All aboard as special bus tours of the Mid-Ulster area are launched

Hidden Heritage stone circles.
Hidden Heritage stone circles.

Residents from Mid Ulster and further afield will have the opportunity to ‘discover what’s on your doorstep’ during a series of bus tours exploring the wealth of ‘hidden heritage’ in the area.

Four coach tours, organised by Mid Ulster District Council, are offering the opportunity for locals and visitors to experience some of the region’s most historic and popular landmarks from the O’Neill’s story and Tullaghoge Fort and Hill of The O’Neill to Beaghmore Stone Circles- the darkest sky in Northern Ireland.

The series kicks-off on Saturday 12 May with the O’Neills Story, Tullaghoge Fort and Hill of The O’Neill tour. Here participants will walk in the footsteps of the O’Neill clan, visiting their inauguration site at Tullaghoge Fort before arriving at their former place of residence – Hill of The O’Neill, Dungannon. Many myths and truths will be uncovered along the way and the trip will finish with a banquet on top of The Hill.

The picturesque Beaghmore Stone Circles is the location of the second tour on Monday 21 June. Participants will be able to experience the first day of summer from this breath-taking location.

During the trip the history and significance of the stones will also be explored finishing up with refreshments at the most tranquil of surroundings.

The third tour will explore Maghera’s Hidden Heritage on Saturday 7 July.

Participants will journey through Maghera’s hidden heritage, a town full of significant sites from ancient times, including: a restored Victorian garden on the grounds of a medieval 4th Century royal dwelling, an ancient Monastery and St Lurach’s 10th century church with one of the oldest sculptures of the crucifixion.

The tour will also include a stop at the Maghera Walled Garden, a refreshing high-tea at Walsh’s Hotel and a browse round Siopa An Carn, a gift shop specialising in traditional and contemporary Irish crafts and gifts.

The final tour takes place on Saturday 15 September and will explore the magnificent Blessingbourne Estate in the Clogher Valley.

The historic 550 acre country estate, nestled in the heart of woodlands and wildlife, is one of North West Ireland’s most tranquil and magical locations.

Participants will enjoy gentle walks around the grounds including around Lough Fadda.

Booking is essential as spaces are limited. All tours cost £8 per person. To book contact Cookstown Visitor Information Centre on 028 8676 9949.