Sarner International have been working with Mid Ulster District Council to undertake a masterplanning and feasibility study for one of the most significant historical sites in Ireland, The Hill of the O’Neill in Dungannon, an ancient bastion of power for over 400 years. The project aims to uplift the historic site onto the world stage as a new, cutting-edge immersive heritage destination that uncovers dramatic, poignant and engaging stories that shaped history and are still relevant to Ireland today.
The Hill witnessed many battles, sieges, feuds and dynastic disputes. For centuries the Hill has been at the center of the great upheavals in Irish history, from its earliest days as the headquarters of the famous O’Neill Dynasty until the Flight of the Earls and the Plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century. The Plantation was the point that marked the shift in Ulster from an ancient Gaelic tradition to a new Anglo-Scottish ethos. It was in effect, the beginning of another age in the history of Ireland, and, of course, of the Hill.
Building on this history, Sarner have been helping reinvent the attraction as one of the leading cultural heritage destinations in Northern Ireland, with a view to securing significant funding and ultimately unlocking its potential to attract a national and international visitor market.
The new attraction will transport visitors back to medieval Ireland and immerse them in stories of dynasties, power struggles and divided loyalties.
Outside on the Hill, visitors will be able to take in the panoramic views across Ulster as they stand on the high vantage point from where Hugh O’Neill commanded his kingdom. Then, using digital visualization techniques, the ancient empire of Hugh O’Neill will be brought to life before the visitors’ eyes.
Sarner’s Executive Creative Director, Mike Bennett, explains: “Over the centuries the site hosted a rich tapestry of internationally significant landmark historical events which were pivotal to the creation of Ireland we know today, with far-reaching significance. Sarner are honored to be entrusted with the task of helping to shape the next chapter of the Hill’s story.”