There is no better place to understand the history of Ulster – and, latterly, Northern Ireland – than Castle Hill, Dungannon, for it is the events that occur between the 20 year period of AD 1590 to AD 1610 that forged the Early Modern period in the north of Ireland, and Dungannon was at the epicentre.
In addition, the site is associated with two of the most famous figures in the history of Ulster – Hugh O’Neill, the 2nd earl of Tyrone (born circa 1550 – died 1616), and Sir Arthur Chichester (born 1563 – died 1625).
O’Neill was the embodiment of the old Gaelic order, known throughout continental Europe as the defender of Ulster against the English army during the Nine Years’ War,
and particularly for his major victory at the Yellow Ford in 1598. Chichester, a veteran of the English army, rose to prominence as a consequence of his military activity under Lord Mountjoy during the conflict and he was to become one of the principal architects for the Ulster Plantation.
Architectural heritage associated with both men was encountered on Castle Hill during the archaeological excavation undertaken in October 2007, when Channel 4’s Time Team, working in association with the Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) and the Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork (CAF) at Queen’s University Belfast, undertook a three-day evaluation on the site.
See Report in resources: Dungannon Castle: It’s history architecture & archaeology
A report prepared by Dr Colm J. Donnelly, Dr Emily V. Murray & Ronan McHugh School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology Queen’s University Belfast
on behalf of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council 9th July 2008
Video Credit: Time Team, Dungannon Castle, Channel 4