O’Neill Clan members welcomed in Dungannon and Cookstown

James Kane, Enda O'Neill, Professor Eoin O'Neill, Pat O'Neill, Brendan McAnallen, Marie Quinn Dungannon Mayor Felix Gildernew, Sean O'Neill, Cookstown Mayor Tony Quinn and Brendan Holland prepare to welcome the O'Neill gathering.

James Kane, Enda O'Neill, Professor Eoin O'Neill, Pat O'Neill, Brendan McAnallen, Marie Quinn Dungannon Mayor Felix Gildernew, Sean O'Neill, Cookstown Mayor Tony Quinn and Brendan Holland prepare to welcome the O'Neill gathering.

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TWO leading members of the Ancient Clan O’Neill of Tyrone were welcomed at a special meeting held in Dungannon to discuss an exciting new project celebrating the clan’s ancestral heritage.

Daniel O’Neill, Chief Guardian of the clan group and Tricia Morrow, Vice Chief, visited Dungannon council offices on Friday, September 28th to talk about plans for the Hill of The O’Neill project.

They were welcomed to the council offices by the Mayor Gildernew and Chief Executive, Ian Frazer.

Speaking after the meeting Daniel O’Neill described the excitement building ahead of the project’s completion.

He said: “As present Chief Guardian of the Ancient Clan O’Neill of Tyrone, I see it as my duty to promote this project on the clan website oneillsofulster.com to every person who carries an Ulster Gaelic surname around the world.”

“It’s now up to the people of the greater Dungannon area to take ownership of this project, to talk about it on their travels and to let every relative abroad know of it.”

Daniel praised Dungannon council for “making this dream a reality” and called on the people of Mid-Ulster to “make it work”.

After the meeting gifts were exchanged and both Daniel and Tricia were taken on a tour of the Hill of the O’Neill by Ian Frazer.

When asked about the heritage centre, Mr O’Neill said: “I couldn’t do it justice by trying to explain what I seen other than it had everything the whole history of Ulster is told on that one hill.

“From Gael to Planter and war to peace, it’s something that has to be experienced.”

On the Hill itself Daniel said he was well aware that in his capacity as a representative of the O’Neill Clan, he may well be the first O’Neill to have walked this hallowed site in 400 years.

“It’s more than a breathtaking vie, it’s a spiritual experience,” he added.

Daniel then travelled the short distance to Cookstown to meet Adrian McCreesh, Chief Executive of Cookstown District Council to discuss the future of Tullyhogue Fort, a site he says that is not only important to the O’Neill clan but every clan in Ulster.

“I pay tribute to the hard work of Mr Adrian McCreesh and to all the groups who have been working hard behind the scenes to secure the best future for the site and I am totally blown away by some of the proposed plans Cookstown council are putting forward for the rejuvenation of the Hill and I hope and pray that the funding bodies will see the bigger picture. Between The O’Neill Hill in Dungannon and Tullyhogue Hill in Cookstown lies a tourism gold mine.

“We in the Ancient Clan O’Neill of Tyrone will be promoting the Tullyhogue Hill around the world as the mecca of the northern Gaelic clans. “We also want every O’Neill from across the nine counties of Ulster to join us on our oneillsofulster.com website where they can become an official member of the Ancient Clan O’Neill of Tyrone and join in on next years big O’Neill clan gathering and festivities.

“Membership and use of our site is free, we need all O’Neills to play their part to make this a success.