£2.2 million investment for Castle Hill Developmemt
Publish Date: Friday, 23 March 2007
Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council has been awarded a grant of £2.2million from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop and interpret Castle Hill as a historic park, repair and preserve the famous twin towers on the site and convert Ranfurly House into a new cultural and exhibition centre which will tell Castle Hill's rich and turbulent history.
Mayor Councillor Jim Hamilton recognises this as a defining point in the future of Dungannon:
"This is a very exciting time for Dungannon and we are thrilled with this major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We look forward to providing the people of Dungannon and South Tyrone with a brand new recreation facility and a base to explore heritage and culture on a very famous site."
Castle Hill, in the centre of Dungannon, occupies a special place in the history of Ireland as it was the major stronghold of the Gaelic 'Kings of Ulster', between the 14th and 17th century. Following the flight of the earls and the demise of the O'Neill stronghold in Ireland, Castle Hill became site of the grand 18th-century townhouse of George Knox, a Scot who was gifted the town and lands of Dungannon following the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century.
Council's Chief Executive, John Campbell, describes the development of Castle Hill as a 'signature project' for Dungannon and South Tyrone:
"We have planned a number of high profile projects and events to mark the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the earls and the Plantation of Ulster, but this is my far the most significant. We plan to respect the character of the site in our developments, in terms of its historical and archaeological landscape and ensure the sensitive restoration of the site."
The grant from Heritage Lottery is one of the most considerable contributions to Northern Ireland.
Almost 60 events are planned to mark Dungannon 2007. These include an international economic conference at East Tyrone College in September, a Kilt Meets Celt music festival and a large scale public event to mark the opening of Castle Hill.
For further information on the developments at Castle Hill and the Dungannon 2007 commemorations, please contact Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council on 028 8772 0300 or keep up to date online at www.dungannon.gov.uk