Dungannon is a medium-sized town in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is the third-largest town in the county (after Omagh and Strabane) and a population of 15,889 people was recorded in the 2011 Census. It is situated in the historic barony of Dungannon Middle and the civil parish of Drumglass. In August 2006, Dungannon won Ulster in Bloom's Best Kept Town Award for the fifth time. It contains the headquarters of the Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.
Dungannon's fortunes have been closely tied to that of the O'Neill dynasty which ruled most of Ulster until the seventeenth century and was the most powerful Gaelic family. Dungannon was the clan's main stronghold which made it by default the most important settlement in Gaelic Ireland. The traditional site of inauguration for 'The O'Neill', was Tullyhogue Fort, an Iron Age mound some four miles northeast of Dungannon. The clan O'Hagan were the stewards of this site for the O'Neills.The last castle was located at what is today known as Castle Hill; the location was ideal for a fort as it was one of the highest points in Tyrone, and dominated the surrounding countryside with the ability to see seven counties depending on the weather. Its location ultimately led to the British Army taking over the site for a security installation during The Troubles, only being returned to the local council in August 2007.
This castle was burned in 1602 by Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone as the English forces closed in on the Gaelic lords towards the end of the Nine Years' War. In 1607, ninety-nine Irish chieftains and their followers, including Hugh O'Neill, set sail from Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, bound for the continent. What followed became known as the Plantation of Ulster and the town and its castle were granted to Sir Arthur Chichester, the architect of the Plantation.
After the O'Neills
Dungannon remained the county seat of County Tyrone after the Plantation, but High Court judges who travelled to Dungannon to the courthouse were attacked in the village of Cappagh and the county town was then moved to Omagh. In 1973, the town became the seat of the new district of Dungannon.