Cookstown , Northern Ireland

Cookstown is famous for having one of the widest and longest main streets in Ireland and the street was part of an ambitious plan to build a model town by an eighteenth century Tyrone landlord, William Stewart, which never quite got on the ground.  His descendants had more success with their building plans and enlisted John Nash, the famous English architect, to build Killymoon Castle.  The parklands surrounding the castle are now a popular golf course.

Ardboe Cross stands on the windswept shores of Lough Neagh on an early monastic site, ten miles from Cookstown.  Standing at over eighteen feet and dating back to the tenth century, the east and west sides are covered in twenty-two panels depicting Old and New Testament scenes.  An old graveyard nearby contains the Ardboe Pin Tree.  Believers hoping for a cure would hammer a pin or coin into the bark of the beech tree with prayers for restored health.  But those eager to prise out the coins or pins should remember that the disease the suffers hoped to cure was also said to come out with the coin.

Loughry Manor, outside Cookstown is famous for its agricultural college but the plantation mansion’s history stretches back to the eighteenth century and one famous guest was Jonathan Swift.  A close friend of the owner Robert Lindsay, he stayed in 1722 during the period he was writing Gulliver’s Travels.  Portraits of Stella and Vanessa, his friends and companions, hang in the Old Library.

Its also famous for its sausages !!! Once advertised by the great George Best !!!!!