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The O’Neill was the head of one of Ireland’s most powerful dynasties. This was a family which could number two high kings among its members – and claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the nine hostages. The hill you can stand on today was the centre of their power base.
At its top there are breath-taking panoramic views from our glass observation tower. Seven of the nine counties of Ulster are clearly visible. See the drumlins of Tyrone, Lough Neagh, the Sperrin mountains, the Mournes. Imagine that, like the O’Neill, you were lord of all you survey. Then, holding that thought, join us next door in Ranfurly House where the whole story of this remarkable place is waiting to be told in our multi-media exhibition.
It’s a story in which Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and the last inaugurated chief of the O’Neills, has a big part to play. A romantic figure, he was a military genius who repeatedly got the better of Queen Elizabeth’s generals in Ulster. After defeat at the battle of Kinsale, however, he said goodbye to the Hill of the O’Neill and that magnificent view.
O’Neill’s departure for Spain, with the Earl of Tyrconnell and 90 followers, became known as the Flight of the Earls. There’s no better place to find out about it than right here and our friendly guides can answer all your questions. You’ll find out about what happened next too – because the old O’Neill base of Dungannon was soon to become a crucial location in the plantation of Ulster with Scottish and English settlers.
Speaking of settling, you might like to take a seat in the excellent coffee shop after your visit to our exhibition. Then perhaps a stroll in our beautiful heritage park, to soak up the atmosphere – and imagine life as the most powerful chieftain in the land.