The story of the red hand on the provincial Ulster flag is gruesome. Its one Ive never seen written down anywhere but Ive always liked because its on my family heraldry and might be the origin of the word Row/Fight.

One day the O’Neill and the O’Donnell have a boat race on Lough Neagh to decide who will rule the province. Theyd been fighting for generations and all around them were properly sick of the “row” so the two kings decided the first one to touch the dock after rowing out to the middle of the lough would rule. The O’Neill took off fast and ploughed ahead to an early lead but on the way back the O’Donnell got his second wind and nosed ahead.

The O’Neill seeing he was going to loose cut his own hand off and threw it onto the dock “touching” it before the O’Donnell securing his rule. 

What a story. Lamh dearg abu


Where kings of Ulster 'were crowned': Site dig to begin

Archaeologists are to start digging next week at one of the most historically significant sites in Ulster where its former kings were crowned.

Tullyhogue Fort, near Stewartstown in County Tyrone, is on a hilltop with commanding views of several counties.

It was here, for centuries, that the O'Neill clan crowned its chief, effectively establishing him as the king of Ulster.

The dig is in advance of plans to improve access to the site, with better car parking and signage.

The coronation ceremonies were conducted on a great stone chair, called Leac na Rí. It was made up of a large boulder, reputed to have been blessed by St Patrick, with slabs fixed to the sides and rear. Read more.