County Tyrone

County Tyrone
Contae Thír Eoghain (Irish)
Coontie Owenslann (Ulster-Scots)
Coat of arms of County Tyrone
The Red Hand County
Consilio et Prudentia (Latin)
"By Wisdom and Prudence"
Location of County Tyrone
CountryUnited Kingdom
RegionNorthern Ireland
County townOmagh
 • Total1,261 sq mi (3,270 km2)
 • Rank8th
Highest elevation2,224 ft (678 m)
 • Rank11th
Time zoneUTC±0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Postcode area
Contae Thír Eoghain is the Irish name; Countie Tyrone, Coontie Tyrone and Coontie Owenslann are Ulster Scots spellings (the latter used only by Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council).

County Tyrone (/tɪˈroʊn/; from Irish Tír Eoghain, meaning 'land of Eoghan') is one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, one of the nine counties of Ulster and one of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland. It is no longer used as an administrative division for local government but retains a strong identity in popular culture.

Adjoined to the south-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,266 km2 (1,261 sq mi) and has a population of about 188,383; its county town is Omagh. The county derives its name and general geographic location from Tír Eoghain, a Gaelic kingdom under the O'Neill dynasty which existed until the 17th century.


The name Tyrone is derived from Irish Tír Eoghain 'land of Eoghan', the name given to the conquests made by the Cenél nEógain from the provinces of Airgíalla and Ulaid. Historically, it was anglicised as Tirowen or Tyrowen, which are closer to the Irish pronunciation.


Historically Tyrone (then Tír Eoghain or Tirowen) was much larger in size, stretching as far north as Lough Foyle, and comprised part of modern-day County Londonderry east of the River Foyle. The majority of County Londonderry was carved out of Tyrone between 1610 and 1620 when that land went to the Guilds of London to set up profit making schemes based on natural resources located there. Tyrone was the traditional stronghold of the various O'Neill clans and families, the strongest of the Gaelic Irish families in Ulster, surviving into the seventeenth century. The ancient principality of Tír Eoghain, the inheritance of the O'Neills, included the whole of the present counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, and the four baronies of West Inishowen, East Inishowen, Raphoe North and Raphoe South in County Donegal.

In 1608 during O'Doherty's Rebellion areas of the country were plundered and burnt by the forces of Sir Cahir O'Doherty following his destruction of Derry. However, O'Doherty's men avoided the estates of the recently fled Earl of Tyrone around Dungannon, fearing Tyrone's anger if he returned from his exile.


With an area of 3,266 square kilometres (1,261 sq mi), Tyrone is the largest county in Northern Ireland. The flat peatlands of East Tyrone border the shoreline of the largest lake in the British Isles, Lough Neagh, rising gradually across to the more mountainous terrain in the west of the county, the area surrounding the Sperrin Mountains, the highest point being Sawel Mountain at a height of 678 m (2,224 ft). The length of the county, from the mouth of the River Blackwater at Lough Neagh to the western point near Carrickaduff hill is 55 miles (89 km). The breadth, from the southern corner, southeast of Fivemiletown, to the northeastern corner near Meenard Mountain is 37.5 miles (60.4 km); giving an area of 1,261 square miles (in 1900). Annaghone lays claim to be the geographical centre of Northern Ireland.

Tyrone is connected by land to the counties of Fermanagh to the southwest; Monaghan to the south; Armagh to the southeast; Londonderry to the north; and Donegal to the west. Across Lough Neagh to the east, it borders County Antrim. It is the eighth largest of Ireland's thirty-two counties by area and tenth largest by population. It is the second largest of Ulster's nine traditional counties by area and fourth largest by population.

Blackrock Bridge near Newtownstewart, carrying the closed GNR mainline that ran through the county


The county was administered by Tyrone County Council from 1899 until the abolition of county councils in Northern Ireland in 1973.


Religious Background in Tyrone (2021)
Religion Per cent
Protestant and Other Christian
Other faiths

It is one of four counties in Northern Ireland which currently has a majority of the population from a Catholic community background, according to the 2021 census. In 1900 County Tyrone had a population of 197,719, while in 2021 it was 188,383. At the time of the 2021 census, 66.49% were from a Catholic background, 28.88% were from a Protestant and Other Christian (including Christian related), 0.66% were from other religions, and 3.97% had no religious background.

Religion or religion brought up in (2021 Census)
Religion or religion brought up in Number %
Catholic 125,251 66.49%
Protestant and Other Christian 54,407 28.88%
Other religions 1,251 0.66%
None (no religion) 7,474 3.97%
Total 188,383 100.00%
National identity (2021 Census)
National identity Number (%)
Irish only 78,291 41.6%
British only 39,551 21.0%
Northern Irish only 38,698 20.5%
British and Northern Irish only 8,197 4.4%
Irish and Northern Irish only 3,853 2.1%
British, Irish and Northern Irish only 1,175 0.6%
British and Irish only 737 0.4%
Other identity 17,881 9.5%
Total 188,383 100.0%
All Irish identities 84,562 44.9%
All British identities 50,768 27.0%
All Northern Irish identities 52,667 28.0%


Large towns

(population of 18,000 or more and under 75,000 at 2021 Census)

Medium towns

(population of 10,000 or more and under 18,000 at 2021 Census)

Small towns

(population of 4,500 or more and under 10,000 at 2021 Census)

Intermediate settlements

(population of 2,250 or more and under 4,500 at 2021 Census)


(population of 1,000 or more and under 2,250 at 2001 Census)

Small villages

(population of less than 1,000 at 2001 Census)





Future railway revival

There is the possibility of the line being reopened to Dungannon railway station from Portadown.


Major sports in Tyrone include Gaelic games, association football, rugby union and cricket:

Notable people

See also

This page was last updated at 2024-01-14 05:06 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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