It is situated on a gentle eminence on the southern bank of the river Stroule, here known by the name of the Drumragh water, a branch of the Foyle, and consists of three principal streets with several smaller branching from them: many of the houses are large and well built; the streets are paved, but not lighted; and the inhabitants have but a scanty supply of water, as there are no public fountains or wells. It is now the county town, a distinction formerly enjoyed by Dungannon, but at what time the change took place has not been ascertained, farther than that it occurred previously to 1768. It contains 715 houses, of which 585 are of respectable appearance and slated. The communication between the parts of the town in the parishes of Drumragh and Cappagh is maintained by a fine bridge over the Stroule. A reading-room is furnished with newspapers, but not with periodicals or other literary works. The trade is very limited; the only manufactures are those of tobacco and of ale and beer, of which latter there is an extensive brewery, the produce of which has acquired some celebrity. The land in the vicinity is tolerably cultivated and well planted; the seats not noticed under the head of either of the parishes of which the town forms part, are New Grove, the residence of Sam. Galbraith, Esq.; and Mount-Pleasant, of the Rev. C. Cregan. The market, held on Saturday, is well supplied with provisions, and on alternate Saturdays brown linens are exposed for sale: a market-house was built in 1830, in which grain and vegetables are sold, and a very convenient range of shambles was opened in 1834. Fairs are held on the first Saturday of every month for all kinds of cattle. The assizes for the county are held here; as are the quarter sessions for the baronies of Omagh and Strabane, alternately with the town of Strabane. A court baron is also held every third Thursday for the manor of Audleston, at which the seneschal of the lord of the manor presides: debts to the amount of £4 are recoverable in it. The court-house is a large and handsome edifice, erected on the highest ground in the town: it has in front a fine portico of four Doric columns, with the royal arms in the tympanum: the stone of which the front is formed was raised from the quarries of Kirlis, eight miles distant. On the northern side of the town is the county prison, built in 1804, and enlarged in 1822, according to a plan adapted to the better classification of the prisoners: it has a tread-mill, which is not applied to any profitable use. To the north of the gaol are the barracks, originally intended for artillery, but now enlarged and fitted up for infantry, being the depôt and head-quarters of the north-west military district; they contain accommodations for a field officer, 7 other commissioned officers, 110 privates and 60 horses, with an hospital for 12 patients. Here is a chief constabulary police station, with a barrack. The county infirmary was established here in 1796, and though considerably enlarged in 1810, its arrangements being still considered imperfect, further additions are now being made to it; a building for a fever hospital is also in progress. A dispensary, established in 1831, is supported in the usual manner. The parochial church of Drumragh, in the town, is a large and handsome edifice, erected in 1777, by the Mervyn family, and enlarged in 1820 with a north aisle and galleries, at the expense of the parish: it is in the Grecian style, with a lofty tower and spire, built at the expense of Dr. Knox, late Bishop of Derry. In the town is a large and handsome R. C. chapel for the union or district of Drumragh and Omagh; there are also two meeting-houses for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, and two others belonging respectively to the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists. The male and female parochial schools, near the church, were built and are supported by the rector and parishioners: there is also a school in connection with the Board of National Education. No trace of the ancient abbey is now in existence, and even the locality of its site is matter of doubt: a small fragment of the ruins of Castle Mervyn is still visible on the side of a brook near the pound. Dr. John Lawson, author of "Lectures on Oratory," was born in this town, in 1712.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis