Name and etymologyFintona is derived phonetically from the Irish name of the area, ''Fionntamhnach''; this is often translated to mean "white field" however other meanings have been recorded due to various English translations for "fionn" and "tamhnach". "Fionn" may refer to a colour that is described as white, bright, blonde or fair-coloured, while "tamhnach" may refer to a field, clearing, oasis, grassy upland or arable place in a mountain. In the past, the English spelling of the area has varied, with ''"Findonagh"'' in use as recently as 1937 in documents, while ''"Fentonagh"'' and ''"Fintonagh"'' were also in use in the 19th century. The current spelling of Fintona has been recorded as first used in 1774.
HistoryThe local area has been known to have had human activity for around 4000 years; there are many burial places, standing stones, stone circles and graves in the area around Fintona. The current village is developed from an fortress built in 1431 and is one of Tyrone's oldest settlements. Some time after the , by 1668 the dominant landowners in the area was the Eccles Family and their Manor House, which was located in what is nowadays Fintona Golf Club and Ecclesville Park on the Ecclesville Demesne, was built in 1703. As in many other parts of Ireland during the 19th Century, the expansion of the railway network saw the village connected with the rest of the country. There were two stations, (open 5 June 1853) and Fintona Junction (open 1 May 1856). Connecting the two stations was a horse-drawn tram which took passengers from the village to Fintona Junction railway station which was a stop on the which itself was part of the Great Northern Railway. Both stations closed on 1 October 1957.
Horse tramPossibly the most well known bit of history associated with Fintona was the horse-drawn (or "van" to the locals) that took passengers from Fintona railway station to Fintona Junction station one mile away. The name of the horse was always "Dick" regardless of gender. First class and second class passengers travelled inside while third class travellers sat exposed to the elements on the top. The tram made its last trip on 30 September 1957 when the to line closed, and with it, Fintona's rail links to the rest of . When retired, it was the second last existing example of a horse-drawn tram in public service in the , the only remaining one now being on Douglas promenade, . The "van" now lies at the Ulster Transport Museum. The legacy of the horse tram's service and identity to Fintona can be seen with the unique road signs welcoming you into the village, which includes an image or silhouette of the horsetram with "Dick" pulling the tram along with the driver, and a third person on board on the top of the tram.
GeographyFintona lies in the of Donacavey, in the south west of County Tyrone bordering . The parish was split between two historical - Fintona itself along with the majority of Donacavey was part of the barony while a northern portion of the parish lay in the barony of Omagh East. The village lies across several gentle hills, including Main Street whose centre lies on a hill summit and its ends at the feet of the same hill. There are small pockets of flat ground, mostly at the Ecclesville Demesne. By road distance, Omagh, the county town of Tyrone, lies north, Enniskillen is south-west, while and are east and south-east respectively. Towards the south-east about away, about half-way between Fintona and the village of , the land rises to the summit of Murley Mountain, (known better locally as "Fivemiletown Mountain", also occasionally known as "Stranisk Hill" after its local townland), which has a peak of . At this peak and the surrounding land are two close by wind farms, Lendrums Bridge (open 2000) and Hunters Hill (open 2008). A small river named the "Quiggery Water", whose source is located on the northern slopes of Murley Mountain, flows through Fintona with bridges crossing it at Kiln Street and Mill Street as well as just outside the village at a location known as the Carnlea crossroads. This river then joins with the Ballynahatty Water to form the Drumragh River, which in turn joins the in Omagh to form the .
ClimateLocated from the coastline, Fintona has an ( : ''Cfb''). Winters are normally cool to mild with morning s being a common occurrence, especially with settled weather. Summers are usually cool to moderate with high temperatures normally around the upper teens, with the warmest temperatures of the season rarely peaking at less than 24 degrees . Rainfall is common throughout the year with the wettest months between October and January, and the driest months being April and May. Rainfall in the later autumn, winter and early spring tends to fall as prolonged light or moderate showers while heavier, shorter bursts mixed with dry or sunny spells are more common in the summer months; in between these periods during the months of April, May, & September both kinds of showers can happen as conditions change quickly, with "four seasons in a day" weather often occurring. Sleet and showers happen occasionally, usually falling between the months of December and March though it can fall any time between October and May. Snow accumulation usually happens several times each year, though it rarely lies for more than three of four days and sometimes only for a few hours.
GovernmentFintona lies in the local authority area. Prior to the reorganisation of local government in Northern Ireland on 1 April 2015, Fintona was part of . For elections, Fintona lies in the ''Fintona'' . For district council elections the ward makes up part of the district electoral area of West Tyrone (not to be confused with the and constituencies of the same name) that elects six s via the . For elections to both the House of Commons at , and the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont, Belfast, the Fintona ward lies in the West Tyrone electoral constituency.
EconomyFintona is home to a number of small businesses that include two supermarkets, a GP clinic, a veterinary surgery, a restaurant and an optician among other smaller shops, cafes and pubs. A substantial amount of working residents however are employed at locations outside of Fintona, with Omagh and Enniskillen being common.
AgricultureFarming plays a key role in the economy of Fintona. Much of this is based involved meat and milk production, with some rearing particularly on higher ground. There are also some pig and chicken farms in the area. The land and climate does not lend itself to arable farming, but in the past some was grown, being produced to boost the of cattle feed. On higher ground near the summit of Murley Mountain, there are also peat bogs.
EducationFintona has two ; * Denamona Primary School ( Controlled) * St. Lawrence's Primary School ( Catholic Maintained) Both schools teach the Key Stages 1 & 2 (Years 1 to 7) to students between the ages of 4 to 11 years. St. Lawrence's P.S. also contains a nursery unit, accommodating children in the 3-4 year old age group. In April 2017, St. Lawrence's P.S. won the junior category of the School Choir of the Year, which was broadcast live on the radio station. Two other primary schools, St. Patrick's (townland of Garvallagh) and St. Joseph's (townland of Lisconrea), both Catholic Maintained, closed due to falling enrolments; St. Joseph's in 2003 and St. Patrick's in 2009. There are no post-primary schools in Fintona, children continue their education at schools usually either in , Dromore or Fivemiletown, while a few also attended schools in Ballygawley and .
Fintona LibraryFintona has its own branch library that was originally opened in the early 1980s in a prefabricated building in Ecclesville Park before moving to its current location on Main Street in 1991. In early 2011 the library was one of ten marked down by Libraries NI for closure, who claimed that the library was one of the least used in Northern Ireland and that the roof of the building required repair at a significant cost. A public consultation meeting in Fintona Golf Club on 3 March that year saw a strong local turn out calling for the retention of the library, while representations were also made to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure of the Northern Ireland Assembly. On 20 October 2011, Libraries NI announced that the Fintona branch library would remain open while efforts were made to either improve its current premises or find an alternative location in due course. It was confirmed in July 2013 that the library building would receive a full refurbishment.
TransportFintona today is linked to Omagh though the B122 that connects to the A5 Omagh to Ballygawley road about outside Omagh. Other roads linking Fintona to elsewhere include the B80 to Enniskillen (via ), the B46 to Dromore, the B122 to Fivemiletown, the B46 to Seskinore and , the B168 to and the Derrybard & Greenmount roads that connect to the A5 Omagh to Ballygawley road on to towards Belfast and Dublin.
Public transportThe only public transport available is an Ulsterbus bus service provided by Translink that connects Fintona to Omagh (Service No. 87). Seven services run on weekdays and five on Saturdays. There is no service on Sundays. Fintona had been connected to the railway network via Fintona and Fintona Junction stations on the Londonderry and Enniskillen Railway as mentioned in the history section above. These stations opened in the 1850s, but were closed in October 1957.
Sport and leisureThere are numerous sports clubs and facilities in Fintona which cater for a range of activities. Local clubs include Fintona Cycling Club, Fintona Badminton Club and two clubs. Partly thanks to the numerous public houses in Fintona, darts, pool and snooker also prove popular.
Fintona Golf ClubFintona Golf Club was founded in 1904 by C.W.L. Brown-Lecky and is located on part of the Ecclesville Demense. It is a nine-hole course which have twin tees allowing players a different challenge on their second time round. Ronan Rafferty rated it the best nine-hole course in Northern Ireland in a feature on the TV programme 'Ronan Rafferty's Great Golf Journeys'. The course includes a club house and a bar with a function room and catering facilities. In September 2021 the club won the All-Ireland AIG Women's Challenge Cup at Shandon Park in Belfast after defeating Gort in the Final.
Fintona Pearses GAA ClubFintona Pearses GAA club was founded in late 1916 and first played competitive games a year later. There was already a GAA club in Fintona at the time, the Davitts, which was founded in 1907 and won the in 1914 but the Davitts folded not long after the club started, whom themselves went on to win a Tyrone SFC title in 1938. The current club is based at its own grounds just outside the town on the Tattymoyle Road in the townland of Tonnaghbane, named 's Park which has undergone substantial redevelopment since the early 1990s which today includes two full-size pitches (one with floodlights), a smaller training pitch, a clubhouse with four changing rooms and two stands (one roofed). Gaelic Football teams are fielded at adult & underage levels along with teams at underage levels. A Ladies Gaelic Football club of the same name, fielding teams at adult and underage levels, also play their games at the same ground.
Fintona Swifts Football ClubFintona Swifts are a Junior Football Club that was originally founded in the early 1990s and affiliated to the Fermanagh & Western FA. Up until the 2010/11 season the team did not have a home ground in the village and was forced to play their 'home' games elsewhere, normally in Omagh. After years of discussions and stalling, the club finally had a permanent home in Fintona with a pitch based at the Ecclesville Demense opened in August 2010. In August 2015, the club was disbanded after withdrawing from the Fermanagh & Western Football League, a lack of player numbers cited as the reason for folding. A year later, the club was reformed and in its first season back won the Fermanagh & Western Division 3 League. A reserve team was reintroduced at the start of the 2019/20 season. For the 2021/22 season the first team will play in Division 2 of the Fermanagh and Western Football League while the reserve team will play in the corresponding Reserve Division 3 as well as entering the Fermanagh and Western FA Mulhern & Rehill cup competitions, and the IFA Junior Cup.
Ecclesville CentreBased within the grounds of the Ecclesville Demense, opened in 1995 the Ecclesville Centre is unique in the UK and Ireland in being a combined equestrian and community/leisure complex. The facility has proven popular not only among show jumpers and horse riders, but also for other sporting activities especially those based indoors. The equestrian end of the centre includes stables, an indoor arena with judges box and seated stand, and an outdoor facility that includes an outdoor floodlight arena, open parkland and the forest of the Ecclesville Demense. The leisure part of the centre includes a minor hall, a sports hall, changing rooms and a fitness suite with outdoor all-weather tennis courts also available. The centre is a popular venue for local and regional sports competitions including bowls, badminton and indoor football. At a community level the centre is the home of Fintona Cross-Community Youth Club and also a local Sure Start centre. The centre is also capable of holding children's parties with catering facilities & an inflatable bouncy castle. The centre has also been the venue for several special events and exhibitions since the early 2000s which have proven popular locally and beyond including farm machinery, sport & modified cars, transport, home & garden, and music concerts. The Northern Ireland National Charolais Show has in recent years been an annual fixture at the centre as has the Omagh and District Canine Club Dog Show.
ParksThe main public park in Fintona is at the Ecclesville Demesne, known as Ecclesville Park. The park itself has a play-area for children and all-weather football & basketball area used alongside the Ecclesville Centre, alongside walking routes, pond and forest. In 2014 additional work was done which extended the play-area and also added an outdoor gym. There are also children's play-areas at Mill Street, Ashfield Gardens and Denamona Court.
Places of worship
CatholicFintona lies in the Catholic parish of Donacavey, which is a part of the Catholic Diocese of Clogher. There is a single church serving the parish called St. Lawrence's, which is located outside the village next to Lisdergan Road. The church also has two nearby graveyards named "St. Peter's and St. Paul's" and "St. Lawrence's", as well as a called St. Patrick's that is located on Main Street in the village.
Christian BrethrenA group is based at Fintona Gospel Hall, located on the edge of the village on the Loughmuck Road.
Church of IrelandFintona lies in the parish of Donacavey, which is a part of the Church of Ireland Diocese of Clogher. The parish church is located next to the Ecclesville Road with a church hall lying across the same road, opposite the church. The church parish of Donacavey contains only part of the civil parish of Donacavey; the south western corner of the civil parish is served by a separate parish of Barr that has its own parish church. However, both parishes are covered by the same whom serves "Donacavey and Barr".
MethodistFintona Methodist Church lies on the Craigavon Road, next to the Fintona Presbyterian Church. It is part of the Omagh and Fintona circuit in the North Western district of the .
Methodist (Independent)Fintona Independent Methodist Church is located on Kiln Street and is an outreach ministry from its parent church in Omagh. It is part of the Fellowship of Independent Methodist Churches based in Northern Ireland.
PresbyterianFintona Presbyterian Church lies on the Craigavon Road next to the Fintona Methodist Church. A church hall lies behind the church building. It is part of the Omagh Presbytery in the .
Media and communicationsIn the late 1980s and early 1990s a monthly local news magazine, the ''Village Voice'', was published by the now defunct Fintona Development Association. The magazine covered news, features and activities in Fintona, Seskinore and Eskra. As of October 2021, local events in Fintona are often covered by Omagh-based newspapers, the '' Tyrone Constitution'', the '' '' and the '' ''. A branch is located inside Supervalu supermarket on the Tattymoyle Road with daily collections (inc. Saturdays). Local postcodes are normally in the form of BT78 2xx. An telephone exchange lies just outside the village on the Castletown Road, serving Fintona as well as Seskinore and much of Eskra and Tattyreagh. The STD code is 028 in common with the rest of Northern Ireland, with local numbers assigned by BT being in the format 8284xxxx. The exchange was enabled for broadband in September 2004 while the first Fibre to the Cabinet broadband services went live on 30 December 2010. Openreach Fibre to the Premises ( ) connections are also available at some premises. A Fibre to the Premises network operated by Fibrus also exists in Fintona, having come into service in August 2021. along with & radio can be received from the Brougher Mountain and Strabane transmitting station, Strabane transmitting stations, while similar Saorview, TV & radio services from the Republic of Ireland can also be received by most people in Fintona. Satellite television is also popular, usually through either Freesat or the Sky Digital (UK & Ireland), Sky subscription service. There are no Cable television, cable operators in the village.
DemographyFintona is classified as a village by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e., with population between 1,000 and 2,250 people).
2011 CensusOn Census day (27 March 2011) there were 1,164 people living in Fintona, accounting for 0.06% of the Northern Ireland total. Of these: * 17.10% were aged under 16 years and 16.41% were aged 65 and over. * 40 years was the average (median) age of the population. * 52.32% of the usually resident population were female and 47.68% were male. * 72.16% belong to or were brought up in the Catholic Christian faith and 26.55% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and other Christian (including Christian related)' denominations. * 35.22% indicated that they had an Irish national identity, 33.42% had a Northern Irish national identity and 31.62% had a British national identity (respondents could indicate more than one national identity). * 15.56% had some knowledge of Irish language, Irish and 3.15% had some knowledge of Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots. 4.05% did not have English as their first language (considering the populations aged 3 years old and over). * 8.07% of the population aged 16 to 74 years old were unemployed.
2001 CensusOn Census day (29 April 2001) there were 1,359 people living in Fintona. Of these: * 24.95% were aged under 16 years and 13.02% were aged 65 and over. * 34 years was the average (median) age of the population. * 51.66% of the usually resident population were female and 48.34% were male. * 72.26% belong to or were brought up in the Catholic Christian faith and 27.08% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and other Christian (including Christian related)' denominations. * 11.73% had some knowledge of Irish. * 5.94% of the population aged 16 to 74 years old were unemployed.
Census records in the 20th centuryRecords from the census conducted in 1911 and published in 1913 revealed the population of Fintona to be 1,107 in 1901 and 1,100 in 1911.
Census records in the 19th centuryThe population of the village of Fintona measured in the census between 1841 and 1891 varied slightly overall, with a peak of 1,504 persons in 1851 and a low of 1,271 in 1891. In the remainder of the Parish of Donacavey, population figures fell continuously from that recorded in 1841. ¹ ''Refers to population in the part of Donacavey that lay in the Barony of Clogher, excluding Fintona village.''
Fintona townlandAt , Fintona is the smallest townland in the civil parish of Donacavey. Census records from the period of 1841 to 1891 do not list population or house numbers for the townland, instead publishing such figures for "Fintona Town". The 1891 census records state "The town of Fintona stands on the townlands of Castletown, Edenasop West, Fintona and Lisky; its estimated area is 44 acres".
People*John of Fintona, ''Floruit, fl.'' late thirteenth century. *Gerry Armstrong (footballer), Gerry Armstrong, the Northern Ireland national football team, Northern Irish footballer, who scored three goals in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, 1982 World Cup grew up in Fintona. *Poet John Montague (poet), John Montague *Linguist Warren Maguire, author of the book ''Language and Dialect Contact in Ireland: The Phonological Origins of Mid-Ulster English''
See also*List of places in County Tyrone *List of towns and villages in Northern Ireland