Tourism in Mid Ulster was given a major boost last week, with the reopening Tullaghoge Fort, Cookstown, following the completion of a £500k investment.
The site was closed for almost a year while development works were carried out to deliver a new car parking area, interpretation and a new path to the monument.
In the course of development works new and exciting archaeological discoveries were made, including the foundations of a medieval settlement at the bottom of the hill on which Tullaghoge Fort stands.
Minister for Communities Paul Givan MLA carried out the official opening of the new facilities which will deliver enhanced visitor access to this internationally-important archaeological site.
“By investing in our infrastructure, my department is already demonstrating the value of the historic environment for local communities and for wider society,” said the minister.
“This internationally-important monument is a key asset to the tourism economy of Mid Ulster; the enhanced access and resources at the site will enable greater footfall at the monument which, in turn, will result in an economic boost for tourism and local business. In this year of anniversaries we also remember the death 400 years ago of Hugh O’Neill, the last Great O’Neill to be inaugurated at Tullaghoge. I am pleased to be re-opening this site with its improved access and interpretation in time for the summer season of visitors, who I hope will continue to explore Mid Ulster, and indeed all of Northern Ireland, for years to come.”
Deputy Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sharon McAleer, said: “This investment at Tullaghoge preserves and protects a valuable heritage asset for future generations and also complements its sister site in Dunngannon, the Hill of the O’Neill, which has also benefited in the last year from substantial funding.
“They showcase the history of this region and show very clearly why Mid Ulster is developing a reputation as an area of outstanding archaeological and historical significance which will attract visitors, encourage them to stay longer. I look forward to continuing the celebrations with the ‘Gathering of the Clans’ which brings a week of talks, walks, tours, drama and music to celebrate the two ancient sites at Dungannon and Tullaghoge, from 18 to 26 June.