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Dungannon is the third largest town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and the landscape is dominated by Castle Hill. Throughout the centuries, Castle Hill and the views it offers for miles around, has meant Dungannon has occupied a strategic position within Ulster. In the modern era it was the site of an army base before, in 2006, being handed back to the local council. Recognising its historic and cultural importance, they turned it into a Peoples’ Park, the Hill of the O’Neill, with an accompanying exhibition.
As an area rich in history, Dungannon offers much for those visitors wishing to explore the past, and a wealth of information is conveniently gathered and displayed in the Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre. This multimedia experience, based in the former Belfast Bank – which dates from Victorian times and is situated in the shadow of Castle Hill – offers exhibitions detailing the role Dungannon has played in the history of Ireland and Europe. On top of this, it is an arts and tourism centre, offering visitors information, gifts, souvenirs and the chance to catch a live performance.
Dungannon town centre provides an accessible and enjoyable shopping experience, with a range of shops which mix big brand names and independent retailers all within easy walking distance of each other. Every Thursday, visitors can enjoy the colourful sights of the weekly flower market, and plentiful parking and good public transport links mean that traveling from outlying areas is simple. The historic Linen Mills, sitting just outside Dungannon, have been turned into the Linen Green Designer Village, offering a mix of traditional gift items, handmade linen goods and factory outlet designer labels.
No visit to Dungannon would be complete without taking the chance to climb up the Hill of the O’Neill. Not only does this local landmark offer stunning views for miles around, but it is also fascinating to explore in its’ own right, with guided tours pointing out the presence of a medieval Spring Well and a boundary wall from the 1700’s. In the centre of Dungannon you’ll find Dungannon Park, seventy acres of greenery and floral splendour based around a still water Lake. If relaxation is what you have in mind the many paths and walkways provide a suitably tranquil backdrop, whilst those feeling more energetic could go orienteering, play tennis, football and cricket or try their hand at fly fishing.
The tranquil atmosphere and rural feel of Dungannon Park makes it the ideal place to pitch a tent or park a caravan, with reasonable rates including access to on site shower units. Those looking for something a little more luxurious, on the other hand, are spoilt for choice, with the town centre and surrounding areas offering guest house and hotel accommodation alongside historic self-catering cottages and houses which offer the chance to feel as if you’re truly living in Dungannon for a while.
Whether you want to relax, explore the past, indulge in some retail therapy or sample the rolling green hills of Northern Ireland, Dungannon offers the perfect base from which to enjoy everything on offer.