tyrone after the Plantation, but High Court judges who travelled to Dungannon to the courthouse were attacked in the village of Cappagh and the county town was then moved to Omagh[citation needed]. In 1973, the town became the seat of the new district of Dungannon.

In 1782, the town was the location where the independence of the Irish Parliament was declared by members of the Protestant Ascendancy who controlled the parliament at the time.[5]

The Troubles[edit]

  • On 24 August 1968, the Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ), the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), and other groups, held the first civil rights march in Northern Ireland from Coalisland to Dungannon. The rally was officially banned, but took place and passed off without incident. The publicity surrounding the march encouraged other protesting groups to form branches of NICRA.[6]
  • Dungannon was one corner of the infamous murder triangle during the Troubles. For more information see The Troubles in Dungannon, which includes a list of incidents in Dungannon during the Troubles resulting in two or more fatalities.


19th century population[edit]

The population of the town increased slightly overall during the 19th century:[7][8]

Year 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Population 3801 3854 3994 3886 4084 3812
Houses 675 686 720 727 812 830

21st century population[edit]

Dungannon Co Tyrone Northern Ireland UK Census 2011

Dungannon was classified as a Large Town by the Northern Ireland's Research Agency with a population of 15,889 on Census Day 2011

Places of interest[edit]

An interesting feature of the town is the former police barracks at the top right-hand corner of the market square which is quite unlike any other barracks of a similar vintage in Ireland. A popular but apocryphal story relates that the unusual design of this building is due to a mix-up with the plans in Dublin which meant Dungannon got a station designed for the Nepal and they got a standard Irish barracks, complete with a traditional Irish fireplace. Dungannon Park is a seventy acre oasis centred round an idyllic still-water lake, with miles of pathways and views of the surrounding townland.[9][10]


Dungannon sprang up in a townland called Drumcoo, within the parish of Drumglass. Over time, the urban area has spread into the neighbouring townlands. Many of its roads and housing estates are named after them.

The following is a list of these townlands and their likely etymologies:[11][12]

  • Ballynorthlan
  • Ballysaggart
  • Drumcoo (likely from Irish: Druim Cuaiche, meaning "ridge of the cuckoo")
  • Drumharriff (from Druim Thairbh meaning "ridge of the bull")
  • Gortmerron (from Gort Mearain meaning "Merron's field")
  • Killymaddy (from Coill na Madaí meaning "wood of the dogs")
  • Killymeal
  • Lisnaclin (from Lios na Clinge meaning "ringfort of the bell chime")
  • Lisnahull (from Lios na hOlna meaning "ringfort of the wool")
  • Lurgaboy (from Lurga Buí meaning "long yellow hill")
  • Mullaghadun (from Mullach a' Dúin meaning "hilltop of the stronghold")
  • Mullaghannagh (from Mullach Eanach meaning "marshy hilltop")
  • Mullaghconnor (from Mullach Chonchobhair meaning "Conchobhair's hilltop")
  • Mullaghmore (from Mullach Mór meaning "big hilltop")


The economy of Dungannon has evolved from agriculture and linen production dominating the landscape to food and light engineering being the main industrial employers.

Primary Education

Secondary Education


There is an Ulsterbus town bus service that runs daily that serves the town's suburbs.[14] Usually operated by the Optare Solo buses.

The nearest railway station is Portadown on Northern Ireland Railways.

Former railways[edit]

The Irish gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Portadown, Dungannon and Omagh Junction Railway (PD&O) linked the town with Portadown from 1858 and Omagh from 1861,[15] completing the PortadownDerry railway route that came to be informally called "The Derry Road".[16] The Great Northern Railway took over the PD&O in 1876[17] and built a branch line from Dungannon to Cookstown in 1879.[15]

The GNR Board cut back the Cookstown branch to Coalisland in 1956[18] and the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) closed the branch altogether in 1959.[18] In accordance with the Benson Report submitted to the Government of Northern Ireland 1963 the UTA closed the "Derry Road" through Dungannon in 1965.[18][19] The site of Dungannon station is now a public park and the former trackbed through the station is now a greenway.

Notable people[edit]

Thomas J. Clarke, the first signatory of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. He was a key figure in the 1916 Easter Rising and was executed by the British authorities.

Politician Richard Dowse, Irish judge and famous wit, born Dungannon 1824.

Professional golfer Darren Clarke, motorcycle racer Ryan Farquhar, artist Victor Sloan, snooker player Patrick Wallace, TV presenters Adrian Logan, Joanne Salley, and rally driver Kris Meeke[20] all born in Dungannon.

Actor Birdy Sweeney was born in Dungannon, who appeared in numerous television programmes and motion pictures.

Professor Séamus MacMathúna (Celtic scholar) and Professor P G (Gerry) McKenna (Biomedical Scientist, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster and founder of Universities Ireland).

U.S. Senator George T. Oliver and his brother Pittsburgh industrialist Henry W. Oliver, were born in Dungannon in the 1840s.

Thomas Wilson Spence, Wisconsin lawyer and state politician, was born in Dungannon.

Geraldine McQueen fictitious character of comedian Peter Kay.

Margaret Noble, otherwise known as Sister Nivedita was born in Dungannon 1867. She had a huge influence on the people of India and was an important figure in their struggle for independence.

Actor and singer Fra Fee was born in Dungannon 1987.



Dungannon Cricket Club is the oldest sporting club in Dungannon dating back to at least 1865. This was again due to the influence of the Royal School who were playing in 1861 and probably earlier. The club played continuously through to 1914 with a break from 1901 to 1904 when Lord Ranfurly was Governor of New Zealand and there was no ground available until his return. The club became affiliated to the NCU in 1913 and played in the Junior Cup in 1913 and 1914 until the club was discontinued during the Great War. Attempts were made to reestablish the club after the war and this was done in 1929 and survived until 1933 when Lord Ranfurly died to again leave the club without a ground. Cricket was kept alive by the Royal School, Bankers and the RUC until 1939 when the Second World War broke out. The club was reformed in 1948 mainly due to the efforts of Eddie Hodgett and the NCU leagues in 1952 and continues to do so to the present time. The club has never quite reached senior cricket as it has limited resources and relies on the District Council for a ground. The club has played on at least five different locations during its existence. Home games are played at Dungannon Park.[21]


Dungannon was one of the first towns in Ireland to form a rugby club, probably due to the Royal School. Dungannon Rugby FC's most recent success was sharing the Ulster Senior League title with Ballymena. They were also the first Ulster club to win the All Ireland League. At least one player from Dungannon is listed in the first ever Irish side. The rugby club was founded in 1873, was the sixth club in Ireland and a founder member of the IRFU. Despite being a rugby union club since inception its official title is Dungannon Football Club. This was in common with other clubs, such as the now defunct North of Ireland club from Belfast, who were founded prior to the formal division of the different styles of football into Association (soccer) and rugby. The town also has connections to New Zealand rugby. The Earl of Ranfurly presented the Ranfurly Shield to the NZRFU.

Gaelic games[edit]

The town has also achieved much success in Gaelic games, Gaelic football and hurling. Dungannon has produced many footballers, especially for the Tyrone County Team, who won the All-Ireland Gaelic Football Championship in 2003, 2005 and 2008, in particular, Gerard Cavlan and Thomas "Tommy C" Colton. The local Gaelic Football club is Dungannon Thomas Clarkes (Thomáis Uí Chléirigh Dún Geanainn)and the local Hurling club is Eoghan Ruadh Dungannon(Cumann Iomanaiocht Eoghan Ruadh Dún Geanainn),the reigning tyrone senior hurling champions.


Dungannon Swifts F.C. is the town's local team, which plays in the IFA Premiership, and is Tyrone's only representative in the league, following Omagh Town's collapse. The club represented Northern Ireland in European competition in 2005–06 and 2006-06.


PGA Tour golfer Darren Clarke grew up in Dungannon, and was a member of Dungannon Golf Club. The club is one of the oldest 18-hole courses in Northern Ireland, being founded in 1890. Six new greens were recently designed by Patrick Merrigan.

Hare Coursing and Greyhound Racing[edit]

The local Hare Coursing Club has been in existence since the 1920s but the sport was popular in the area long before the formation of the club. With Hare Coursing currently suspended in Northern Ireland the Dungannon club organises meetings in the Republic of Ireland. Greyhound racing was a popular sport in Dungannon from the 1940s until the Oaks Park Greyhound Stadium finally closed in January 2003. Large crowds attended the weekly meetings on Wednesdays and Fridays with visitors travelling from as far away as Coalisland to enjoy the races.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rathgannon is the translation used by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council. Dungannon, as in English, is also used by the North/South Ministerial Council.
  2. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland
  3. ^ "Townlands of County Tyrone". IreAtlas Townland Database. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Belfast Telegraph, 19 October 2007
  5. ^ 'Dungannon' from Britannica 2001 Deluxe Edition CD-ROM, 1999–2000.
  6. ^ "A Chronology of the Conflict – 1968". Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN). Retrieved 11 July 2009. 
  7. ^ "Census of Ireland 1851". Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "Census of Ireland 1891". Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Discover Northern Ireland – Dungannon Park
  10. ^ Dungannon Park – Tourist attraction in Dungannon district
  11. ^ "Northern Ireland Placenames Project". Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "OSI Dungannon". Ordnance Survey Ireland. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  13. ^ http://stpatrickscollege-dungannon.net/
  14. ^ Timetable: Dungannon, Square – Dungannon. Translink
  15. ^ a b Hajducki, S. Maxwell (1974). A Railway Atlas of Ireland. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. map 8. ISBN 0-7153-5167-2. 
  16. ^ FitzGerald, J.D. (1995). The Derry Road. Colourpoint Transport. Gortrush: Colourpoint Press. ISBN 1-898392-09-9. 
  17. ^ Hajducki, op. cit., page xiii
  18. ^ a b c Hajducki, op. cit., map 39
  19. ^ Baker, Michael H.C. (1972). Irish Railways since 1916. London: Ian Allan. pp. 155, 209. ISBN 0711002827. 
  20. ^ Kris Meeke profile
  21. ^ Dungannon Cricket Online

External links[edit]