Discovering Ireland | Explore County Tyrone

Exploring County Tyrone: Harry Avery's Castle

Updated On: May 01, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Are you thinking of visiting Northern Ireland? Are you unsure of which County to explore? At ConnollyCove, we have created this guide to tell you all the beautiful things to see and do while exploring County Tyrone!

From exploring the airy country air of the Sperrin Mountains to finding thrills at Todd’s Leap Adventure Center.

Keep reading to discover everything to do in County Tyrone! There is fun for all the family and more for a great time in Ireland.

County Tyrone

County Tyrone, from the Irish ‘Tír Eoghain’, meaning “land of Eoghan,” is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland and is located in Ulster. It is the largest county in Northern Ireland and is 3,155 kilometres squared. Due to this, it is no surprise that there are many places to explore in County Tyrone.

Unbeatable Nature of Northern Ireland
Unbeatable Nature of Northern Ireland

While there are no cities, there are many towns and villages. The largest town is Omagh, and the bigger towns in the area are Cookstown, Dungannon, and Strabane.

Explore County Tyrone | Sperrin Mountains

The Sperrin Mountains come from the Irish ‘Na Speírín’, which means “little pinnacle.” The Sperrins span both County Derry and County Tyrone and are one of the largest raised areas of Ireland. They are an untouched area of natural beauty, making them one of the top places to visit while exploring County Tyrone.

It is the perfect destination for those who enjoy a walk. There are areas that are flat and perfect for a stroll, as well as high peaks that are ideal for hiking. Ten peaks are higher than 500 meters, and the highest peak is Sawel, at 678 meters.

Glenshane Pass, County LondondGlenshane Pass, County Londonderry, Northern Irelanderry, Northern Ireland
Glenshane Pass, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

It is also popular among cyclists, horse riders, and parachutists. Whatever wild adventure you have in mind, The Sperrin Mountains are the place for you.

Beaghmore Stone Circles

A part of the Sperrins can be found in Cookstown. There are many stone circles (over 90 sets) within the mountains, however, none compare with the famous Beaghmore Stone Circles. These stone circles were discovered in the 1940s, with 7 stone circles in this set.

This stone circle collection is at Blackrock Road, Cookstown, NT80 9PB.

Opening Hours:

Free access at all times. Make sure to take the necessary precautions.

Gortin Glen Forest Park

Gortin Glen Forest Park is only six miles north of County Tyrone’s largest town, Omagh. It is the west entrance to the Sperrin Mountains. In the park, you will find a youth campsite and several vista parks where motorists can pull into and take in the stunning scenery. There are also several walking trails to enjoy, all marked out with signs from and back to the car park. There are also designated mountain bike and equestrian areas.

A purpose-built, four-meter-tall wooden play sculpture was recently built for children to enjoy. The area is also wheelchair-friendly, surrounded by a boardwalk, and has an auditorium. This area is designed to educate children about the forest and the importance of preserving the environment.

Forest Park is near Glenpark Road and Lisnaharney Road, Omagh. There is a car park at the park’s entrance (costing £3).

Opening Hours:

Gortin Glen Forest Park is open to visitors from 10 am until dusk (season dependent).

St Patrick’s Well

Located outside Killeter Village, County Tyrone, St Patrick’s Well is one of the most sacred spots in Northern Ireland, and it always comes as one of the favourite tourist landmarks. Your St Patrick’s Well tour will take you through a beautiful, unspoiled setting, allowing you to commune with nature while listening to nothing but flowing streams and birds flying in and out of this paradise. The first thing you will notice from anywhere you go is a place for relief. Just stroll through parks, and you will do enough to ensure your well-being.

It’s one of the cherished pieces of Irish heritage, comprising open spaces that people have attached to this place for many reasons. For instance, this spot is associated with a strong belief that Saint Patrick used to come here when he was in Ireland to spread the gospel.

Wilson Ancestry Home

Another landmark within the Sperrins that you should visit is the Wilson Ancestry Home. It doesn’t look glamorous, but you’ll uncover a rich history within there. It is a small thatched cottage, and it was the home of Judge James Wilson. Judge James Wilson was the grandfather of Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States of America (USA). James Wilson left the small residence in 1807 and inside still lies some family furniture, including a portrait of Judge James Wilson over the fireplace. The Wilson family still lives on the farmland next door. This thatched house is at 28 Spout Road, Strabane, County Tyrone.

County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Islands
County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, Beautiful Islands

Opening Hours

It is free to visit, and the opening hours alter seasonally. You are advised to ring in advance to visit this historic house. Phone: 028/8224-3292

Explore County Tyrone | Bluegrass Festival

The Bluegrass Festival visits County Tyrone annually at the end of August/ start of September. It takes place over a weekend and is a fun, festive way to bring in the new season.

The three main acts over the weekend from 30 August to 1 September 2019 were Dr Bluegrass & The ‘illbilly 8, Front Country, and Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. The highlight was arguably the multi-award-winning Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, who flew the whole way from the United States of America to play in this festival. Throughout the years, the Bluegrass Festival has grown and now receives an audience of about 7,000 people yearly.

Facilities

While enjoying the multiple music acts during the festival, Loaf Catering is available onsite to provide hungry music lovers with a range of food. They also offer options for vegetarians and vegans. Of course, when in Ireland, there has to be an option for a ‘wee’ alcoholic beverage, Bogans Bar is onsite providing a range of drinks: wines, spirits, beers, and of course a Guinness. (Unfortunately, the bar only accepts cash, so do not forget to stop at an ATM on your way.)

As the festival is held in Ulster American Folk Park, the closest place to stay near the festival location is in the Omagh/ West Tyrone area. This area offers a range of hotels, hostels, and Bed and Breakfast accommodations. However, camp is available if you want to experience the full magic of the festival! Omagh Rugby Club offered its grounds for the 2019 festival. From here, there was a daily shuttle bus to the museum. Here are the 2019 prices for camping:

  • 3 nights: £40
  • 2 nights: £30
  • 1 night: £20

(These prices are subject to change yearly)

Explore County Tyrone | Ulster Herald Food Festival

The Omagh Food Festival, held by the Ulster Herald, is the second annual festival in County Tyrone. We recommend that if you visit this weekend, you make it your mission to visit!

This year (29 and 30 June 2019), the festival was held in a car park next to Kelvin Avenue. This area was completely transformed into a worldly food haven in the open! For children, there were face painting and cupcake-decorating stations. For adults, there were cocktail classes to take part in. This means there is something the whole family can enjoy!

Explore County Tyrone | Sion Stables

“Here and now Heritage comes alive”

Sion Stables is located on Melmount Road in Sion Mills Village. This village was founded in 1835 and was known for its Linen industry. Within these newly restored stables, you will find a museum, craft shop, heritage education centre, and its famous Restaurant 1861.

It is easily accessed. There is free parking on site and overflow parking at the Chapel across from the stables. For bus travellers, there is also a drop-off and pick-up point, a short two-minute walk from the stables.

When exploring County Tyrone, this museum and heritage centre should be number one on your to-do list!

Restaurant 1861

This restaurant combines history with luxury, seemingly effortlessly. The Restaurant 1861 is a fully licensed bar, restaurant, and cafe awarded the Best Newcomer in County Tyrone at The Irish Restaurant Awards.

This restaurant offers delicious breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner menus! It uses the best quality ingredients to produce amazing meals you will not forget. While exploring County Tyrone, you will surely work up an appetite, and Restaurant 1861, with its charm and character, is definitely the place for you.

Restaurant Opening Hours

(These are subject to change; please call ahead of your visit: 028 8165 9880)

Monday CLOSED
Tuesday 11.00 – 17.30
Wednesday 11.00 – 19.30
Thursday 11.00 – 19.30
Friday 11.00 – 21.00
Saturday 11.00 – 21.00
Sunday 12.00 – 20.00

Explore County Tyrone | Lissan House

Lying in a 267-acre plot of land lives Lissan House, a beautiful country house full of history. You will find this stunning property just one and a half miles north of Cookstown, at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains. It has been and still is one of the most sought-after wedding venues since its opening in 2012.

While exploring County Tyrone, this magnificent estate is definitely worth visiting. You can tour the historic house, explore the forest, enjoy the stunning scenery, and relax by the Lissan Water.

Opening Hours and Tours

The house is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Easter until mid-September. During July and August, it is also open on Thursdays and Fridays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. During these months, there are three daily tours at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:15 p.m.

There is an onsite car park, which costs £3 per car.

Cost to visit the house:

Including gift aid:

Children (aged 5-15): £3

Adult: £4.50

Family (two adults and two children): £13.50

Standard cost:

Children: £2.70

Adult: £4

Family: £12

Group rates:

Children: £2.50

Adult: £3.50

Explore County Tyrone | Todd’s Leap

Todd’s Leap is the perfect destination for those seeking a thrill! It is an award-winning activity centre that is fun for the whole family! Todds Leap has everything the family can enjoy, including over 20 unique activities, a bar and restaurant, and cabins to sleep in.

Strabane | Strabane Town | Northern Ireland | County Tyrone
Strabane Town- Northern Ireland, County Tyrone

Activities

There are many activities to enjoy, for the full list of activities look here.  Here are some of the highlights:

Zip Line

One of the major highlights of your visit to Todd Leap will be their zip line. It offers some of the most amazing views you will ever see and the thrill of flying through the air at a height.

It costs £15 per person and is suitable for all ages.

Drop Zone

The Drop Zone is arguably the most adrenaline-filled activity in the centre! You will jump from a 30-foot-high platform onto a giant bouncy-castle-type airbag.

It costs £15 per person and is only suitable for adults aged 18 and over.

Giant Swing

Yes, that’s correct. Following our childhood favourite play park activity, the Giant Swing guarantees fun for all. You and two others are harnessed in at this attraction, lifted into the air, and fly backwards and forwards over a cliff edge! You will be amazed by the stunning scenery while having the time of your life!

The Giant Swing costs £15 per person and is suitable for all ages.

Bar and Restaurant

The onsite bar and restaurant are called The Twisted Axie. They offer a range of dishes daily, and no one is left wanting more. They also offer themed banquet nights, murder mystery-themed dinners, cocktail party buffets, and much more.

Enjoy your time at a decent bar and restaurant in  County Tyrone
Enjoy your time at a decent bar and restaurant in County Tyrone

Opening Hours

The bar and restaurant are open daily:

Breakfast: 9:30 am-11 am

Hot Lunch counter: 12:30 pm-2 pm

Evening dinner/ bar menu: 6 pm to late

Explore County Tyrone | Brewers House Restaurant

Brewers House Restaurant is one of the oldest public houses in Northern Ireland, it was built at the end of the 18th Century, and was founded in 1797. However, it was recently refurbished and was transformed into a charming restaurant and bar. In 2013 it won Best Gastro Pub in Ireland.

You will find this historic restaurant in the village of Donaghmore. With its world-class chef, lively atmosphere, and historic feel, you will have a memorable experience and a great meal.

2018 awards

  • Best Wine Experience
  • Best Gastro Pub
  • Top 100 Hospitality Businesses in Northern Ireland
  • Best Chef

Restaurant Opening Hours

Monday to Thursday, 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Friday 12 pm to 9 pm

Sunday 12 pm to 8 pm

The bar is open late every night

Discover County Tyrone | Corick House Hotel Spa

If you are browsing for a place to stay in County Tyrone, look no further! This luxurious Victorian hotel and spa is the place for you. It is located in a stunning spot surrounded by streams and country roads. From the wrought-iron gates, the beech tree-lined drive, and the gorgeous hotel. Therefore, you are guaranteed a luxurious, relaxing experience—a four-star hotel filled with period charm and top-class facilities. Within the hotel, you will find a bar and conservatory lounge, a Carleton restaurant, a world-class spa, and a free car park.

Spa

There are eight treatment rooms, including a couple of rooms. Making it the perfect place for a honeymoon or a couple’s relaxing getaway. There are also many treatments for you to choose from and enjoy. This spa features the first Vichy Shower in Northern Ireland– the total full-body relaxation. To find the full list of treatments offered, have a look here.

Gym and Spa Opening Hours

Monday to Friday: 9 am to 9 pm

Saturday and Sunday: 9 am to 7 pm

Explore County Tyrone | Harry Avery’s Castle

Harry Avery’s castle was built around 1320 by an O’Neill clan chief and named after Harry Avery O’Neill. It is unusual for its time period as it was built in stone. Its design is also unusual; the two towers look similar to the Carrickfergus Castle gatehouse. It is located southwest of Newtownstewart, on the top of a hill. If you enjoy walking, this is the perfect historical place to visit. Its stunning views and charm will ensure a fun visit.

It is free to access throughout the year.

Explore County Tyrone | Ulster American Folk Park

The Ulster American Folk Park is the ultimate tourist destination. When you are in Northern Ireland, you should make it your top priority to visit. It is located on two Mellon Road Castletown, in Omagh. If you enjoy historical places, you will love it here as it tells the history of the Irish Famine and the emigrants who travelled to America during the disaster. Here, you will have the opportunity to wander through the thatched cottages where people would have lived and be given tours with costumed characters.

You will also have the opportunity to board a full-scale emigrant ship; you will have the surrounding experience of the rough conditions people travel in. There are over 30 buildings and exhibits to explore, and it is a unique and active museum for all the family to enjoy.

There is also an on-site cafe where you can enjoy a delicious meal after exploring the museum and a gift shop where you can buy many beautiful collectables to remember your time.

Opening Hours

It takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to experience all the museum has to offer, and the opening hours are:

October to February:

  • Tuesday to Friday: 10 am to 4 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 11 am to 4 pm

March to June and September:

  • Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

July and August:

Monday to Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm

Have you visited any beautiful tourist destinations while exploring Northern Ireland‘s largest county? Tell us about it in the comments below!

If you enjoyed this Ireland travel blog, please enjoy more about travelling in Ireland:

Queen’s University Belfast: Past, Present and Future | Fun Things to do in Northern Ireland | Discovering Ireland: Walk Through History | Take a Look at Our Favourite Pubs in IrelandSpas in Ireland: The Best Relaxing Spa Breaks and Hotels

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