Coal was being mined at Tullyniskan, in east Tyrone, by 1654 and it had been discovered at Drumglass in the 1690s. Then, in 1723, Francis Seymour, under a lease from the archbishop of Armagh, began mining from a 156 feet deep Engine Pit at Brackaville, later known as Coalisland. By 1834 the principal colliery at Drumglass had two steam engines, the largest (70 horsepower) was pumping water and the other (30 horsepower) wound the coal from a 384 feet deep shaft. The overall seam thickness was about 48 inches, including a shale parting of 12 inches.

The Tyrone coalfield never achieved what was expected of it, however, because severe faulting made mining difficult. Work had all-but ended by 1920.

In the Oligocene epoch of the Tertiary period (30 Ma) a vast swamp-forest stood in the area which in now Lough Neagh. Boring has revealed lignite, or ‘brown coal’, almost forty metres thick.

Further information:


Return to previous page