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County Tyrone

County Tyrone is one of six counties that form Northern Ireland, situated in the north of the island of Ireland. Adjoined to the south-west shore of Lough Neagh, the county covers an area of 3,155 km squared, with a population of approximately 166,516, with its county town being Omagh. It is also one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland, lying within the historical province of Ulster.

Tyrone is the seventh largest of Ireland's 32 counties in area and eighth largest in terms of population. It is the second largest of Ulster's 9 counties in size and fourth largest in terms of population.

Geography

With an area of 3,155 square kilometres (1,218 square miles), Tyrone is the largest county in Northern Ireland. The flat peatlands of East Tyrone borders the shoreline of the largest lake in Ireland, 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. The breadth, from the southern corner, southeast of Fivemiletown, to the northeastern corner near Meenard Mountain is 37.5 miles; giving an area of 1,260 square miles (in 1900). Annaghone lays claim to be the geographical centre of Northern Ireland.

History

Historically Tyrone stretched 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 1610-1620 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 Tir Eoghain, the inheritance of the O'Neills, included the whole of the present counties of Tyrone and Londonderry, and the two baronies of Inishowen and Raphoe in County Donegal.

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