Belfast & Northern Ireland

Gray's Printing Press

  49 Main St, Strabane, Co. Tyrone      (+44) (0)7188 0055     more than a year ago
It was at this 18th century printing business that President Wilson's grandfather James and John Dunlap, printer of the Declaration of Independence, learned their trade.

Behind the Press's original Georgian exterior is a museum with changing exhibits and local information including Strabane's early role as the printing capital of Ireland.

Beyond lies a cute cottage garden which leads to the Nationla Trust's exhibition on "The Power of Print".

Ulster's connection to the Declaration of Indepence doesn't end here.

Eight of the 56 signatories on July 4, 1776 were of Ulster-Scots descent.

But it was Dunlap, official printer to Congress, who had the honour of printing the first 500 signed copies and another Ulster-Scot, Colonel John Nixon, who delivered the first public reading in Philadelphia four days' later.

One final bizarre twist came on August 23 1776 when Belfast's News Letter, to this day the world's oldest English-language newspaper, became the first publication to break the story.

A copy of the declaration bound for King George lll had fetched up on Ireland's shores after hitting stormy waters off Derry.

Fortuitous or divine intervention? You be the judge.

  • Adult: £3
  • Child £2
  • Family £8.20
  • Groups: £2.50
  • Group visits outside normal hours: £4
  • Free to local museum
Opening hours: seasonal:
  • Tues-Sat, June: 14:00-17:00
  • Tues-Sat, July & Aug: 11:00-17:00
  • Last admission 45mins before closing


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Michael Harron

Paul is correct. In addition, Gray's Printers was not established until 1796, 20 years after the Declaration was printed.
Paul Billson

I am aware that Strabane Council have, for many years, claimed that John Dunlap served his apprenticeship to the printing trade at Gray's printers Strabane. However, since he was only ten years old at the time of his emigration it is most unlikely that this claim has any basis in fact. It is stated in his biography that he learned his trade in Philadelphia under his uncle.
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