Cookstown is a small town in County Tyrone.
Cookstown is found directly in the centre of Northern Ireland and is easily accessible from all parts of the country. It can be accessed by car via the M1 or M2. M1 travellers should follow signs for the west, followed by Dungannon towards the end of the motorway. Dungannon is only 10 miles away and Cookstown is signposted form here on. Travellers on the M2 should follow the signs for Cookstown/ Magherafelt. Once of the M2 follow the Toome ByPass until you arrive in Magherafelt, from here Cookstown is just 10 miles away and is well signposted.Buses are available from all over Northern Ireland and indeed Dublin (The Portrush expess from Dublin makes a stop in the town). Some services may not be direct but you can get on a bus to Magherafelt, Dungannon or Omagh and from here there are regular bus services to Cookstown.
The three main airports of Belfast International, George Best City, and City of Derry are all within an hours drive of Cookstown. Buses can be taken from these airports to either Derry or Belfast and from here you can hop on another bus to Cookstown. during certain seasons buses can be got direct to the town.
Cookstown is a good sized town and the best way to get around the town is to coordinate yourself around the longest street in Ireland, Cookstown's main street, which is approximately 2 miles long. It is situated on a north-south axis and forms the centre and the framework of the town.
If you wish to explore the surrounding villages, buses will leave the central bus station several times a day and take you to the local villages for about £2.50. Local taxis can be ordered at your hotel that will take you to the local sights and will happily return to collect you again as you please. Taxis are resonably priced and the folk that drive them are very friendly.
Cookstown offers anyone who visits beautiful local scenery. Standing at the centre of the town, you can witness the beautiful Sperrin mountains overlooking the town while you shop at Cookstown's Saturday Market in the thriving main street.
Ardboe Old Cross and St. Colman’s Abbey is a national monument dating from the 10th Century. It is believed to be the first high cross of Ulster, standing at 18.5 feet high and 3.5 feet wide, with 22 panels depicting various Biblical scenes. There are also remains of a church and an abbey.
The Broughderg area is remote and peaceful and is renowned for its unique archaeological remains. The scenery includes the Coneyglen Valley and Davagh Forest with its walks and extensive blanket bog. Particularly well known sites are Dun Ruadh, the Ogham Stone and the Beaghmore Stone Circles. Archeaologists believe that Beaghmore Stone Circles date back to around 1500BC. There are 7 stone circles and alignments along with several cairns on this spectacular preserved site.
Derryloran Old Church and Graveyard was built in 1622 replacing an old church on the same site. In around 1820, a new church was built on a site closer to town. It was designed by John Nash (although this structure was substantially demolished and rebuilt to designs by Welland) and built from hewn stone in simple "First Fruits" Gothic style with a pinnacle tower, plain spire and vaulted vestibule. The interior is dignified but rather dour with little decoration. Some of the graves in Derryloran graveyard date back to the early 17th Century. Other churches in the town were mainly constructed in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The largest, the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity was designed by the prolific Irish architect JJ McCarthy and was constructed between 1858 and 1860. Its soaring West Tower and spire are the tallest buildings in town and are a foamous local landmark. The interior of the church (much altered in 1981) is dominated by the huge eastern window manufactured by Hardman's of Birmingham. The Church has been extensively renovated in 2010/11 and is due to be reopened for Christmas 2011
On an imposing hilltop encircled by trees some 2 miles south/south east of Cookstown and on the outskirts of Tullyhogue village is the site of the mystical Tullaghoge Fort, prominently standing testimony to Tyrone's illustrious past. It was here on this hilltop enclosure that the ruling members of each generation of the Cenel nEogain (later to be known as ‘The O’Neills’) were inaugurated from the 11th Century to the end of the 16th Century. The Uí Néill (O’Neills) founded their headquarters at Tullaghoge early in the 11th century and it continued as the ceremonial seat of the kings of Tír Eoghain even after the O’Neills transferred their court to Dungannon at the end of the 13th century.
The picturesque boating and tourist facility at Ballyronan Marina incorporates a picnic area, playpark and beach area. To compliment these facilities there is also a special Woodland Nature Trail 'Ballyronan Wood' with a variety of pathways, viewpoints and information signage, highlighting the natural beauty of the area.
Coyle's Cottage is a 250 year old fishermans cottage. Listed in 1991, restored and officially opened in May 1993. Muintirevlin Historical Society presently maintain the cottage and use it as a meeting place. It is open to visitors each Sunday, May - September from 3PM-6PM.
The Drum Manor Estate is picturesque all year round with shrub, butterfly and Japenese gardens, arboretum, ponds and mixed woodlands. Waymarked trails of varying length commence at the car park and form a circular route. A gentle trail has been adapted for the less able bodied visitor in mind. The ruins of the original Manor (1861) have been adapted to incorporate a Japanese garden.
Killymoon castle is sited on a raised north terrace slope overlooking the Ballinderry River. It is mainly quadrangular in design incorporating the rare early instance of the use of round headed, sub-Romanesque openings. It was built to designs of John Nash between 1801 and 1803 incorporating much of the ruins of the former Castle which had been burnt in 1801 for James Stewart, a local MP and cost the then unthinkable sum of £80,000.00. Having passed through the hands of several families after the demise of the Stewarts in 1851, it was purchased by the present owners in 1922 for the princely sum of £100. It remains a private residence and has no public access.
Wellbrook Beetling Mill is situated in a picturesque wooded glen on the banks of the Ballinderry River. Beetling was the last stage in the manufacturing of linen, and Wellbrook is the last working Beetling Mill to survive in Ireland. The Mill, which was constructed in 1830, has a 16 ft water wheel which is powered by the adjacent Ballinderry River.
Springhill House is a beautiful 17th Century manor house. It was built in about 1680 and was home to ten generations of the influential Lenox-Conyngham family. Considered to be the 'prettiest house in Ulster' this National Trust property with woodland walks and award winning Costume Museum offers visitors entertaining and informative guided tours. A new model village was opened in 2007 to compliment the attraction.
Set in wild mountain scenery, Lough Fea is one of many delightful lakes dotted throughout the Sperrins Region. Covering 180 acres this natural beauty spot is an angler's dream and also supplies the entire area and beyond with fresh water. The 4.15 km (aprox 1 hour) walkway around Lough Fea is a haven for local walkers and tourists alike.
Without a doubt, Cookstown is the place for shopping. It has an abundance of high street names and brands side by side with local retailers. There are also two superstores in the town, ASDA and TESCO. The town also has various retail plazas and parks,
Station Square Retail Park, including ARGOS EXTRA, CARPET RIGHT, LIDL and HARRY CORRY, along with the fabulous Paragon Chinese Restaurant
Gortalowry Retail Park beside ASDA, TURKINGTONS and TILE MARKET are the first to set up store here
Broadfields Retail Park, Tesco, Homebase, Next, Tempest, New Look and Peacocks are the first batch of 10 new retailers to set up here. Marks and Spencer SIMPLY FOOD and Cafe Revive are also now open on this site with many more to come. The newest part of the reatil park has opened with Halfords and B & M discount store the first to enter.
Molesworth Place Shopping Centre, this shopping centre is a vibrant glass fronted building built on the former market yard site. Heaton and Sports direct are the first to enter this the newest of Cookstowns retail parks.
It is impossible to forget about the main street, hundreds of shops line 2km of the town. Many high street names such as InterSport, Boots, DV8, Subway, O'Briens, Heatons, GINO/nv, Menarys, Birthdays, Thomas Cook, Tom Morrow... well the list goes on, these shops are dotted throughout the street alongside the independent retailers, giving shoppers in Cookstown the Best of Both Worlds!
The town also comes alive during Saturdays when the famous shopping market is held in the town. The market was established by Royal Patent of Charles I in 1628. This is one of the main shopping attractions in Cookstown as it is one of the few towns left in Northern Ireland to still hold a weekly market of this scale. There is always plenty of entertainment with jugglers, face painting, ballons and other free shows organised by Cookstown District Council to revitalise the market.
Cookstown is growing very fast, with major plans in place to improve the visitors experience, of course there really is no need because there is plenty of things to do at the minute! The town currently has its own advertising campaign to aid the town with its ambition to become "The Capital of Mid-Ulster" by 2012.
Cookstown- Looking Good... Looking Great!!!
Otter Lodge - A rather charmless but nonetheless very popular restaurant. Offers great food in an intimate atmosphere at their riverside location, though table service is not available.
Glenavon Hotel - The Cellar Restaurant offers a daily carvery lunch which, whilst uninspiring, is good value. Informal Dinner is served in the evenings from a wide modern menu whilst on Sundays, the sunday carvery is locally very popular. The Cellar has recently been renovated and offers a host of new dishes on their extended menu.
Greenvale Hotel - Distinctly lack-lustre restaurant offering dinner from an often limited and always unoriginal menu. For those wanting something more cheap and cheerful they can choose the Loft upstairs in the greenvale for basic but nice food
Royal Hotel - Restaurant offering lunch and dinner daily. The Squires Lounge also hosts a bar menu.
Tuulylagan Country House Hotel - Choose from Harry's Bistro or the Wine Bar, both have won awards from the likes of Flavour of Tyrone and Taste of Ulster.
Bistro 24, Great food, in modern, comfortable surroundings. This restaurant deserves a visit
Mandarin Chinese Buffet - All you can eat buffet for a great price, very popular restaurant located in on of the old Railway Stations with a great selection
Bengal Spice - New Indian restaurant on the Burn road in the heart of the town centre
Dragon Garden - chinese restaurant recently relocated to the classic Gaslight premises
The Braeside - located on about 2 miles outside Cookstown
The Tilley Lamp - located in the village of Ardboe to the eat of the town, great food in a lovely setting
Tai Pan - offering oriental, asian and western quisine
The Mint Cafe Bar
Mocha (Burnavon Complex)
The Drapers Arms
Cafe Revive @ M&S
Over 10 take-away Chinese's
Various Indian restaurants
Mint cafe Bar - New bar just opened in the close of 2007, modern pub with an airy feel to it.
Salt Nightclub - located on the upper floors of the Mint this new club has hosted serveral big names such as Mr Hudson, Five and S Club
Oldtown Inn - Nice food
Martins Bar - Typical pub with approachable bar staff and good draught beer. Great for a breather from the shopping-nice to chill out.
The Railway - Probably has one of the youngest crowd's in cookstown, I would avoid if your over 21.
Glenavon Hotel- Sense Nite Club, has three floors offering different music styles from dance to chart. There is usually a live band on during special nights. Big names have included the likes of Cascada, Wretch 32 and Aggro Santos. This is the largest club in County tyrone and one of the biggest in Northern Ireland. The night club is in Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights for students
Glenavon Hotel- The Cellar Bar
Clubland - Cookstown's infamous club rebranded as Heaven boost's guest visit's from Jordan and Gary Lucy. Big DJ names have played here from Lisa Lashes to Freddie Le Grande and BBC Radio 1 hosted a night here just after the millennium with Judge Jules. Opened every Friday and Saturday, and Monday's for students (at particular times of the year) for you to dance away to the small hours.
Black Horse Bar- very young crowd, great craic!
The Thatch- offering a traditional Irish Pub feel and a warm welcome to everyone
Royal Hotel- Squires Lounge
Greenvale Hotel- The Loft Bar
GreenVale Hotel- V @ The Vale Nite Club
Conway Inn (Chapel/Church Street)
Dunleath Bar (Church St)
The Central Inn (Town Centre)
The Cartwheel (Town Centre)
The Belfast House (Town Centre)
Miltys (Town Centre)
Irish National Foresters (Chapel Street)
Mulligans Bar (Chapel Street), fantastic bar offering live bands and a great atmosphere, gets quite busy at the weekend with young and old alike. Great sports bar too with tributes to all the local sports.
Glenavon House Hotel ***/****- situated on the drum road this outstanding complex offers the guests one of 62 en-suite bedrooms, some with balcony and river view, along with two great restaurants, three bars, a large nite club, weekly entertainment and a large leasure, health and beauty complex.
Greenvale Hotel **- on the drum road, this is an old victorian house completely transformed into a bright and modern hotel with great factilities! two restaurants, two bars and a nightclub are just some of the services
Royal Hotel **- just on the outskirts of the town centre, offers the guests a choice of two great restaurants, superb location, a great bar and friendly staff
Tullylagan Country House Hotel ***- just on the southern outskirts of the town, this hotel is the perfect setting for visitors, set on a large privatly owned site the manor house has been extened into a great hotel, with two restaurants, a wine bar, a normal bar and all the amenities you need for a great stay. the grounds are amazing, with gardens, manor houses, stables and a river.
The Central Inn B&B- right in the middle of the town. Dead on.
The Belfast House B&B- right in the middle of the town
There are many B&Bs and cottages throughout the district, please visit the Cookstown site for a full list, (www. cookstown. gov. uk)
Cookstown district Council
Cookstown Tourist Information Centre
Discover Northern Ireland
Go back the way you came :)
Enjoy your stay in Mid-Ulster's Capital Town