Dungannon is a town historically in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, but since 2015 part of Mid-Ulster "super-council" area. It's industrial, with a population in 2011 of 14,340, and has become a commuter town for Belfast as it stands at the western terminus of M1. Dungannon (which in Irish means "Geanann's fort") is about five miles from the banks of Lough Neagh and ten miles from County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland.
Dungannon is a good example of the rise and fall of the Irish crystal glass trade. Glass was made from ancient times, and Dunmisk Hill 15 miles northwest was a factory as early as the 8th century AD (meaning manufacture from raw materials, not simply molding of existing glass). Medieval Britain and Ireland had many glassworks, almost 90 by 1780 when a tax-break favoured Ireland. Waterford, Cork and Dungannon came to specialise in lead (aka "crystal") glass, a trade that lasted 200 years then was uneconomic and collapsed.
Lead crystal glass has at least 24% by weight of lead oxide. This makes it heavy and resonant - flick the edge of your tumbler and it sings, instead of skittering off the table. Lead glass can be fine-cut and has a high refractive index so it catches the light, with rainbows glinting along its cut edges. It became a popular luxury item, marketed as "crystal" and avoiding any mention of lead. Customers might think that was toxic - and it is! Never use lead crystal as a storage container, as within a few days the lead leaches into the contents. It's alright to use as a wine-glass and even as a decanter providing those are rinsed before and after use, and the contents only sit for hours not days.
Dungannon was near a coalfield and had a range of early modern industries, but local glass-making lapsed until 1971 when the company Tyrone Crystal was founded. In the 1990s it moved to a new factory, wrought many fine pieces and became a tourist attraction - the chandelier in Belfast's magnificent Merchant Hotel Grand Room was made here in 2006. But East European competition brought down all the Irish specialist crystal companies, and Tyrone Glass folded in 2010. Glassworking continues in town in a small way in craft studios, but is no longer an industry here.
The nearest railway station is Portadown 17 miles east, with frequent trains to Lisburn, Belfast and Bangor, and the Enterprise Train between Dublin and Belfast
Ulsterbus 75 runs every couple of hours between Portadown and Dungannon, taking 40 min.
Ulsterbus 273 runs from Belfast Europa bus station via Lurgan to Dungannon, taking just under an hour. It runs hourly M-Sa and every two hours Sunday, and continues to Ballygawley, Omagh, Newtonstewart, Sion Mills, Strabane and Derry.
Goldline Express 278 runs in university term-time, with one bus Su-F from Monaghan via Armagh, Moy, Dungannon, Cookstown, Magherafelt, Garvagh and Coleraine to Ulster University, Portstewart and Portrush.
1 Dungannon bus station is southwest corner of town on Beechvalley Way.
By road follow M1 west then A29 into town.
You need your own wheels to reach The Argory.
Taxi firms in town are Mark Taxi +44 7922 938538 and Home James +44 28 8772 2655. Uber doesn't operate in Dungannon.
National Cycleway 95 runs mostly on-road from Armagh to Dungannon, Cookstown and Strabane, while Route 94 circles Lough Neagh.
- 1 Hill of the O'Neill was the seat of power of that dynasty, lords of all they surveyed until Elizabethan England encroached. The Gaelic chieftains fought back in the Nine Years War, but finally lost at Kinsale in 1602. Some knuckled under to the new regime, some went into exile, some tried to fetch reinforcements from Spain. Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tryone, tried to have it all ways up, but in 1607 he fled to the continent along with the Earl of Tyrconnell and some 90 followers, "The Flight of the Earls". Thus ended the Irish Gaelic aristocracy - their lands were seized, to be settled by loyal British subjects, the beginning of the "Plantations" that made Ulster a Protestant province. There's a visitor centre at Ranfurly House on Market Square, open M-Sa 09:00-17:00 and Sunday 13:00-17:00.
- 2 Ballysaggart Lough is the lake southeast of town, with lots of waterfowl.
- 3 The Argory, 144 Derrycaw Rd, Moy BT71 6NA, ☏ , email@example.com. Apr-Oct W-Su 11:00-17:00. Irish gentry house retaining its plush 1824 interior and wooded riverside estate. Adult £5, child £2.50, NT free.
- 4 Donaghmore High Cross is a richly carved 9th century cross. It's in Donaghmore village 3 miles northwest of town along B43.
- See Cookstown for Tullyhogue Fort, and Ardboe on the shore of Lough Neagh.
- See Portadown for Ardress House and Dan Winter's farmhouse.
- Omniplex Cinema is on Oaks Retail Park, north side of town off A45 Oaks Rd.
- Dungannon Swifts play soccer in the NIFL or Danske Bank Premiership, Northern Ireland's top tier. Their home ground is Stangmore Park, capacity 5000, a mile southeast of the centre along A29 Moy Rd.
- Golf: Dungannon Golf Club is a parkland course a mile north of town off B43. White tees 6151 yards, par 71, visitor round £35-50.
- Oaks Retail Park is the main area, north of the centre. Sainsbury's is open M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 13:00-18:00 and has an ATM and filling station.
- Tyrone Crystal alas went out of business in 2010. Based near Dungannon, they made the ornate chandelier for the dining room of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast.
- 1 Viscount's Restaurant, 10 Northland Row BT71 6AP, ☏ . W Th Su 12:00-20:00, F Sa 16:00-20:00. Restaurant in an old church, it's mostly steak, but there are fish, veggie and oriental options.
- 2 Cano's Pizzeria, Feeny Lane BT70 1TX (off Thomas St), ☏ . Th-Su 17:00-22:00. Good selection of pizza and pasta.
- Brewer's House, 73 Castlecaulfield Rd, Donaghmore BT70 3HB (opposite the High Cross), ☏ . M-F 16:00-20:30, Sa 13:00-22:00, Su 15:00-20:30. Well-regarded gastropub, though vegetarians don't have much choice. The Lower House bar has a good selection of whiskey and gin, and they have 7 self-catering apartments.
- McAleer's Bar, Donaghmore Rd BT71 1EZ, ☏ . Daily 11:00-01:00. More club than pub, with Ivory Club, St Tropez Bar, Crystal Cocktail Bar, Zanzibar and Sports Bar.
- Feeny's Bar, 4 Thomas St BT70 1HN, ☏ . Buzzing friendly bar.
- Others in town centre are Donaghy's on William St, Tonnes Daly's on Irish St and Quinn's on Scotch St. The Fort has closed down.
- Clearsky Brewing Company produce a small range of ales. The brewery is a few miles north along the road to Cookstown; no tours.
- 1 Kensington Lodge, 194 Killyman Rd BT71 6LN (2 miles southeast of town centre), ☏ . Smart comfy B&B, they also have a self-catering 3 bedroom cottage. B&B double £90.
- 2 Grange Lodge, 7 Grange Rd BT71 7EJ (4 miles southeast of town), ☏ . Elegant B&B in 17th C building and extensive grounds, temporarily closed in 2020.
As of Aug 2021, Dungannon has 4G from EE, O2 and Vodafone, but a poor signal from Three. 5G has not reached this area.
- Cookstown is where the O'Neill kings were inaugurated, by waving a shoe over their head. There are several prehistoric sites nearby.
- Omagh's Ulster American Folk Park is an outdoor museum depicting emigrant life.
- Armagh has long been the ecclesiastic capital of Ireland, with two cathedrals and a prehistoric "fort" that was clearly religious not defensive.