A great many delights await the visitor to Eglish, Co. Tyrone. It is a land of drumlins, of small fertile fields, of rivers, woodlands and lakes. Significant historical events were played out here down through the years. Its sacred sites and wells have a history older than Christianity – they have rested humbly, undisturbed and unobtrusively, in unexpected places, over centuries. Its roads, buildings, hedges and bridges speak of the work that moulded the ancient land over centuries to the service of man.
1. St. Patrick’s Church: The graveyard mound was the site of a monastic settlement, possibly 6th Century. It was marked by an early high cross, the base of which survives.St. Patrick’s Church (1834) is said to be the third church of that name on the site.
2. Presbyterian Church: Presbyterians first came to Eglish in the early 1700s and by 1800 the current church was built.
3. Derrygortreavy Parish Church: The Church of Ireland at Derrrygortreavy was built in 1815, when the parish was separated from that at Clonfeacle. It is built on an ancient rath (4th to 12th Centuries).
4. Dalton’s Walk is named after a Captain Dalton who commanded the local Volunteer barracks in the late 18th Century.
5. St. Brigid’s Well (no public access) was situated in the townland of Dunamoney. An associated stone cross is displayed in St. Patrick’s church at Eglish.
6. Tullybaltine: The festival of Bealtaine was celebrated at this site ‘the height of the May fire’.
7. Reaskmore Mass Garden was one of the sites where Mass was said during the Penal Era.
8. Legilly Weavers’ Clochan was a hamlet inhabited by linen weavers and dyers.
9. The Grey Stone marked the boundary of an ancient territory: folklore states that it was thrown from Slieve Gullion in South Armagh by legendary giant Fionn MacCumhaill.
10. Todd’s Bridge: An old milestone is inserted on the capstone.
11. Derrylatinee School.
12. Derrylatinee Fort: An ancient ring fort.
13. Carrycastle: There was an old hamlet here in the 18th and early 19th Century, consisting of up to 12 houses. People assembled here at the local Mass garden in the 17th Century – 300 United Irishmen met here in 1796.
14. Brantry Lough and Wood is a popular fly-fishing location and the wood is laid out with beautiful walks.
15. Lough na Grone may have been the site of a massacre during the 1640s.
16. Gort Hill is the highest hill in the area and was used for reconnaissance by various armies during the wars of the 17th Century. On a clear day the 9 counties of Ulster may be seen from here.
17. Brantry Friary (no public access) was the home of the Armagh Franciscans from Reformation times until around 1670.
18. Drumnamoless: An ancient ring fort is situated in this townland. From statements made at the Garrison Court-martial held in Dungannon on 9th July, 1798, we know that Brantry United Irishmen met at a smith’s shop in the townland.
19. Cadian Lime Kiln was used in the production of slaked lime for building and agricultural uses. It was built in the early 1820s by Lord Caledon and was in use until the 1920s.
20. Cadian Sweat House (no public access): The Sweat House is one of the best preserved of its type in the country. It was traditionally used to heal certain illnesses – it was thoroughly heated by a turf fire, the lighted material was removed, patients entered and sweated in the heated air. They then jumped in a pool of water and were rubbed with a coarse cloth before returning home.
21. Cadian Fairy Mound (no public access at present) was said in older times to be the home of fairies.
22. Cadian Horse Shoe Forge was the site of one of the area’s blacksmiths in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
23. Brantry BARD is a community centre devoted to the celebration of the history of the area and provides facilities for local groups.
24. Batter Well (no public access): The Batter Well, in the townland of Tullygiven, is one of the strongest spring wells in the district. It was a practice for people on their deathbeds to request a drink of water from the Batter Well.
25. St. Patrick’s Well and church site, Knocknacloy: (no public access) An ancient monastery was located here, of which there is now no visible trace. Across the river in Gortmerron townland is St. Patrick’s Well. It was reputed at one time to have a cure for ailments of the eye.
26. Gortmerron Baptist Church: Derrycreevy Baptist Church (later known as Gortmerron) was formed on 18th March, 1894.
27. Knocknacloy Church of God was formed on 29th July, 1923.
28. Tullygiven Lough and Crannóg: Tullygiven Lough was one of the sites of the Battle of Benburb (1646). The Crannóg (artificial island) would have been constructed as the home of an important family. In 2009 the environs were declared to be an Area of Special Scientific Interest because of the species rich dry grassland.
29. Lockhart’s Inn: A 17th Century inn and staging post was located here.
30. Manair’s Inn: The old inn which was located here is mentioned in a 19th Century ballad.
31. Battle of Benburb site: On 5th June, 1646 the Battle of Benburb was fought in the surrounding area between Scottish forces under General Robert Munro and a native force under General Eoghan Ruadh O Neill. The Scottish army was almost completely annihilated.
32. Benburb Village: The cliff above the Blackwater river was the site of the chief house of Shane O Neill (Shane the Proud/Sean án Diomais). Around 1609 the town and castle of Benburb, together with 2, 000 acres, were granted to Sir Richard Wingfield. In the 19th Century the Wingfield/Powerscourt family sold the estate to James Bruce and the current Benburb Manor House and village were developed by him.
33. Benburb Famine Distribution Centre: A ‘porridge house’ was set up here by the Lord Powerscourt during the time of the Great Famine (1845-1848).
34. Sessiamagaroll Fort: This hill boasts the best surviving example of a ring fort in an area.
35. Lough Curran: The lough has a defensive crannóg (artificial island) which was associated with Sessiamagaroll Fort.
36. Curran Village was an ancient settlement.
37. Garvaghy Clochan: Dr. Bernard Quinn (1728-1805), Parish Priest of Clonfeacle resided here.
38. Sessia Well, located in Garvaghy townland, is a very good spring well.
39.Birthplace of Harper Arthur O Neill: Arthur O Neill (1734-1816) ‘The Blind Bard of Tyrone’, who was appointed Professor of the harp by the Belfast Harp Society, was born here and is said to be buried in Eglish graveyard.
40. Carrowcolman: Dr. Thomas Reid (1791-1825) mentioned in his writing that there was a hamlet here in the early 1820s.
41. Stilloga: Several mills processing corn and flax were sited at Stilloga and Roan to take advantage of the power of the Oona river. Here in 1947 was unearthed, during turf-cutting operations, an ancient mether full of butter (now on display in Armagh County Museum).
42. Brossloy Mill: Pluck Mill at Brossloy employed many local men during the 1800s, which ensured that the townland’s population increased by 39% during the period 1841 to 1851 while Eglish generally lost 33% of its inhabitants.
* published with the agreement of The Eglish Historical Society