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Tullyhogue Fort (Gaelic Telach Oc – Hill of Youth or Mound of the Young Warriors) is large mound on the outskirts of the village of Tullyhoguemarker near Cookstownmarker, Northern Irelandmarker, with a depressed centre and surrounded by trees. It is a State Care Historic Monument sited in the townland of Ballymully Glebe, in the Cookstown District Council area, at grid reference: H8250 7430.. The inauguration site (knownas Tullaghoge Fort) is a Scheduled Historic Monument at grid ref: H8251 7428.


Originally probably an Iron Age fort or refuge, mainly in use during the time the O'Neill family were the chieftains or lords of central Ulster - Cinel Eoghan or Tir Eoghan, between the 12th and 16th centuries. It continued as the ceremonial seat of the kings of Tir Eogain even after the O’Neills transferred their court to Dungannonmarker at the end of the 13th century. During this time the chief of the O'Neills who was called The O'Neill. Chiefs were inaugurated at the fort, the clan seat of the O'Hagan, hereditary stewards to the O'Neills. The O’Hagans, the heredity guardians of the site, lived at the fort and on Bartlett’s map of c.1600 two thatched buildings are shown within the enclosure. The ceremony was performed at a special inauguration stone. From 1542–1608, the head of the O'Neills also held the English title of Earl of Tyrone. Hugh O'Neill's inauguration in 1593 was officially the last to take place here. In 1602, during the Nine Years War , English forces at war with Hugh O'Neill destroyed much of the site at Tullyhoghe, and smashed the O'Neill's inauguration stone. The never-recognised coronation of Sir Phelim O'Neill in 1641 also apparently happened at the fort during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, although the reliability of evidence for this is questioned by most.

The principal object in the coronation ceremony was the ancient stone chair made from rough slabs. In the 16th century the Leac na Ri, or Stone of the Kings, inauguration stone, which is said to be blessed by Saint Patrick, was embedded in the coronation chair. This chair was noted on a map dating to the early 17th century, which matches with an acocunt of its destruction on the orders of Lord Mountjoy in c.1602 , a year before the surrender of Hugh O'Neill to Mountjoy.


The only visible remnants of Tullyhogue Fort today are the earthworks. From these it can be seen that the Fort was not built as typical defensive ráth, or ring fort. There is no outer ditch and the broad, flat area between two concentric earth banks is far from practical during an attack. The Fort contains an enclosure 105ft in diameter, encircled by two banks, with entry to the enclosed area by a causeway in the inner bank. However, the layout of Tullaghoge Fort distinguishes it from a rath in that unlike a rath, Tullaghoge Fort was not designed as a defensive structure. The two ditches were built wide apart with a flat area in between them and there is no defensive outer ditch. Tullaghoge was a royal centre of power not a defended farmstead. The earthworks determine the boundaries of an area of ceremonial importance, they were not intended to safeguard the site from attack.


Cookstown District Council have initiated a tourism plan for visitors and Tullyhogue Fort has become part of its marketing agenda because of its rich history. The area has been re-developed and signs directing visitors towards the site have been installed in Cookstown district. It remains a popular tourist destination during the summer months, and in 1998 a Spanish descendant of Hugh O’Neill decided to begin an annual event taking place in August each year. Don Carlos O’Neill and his family commemorate the inauguration ceremony of the O’Neills on the exact spot were his predecessors were crowned the high kings of Ulster in centuries gone by. It is a highly symbolic act in an area that is steeped in royal history. Indeed, one of the most recent housing developments in the adjoining Tullyhogue village has been named ‘King’s Park’.

In February 2007 Cookstown District Council confirmed that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) had agreed to sell the land required to develop Tullyhogue Fort to Council for £90,000. Council agreed to proceed with this purchase, bringing the total cost to the Council for the project of £254,705 excluding professional fees.


  1. One source dates this event to 1595.
  2. Dates ranging from 1602–1607 are given by different sources, 1603 is the most commonly cited.


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