Omagh, County Tyrone

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Positioned on the river strule of rivers Drumragh and Camowen, Omagh is a large suburban town of county Tyrone. The town has anglicized its name from Óghmaigh, which in modern Irish is called Ómaigh, which is an Irish word for virgin plain. Omagh is twinned with East Kilbride, a large town in the West Central Lowlands of Scotland and L’Haÿ-les-Roses, a commune in the southern suburb of France. This largest county town of Northern Ireland is home to the headquarters of Omagh District Council, Western Education and Library Board.

In the early 16th century, the foundations of this ancient town were laid down. During the rebellion of 1641, this town served as an asylum for hermits who were deserted from the east of Tyrone. James II on this way to Derry halted at Omagh in 1689, when the Battle of the Boyne took place. However, the town was burned by his rivals, who were the supporters of William III, Prince of Orange. In the mid 17th century, Dungannon was replaced by Omagh as the county town of County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

Since then, numerous developments have taken place in the town. In 1853, several railway tracks were laid down, which linked the town to Derry, Enniskillen and Belfast. Later in the year, military barracks were constructed in the town accompanied by the establishment of Tyrone County Hospital. Omagh originated as a small geographical division of land in the parish of Drumragh. With substantial growth and development in the town, urban area sprang into the surrounding townlands. Today it comprises numerous townlands such as Conywarren, Gortmore, Killybrack, Lammyand Lisanelly to name a few.

The Ulster American Folk Park is one of the highlighting tourist attractions of the town. This park includes the cottage where Thomas Mellon is believed to have been born in 1813. With a visit to this open-air museum, tourists can explore significant aspects of the journey made by the Irish from Ulster to America. This ancient site also hosts numerous events during Easter, Christmas and Halloween. Every year, Bluegrass festival is organized in the premises of this park, which invites numerous visitors to witness this celebration. Another prominent place of visit in the town is The Gortin Glens Forest Park, which is located 16 kilometres from Omagh in the north. This sightseeing destination is a treat for nature-lovers, who can see waterfalls and lakes along with its scintillating natural beauty.

With recent developments in the town, Omagh has become an important centre for all retail activities for the county Tyrone and West of Ulster, including Derry and Letterkenny. The town boasts of numerous shopping centres located in the primary locations. Main Street Mall, Great Northern Road Retail Park and the Show grounds Retail Park are some of the prominent shopping areas. Omagh offers numerous facilities for sport enthusiasts. Rugby is one of the most popular sports of the town. Tourism in Omagh is growing at a fast pace. With establishment of numerous lakeside luxury hotels, well-connected roads and railways, shopping centres, the town is frequented by several vacationers.

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About the author

Originally from Scotland, Colin now resides near the beautiful seaside town of Portstewart on the Causeway Coastal Route. By day he works in IT and by day off he spends much of his time travelling around the Island with his young family, writing about his experiences for many sites both locally and nationally.