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Excavation works at O’Neill fort 13 January 2014

Excavation works commence at famous O’Neill clan’s Fort


The first phase of redevelopment works to the ancient Tullaghoge Fort, near Cookstown, commenced today.

This is one of Ireland’s most important historical sites. It was the crowning place of the kings of Ulster, including Hugh O’Neill’s inauguration in the 1590s.

Archaeological testing will take place at the bottom of the hill of the fort to see what archaeological material is there. It is hoped to uncover more information about the early uses of the fort and its surrounding area.

This testing will also help inform the best site for new visitor access to the monument, including a car park and interpretation area. Plans for these will then be submitted to DOE Planning for approval. 

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “This is a really exciting project at one of Northern Ireland’s most important earthwork monuments that will result in a better understanding of the site and increase public awareness of this historic jewel in the Tyrone countryside. We need to create much better facilities for visitors so it is important to get the car park and visitor facilities up and running as soon as we can. Today marks an important step forward in that process. We are also attempting to uncover new information about Tullaghoge Fort and its surrounding landscape to better understand how the fort was used in the past.”

Tony McCance, Head of Arts & Cultural Services, Cookstown District Council said: “Minister Durkan’s recent announcement on the funding package for Tullaghoge Fort is greatly welcomed. Over the last ten year period Council officials have worked closely with the Department of the Environment and NIEA in ensuring that the proposed development of Tullaghoge comes to fruition. 

“The work that is being undertaken by the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork is the first step in that process and also reflects the commitment of both the NIEA and Cookstown District Council of ensuring that any proposed development of this regal site is done so in both a sensitive and appropriate manner.”

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