The largest and most admired county in Northern Ireland, County Tyrone has some worthwhile historical sites and grand hiking opportunities into the Sperrin Mountains. For outdoor activities and local events check out Sperrins Tourism Limited (
For history buffs, the Tullaghoge Fort between Stewartstown and Cookstown was the inaugural site of each of the O'Neill kings. The ceremony was solidified with the newly appointed king throwing his shoe over his head, indicating how he would honorably follow in his forefather's footsteps. A throne blessed by Saint Patrick once sat here, but was later destroyed by an envoy of Elizabeth I.
The village of Gortin also makes a fitting starting point for walking in the region, including some of the surrounding Sperrin peaks. Gortin's lakes are in proximity for an afternoon stroll, as is the Gortin Glen Forest Park, just 10km (6 miles) north of Omagh. The An Creagan Visitor Centre (028 8076 1112,
Beaghmore Stone Circles
At the An Creagan Visitor Centre, you can also learn about Tyrone's Beaghmore Stone Circles, which are located off of the A505 outside of Cookstown. It was during the cutting, drying, and collecting of peat in the area in the 1940s that locals discovered these now world-famous ruins. Archaeologists believe the site was constructed around 2000 B.C. and was used to keep track of sun and moon patterns. Open daily. Admission free.
Another good stopping point in Tyrone is Dungannon Town, which was once the throne of the O'Neill bloodline that ruled the area from the eleventh century until the sixteenth. The town is home to one of Ireland's oldest crystal factories known as Tyrone Crystal (028 8772 5335,