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The largest county in Northern Ireland, Tyrone is also big on beauty, with the heather-swathed Sperrin Mountains as a spectacular backdrop. County town Omagh makes a vibrant base for touring the countryside and experiencing its many attractions.
Just north of Omagh is a world-class museum that brings to life the moving and fascinating story of Irish emigration. The Ulster American Folk Park traces the emigrant journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, using a full-scale emigrant sailing ship and reproduction American-Frontier log cabins. Costumed characters and traditional crafts make the experience even more authentic.
The Argory is an evocative house and wooded estate of the Irish aristocracy, built in the 1820s. A neoclassical masterwork, it has remained unchanged since 1900, with the original interiors reflecting the MacGeough-Bond family’s eclectic tastes and interests. Enjoy panoramic views, stunning floral displays, and pleasant forest walks in the 130-hectare estate, which also houses a second-hand bookshop, adventure playground, and an award-winning tea room.
Close to the southern shores of Lough Neagh, Peatlands Park is dedicated to the promotion of peatland awareness and is the first of its kind in the British Isles. Discover wildlife-rich habitats via a network of 16 km of paths, and try out turf-cutting at the turbary site. There is also a miniature railway on-site, and if you enjoy getting mucky, you may be interested in the Northern Ireland Bog-Snorkelling Championships, which take place here every July.
Tucked away in the centre of Strabane, Grays looks like any other shop, but hidden behind its unassuming exterior is an intriguing tale of the printing industry in Ulster. This is where John Dunlap, printer of the American Declaration of Independence, and James Wilson, grandfather of President Woodrow Wilson, are reputed to have completed their apprenticeships. Enjoy absorbing guided tours, audio-visual exhibitions, and demonstrations.
Dungannon Park is a 28-hectare oasis of trees, rolling greens, and winding paths, centred round a tranquil lake. Enjoy fly fishing, tennis, football, and cricket here. There’s a playground and barbeque area for family days out, and an extensive network of traffic-free paths for interesting walks and cycles.
Just 7km west of Dungannon, Parkanaur Forest Park was formerly part of the Burgess Estate and now offers pleasant strolls among mixed woodland trails, past a Victorian garden, quaint archway, and wishing well. The grounds burst into colour in spring with daffodils and rhododendrons, and a herd of white fallow deer provides unusual company.
The Abingdon Collection is a private collection of World War II memorabilia and classic cars. Open by appointment only, the collection is about 2km from the Ulster American Folk Museum and offers plenty to interest anyone fascinated by what the owner calls “big boy toys.” Representing more than 45 years of passionate collecting, it offers a chance to visit the past. It is free to enter, with any contributions going to Cancer Research UK.
Lace up your walking boots this August for the Sperrins Walking Festival. The annual weekend event has something for all fitness levels, from gentle family ambles to moderate walks and tougher hikes - all led by professional walking leaders. Evening activities and entertainment help you to relax after your day in the hills, so you can keep fit and make friends.
Golf great Darren Clarke is a native of Tyrone, so you won’t be surprised to discover that locals have a passion for the game. For 18 holes that you won’t forget, try the golf clubs at Omagh or Newtownstewart. The Fintona 9-hole course is among the top 10 of its kind in the country. Aughnacloy, Benburb, Dungannon, Killymoon, and Strabane are other fine courses.
If you’re a fan of speed on two wheels, come to Cookstown for the last weekend in April. The Cookstown 100 Road Races are an adrenaline-pumping adventure on winding country roads that attract some of the leading riders on the circuit. Established in 1920 and going strong ever since, the Cookstown attracts enthusiastic crowds for practice day on Friday and race day on Saturday.
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