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Odc crest of arms.jpg
Omagh Coat of Arms
Omagh is located in Northern Ireland
Population 19,659 (2011 Census)
  • Fermanagh and Omagh
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town OMAGH
Postcode district BT78, BT79
Dialling code 028
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
  • West Tyrone
NI Assembly
  • West Tyrone
List of places
Northern Ireland
54°35′53″N 7°18′32″W / 54.598°N 7.309°W / 54.598; -7.309

Omagh ( from Irish: An Ómaigh meaning 'the virgin plain') is the county town of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is situated where the rivers Drumragh and Camowen meet to form the Strule. Northern Ireland's capital city Belfast is 68 miles (109.5 km) to the east of Omagh, and Derry is 34 miles (55 km) to the north.

The town had a population of 19,659 at the 2011 Census, and the former district council, which was the largest in County Tyrone, had a population of 51,356. Omagh contains the headquarters of the Western Education and Library Board, and also houses offices for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at Sperrin House, the Department for Regional Development and the Northern Ireland Roads Service at the Tyrone County Hall and the Northern Ireland Land & Property Services at Boaz House.


The name Omagh is an anglicisation of the Irish name an Óghmaigh (modern Irish an Ómaigh), meaning "the virgin plain". A monastery was apparently established on the site of the town about 792 CE, and a Franciscan friary was founded in 1464. Omagh was founded as a town in 1610. It served as a refuge for fugitives from the east of County Tyrone during the 1641 Rebellion. In 1689, James II arrived at Omagh, en route to Derry. Supporters of William III, Prince of Orange, later burned the town.

In 1768 Omagh replaced Dungannon as the county town of County Tyrone. Omagh acquired railway links to Londonderry with the Londonderry and Enniskillen Railway in 1852, Enniskillen in 1853 and Belfast in 1861. St Lucia Barracks were completed in 1881. In 1899 Tyrone County Hospital was opened. Today the hospital is the subject of a major campaign to save its services. The Government of Northern Ireland made the Great Northern Railway Board close the Omagh – Enniskillen railway line in 1957. In accordance with the Benson Report submitted to the Northern Ireland Government in 1963, the Ulster Transport Authority closed the Portadown – Omagh – Londonderry main line in 1965, leaving Tyrone with no rail service. St Lucia Barracks closed on 1 August 2007.

The Troubles

Omagh came into the international focus of the media on 15 August 1998, when the Real Irish Republican Army exploded a car bomb in the town centre. 29 people were killed in the blast – 14 women (including one pregnant with twins), 9 children and 6 men. Hundreds more were injured as a result of the blast.

Omagh after blast
The site of the Omagh bombing just minutes after the bomb went off.

In April 2011, a car bomb killed police constable Ronan Kerr. A group of former Provisional IRA members calling itself the Irish Republican Army made its first public statement later that month claiming responsibility for the killing.


Omagh taken from Strule Bridge
Omagh as seen from the Strule bridge. In the background is the Sacred Heart Catholic church.


These wards are only those that cover the town.

  • Camowen (2001 Population – 2,377)
  • Coolnagard (2001 Population – 2,547)
  • Dergmoney (2001 Population – 1,930)
  • Drumragh (2001 Population – 2,481)
  • Gortrush (2001 Population – 2,786)
  • Killyclogher (2001 Population – 2,945)
  • Lisanelly (2001 Population – 2,973)
  • Strule (2001 Population – 1,780)


The four hill churches (St Columba's COI), Omagh - - 754131
St. Columba's Church of Ireland in Omagh.

The town sprang up within the townland of Omagh, in the parish of Drumragh. Over time, the urban area has spread into the surrounding townlands. They include:

  • Campsie
  • Conywarren
  • Coolnagard Lower, Coolnagard Upper (from Irish Cúil na gCeard, meaning 'nook/corner of the craftsmen' or from Irish Cúl na gCeard, meaning 'hill-back of the craftsmen')
  • Crevenagh
  • Culmore (from Irish Cúil Mhór, meaning 'big nook/corner')
  • Dergmoney Lower, Dergmoney Upper (from Irish Deargmhuine, meaning 'red thicket')
  • Gortin
  • Gortmore (from Irish Gort Mór, meaning 'big enclosed field')
  • Killybrack (from Irish Coillidh Bhreac, meaning 'speckled wood')
  • Killyclogher (from Irish Coillidh Chlochair, meaning 'wood of the stony place')
  • Lammy (from Irish Leamhaigh, meaning 'place of elms')
  • Lisanelly (from Irish Lios an Ailigh, meaning 'ringfort of the stony place')
  • Lisnamallard (from Irish Lios na Mallacht, meaning 'ringfort of the curse')
  • Lissan (from Irish Liosán, meaning 'small ringfort')
  • Mullaghmore (from Irish Mullach Mór, meaning 'big hilltop')
  • Sedennan (possibly from Irish Sidh Dianáin, meaning 'Dennan's fairy mound')
  • Strathroy (from Irish Srath Rua, meaning 'the red strath' or from Irish Srath Crua, meaning 'hard strath')


Omagh Snow 2006
Snow is common in Omagh during the winter months. Shown here is the River Strule.
Omagh Flooding (1969)
One of the major floods of 1969, shown here on Drumragh Avenue.

An air temperature of −19.4 °C (−2.9 °F) was recorded once, and it remains the coldest air temperature ever recorded in Ireland. Omagh has a history of flooding and suffered major floods in 1909, 1929, 1954, 1969, 1987, 1999 and, most recently, 12 June 2007. As a result of this, flood-walls were built to keep the water in the channel (River Strule) and to prevent it from overflowing into the flood plain. Large areas of land, mainly around the meanders, are unsuitable for development and were developed into large, green open areas, walking routes and parks. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).

Climate data for Omagh
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 120
Source: Weatherbase


On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 19,659 people living in Omagh, accounting for 1.09% of the NI total. Of these:

  • 20.85% were aged under 16 years and 13.69% were aged 65 and over;
  • 51.27% of the usually resident population were female and 48.73% were male;
  • 71.32% belong to or were brought up in the Catholic Christian faith and 25.36% belong to or were brought up in a 'Protestant and other Christian (including Christian related)'denominations;
  • 36.97% had an Irish national identity, 33.97% had a Northern Irish national identity and 28.51% indicated that they had a British national identity (respondents could indicate more than one national identity);
  • 36 years was the average (median) age of the population;
  • 13.92% had some knowledge of Irish (Gaelic) and 4.30% had some knowledge of Ulster-Scots.

Population change

According to the World Gazetteer, the following reflects the census data for Omagh since 1981:

  • 1981 – 14,627 (Official census)
  • 1991 – 17,280 (Official census)
  • 2000 – 18,031 (Official estimate)
  • 2001 – 19,910 (Official census)
  • 2011 – 19,659 (Official census)

Places of interest

Tourist attractions

Glenpark Road - - 1503127
Glenpark Road. Heading south-west towards Omagh; to the left is the "Rest and be thankful" bench.
  • The Ulster American Folk Park near Omagh includes the cottage where Thomas Mellon was born in 1813, before emigrating to Pennsylvania, in the United States when he was five. His son Andrew W. Mellon became secretary of the US Treasury. The park is an open-air museum that explores the journey made by the Irish (specifically those from Ulster) to America during the 1800s. The park is famous for its large events during Easter, Christmas, Fourth of July and Halloween. It also hosts a major Bluegrass festival every year. Over 127,000 people visited the park in 2003.
  • The Gortin Glens Forest Park, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) north of Omagh is a large forest with many attractions, including a deer enclosure and many areas of natural beauty, including waterfalls, lakes, etc.
  • Strule Arts Centre opened in 2007 is good example of urban renewal in Omagh town centre. Creating a modern civic building, in a newly created public space reclaimed from the formerly disused area, between the River Strule and High Street.


  • Omagh boasts over 20 playgrounds for children, and a large amount of green open area for all the public. The largest of these is the Grange Park, located near the town centre. Many areas around the meanders of the River Strule have also been developed into open areas. Omagh Leisure Complex is a large public amenity, near the Grange Park and is set in 11 hectares (27 acres) of landscaped grounds and features a leisure centre, boating pond, astroturf pitch and cycle paths.


Omagh is the main retail centre for Tyrone, as well as the West of Ulster (behind Derry and Letterkenny), due to its central location. In the period 2000–2003, over £80 million was invested in Omagh, and 60,960 m2 (656,200 sq ft) of new retail space was created. Shopping areas in Omagh include the Main Street Mall, Great Northern Road Retail Park and the Showgrounds Retail Park on Sedan Avenue in the town centre. Market Street/High Street is also a prominent shopping street, which includes popular high street stores such as DV8 and Primark.

Omagh lower market street in 2001
Lower Market Street


Omagh - - 507071
Looking at the town's Bridge Street area from an elevated height at the college.

Former railways

Neither the town nor the district of Omagh has any railway service.

The Irish gauge 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) Londonderry and Enniskillen Railway (L&ER) opened as far as Omagh on 3 September 1852 and was extended to Enniskillen in 1854. The Portadown, Dungannon and Omagh Junction Railway (PD&O) reached Omagh in 1861, completing the Portadown – Derry route that came to be informally called "The Derry Road". The Great Northern Railway (Ireland) absorbed the PD&O in 1876 and the L&ER in 1883.

The Government of Northern Ireland made the GNR Board close the Omagh – Enniskillen line in 1957. The Ulster Transport Authority took over the GNR's remaining lines in Northern Ireland in 1958. In accordance with The Benson Report submitted to the Northern Ireland Government in 1963, the UTA closed the "Derry Road" through Omagh on 15 February 1965. Later the Omagh Throughpass road was built on the disused trackbed through Omagh railway station.

Bus services

The Omagh Bus - - 539651 crop
Ulsterbus in 2007 in Omagh Ulsterbus station.

Bus Services in Omagh are operated by Ulsterbus. The town has seven bus corridors that run daily.

Proposed railways

There are plans to reopen railway lines in Northern Ireland including the line from Portadown via Dungannon to Omagh.

Road connections

  • A32 (Omagh – Enniskillen – Ballinamore) (Becomes N87 at border)
  • A5 (Northbound) (Omagh – Strabane [and from here north-west to Letterkenny, via Lifford on the A38, becoming the N14 at the county border] – Derry)
  • A5 (Southbound) (Omagh – Monaghan – AshbourneDublin) (Becomes N2 at border)
  • A4 (Eastbound) (Omagh – Dungannon – Belfast) (A4 joins A5 near Ballygawley)
  • A505 (Eastbound) (Omagh – Cookstown)
  • The Omagh Throughpass (Stage 3) opened on 18 August 2006.

Major developments

Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus

The Department for Education proposed a plan to build Omagh's six existing secondary schools at the former 190-acre St Lucia Army Barracks, to form one large educational campus, with shared facilities, but with separate school buildings to enable each school to maintain their individual ethos'.

On 22 April 2009 at the inaugural Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus Steering Group meeting held in Arvalee School and Resource Centre, the Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane announced that funding had been allocated by the Department of Education and Strategic Investment Board Ltd to be used to develop exemplar designs and associated technical work for a Shared Educational Campus in Omagh.

Work on the development began in October 2013, with the first school, Arvalee School, and a proposed completion of 2019 has been put forward. The construction is said to be costing in excess of £120million.

OASIS Project

Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced in April 2013 that planning was approved for the Omagh Accessible Shared Inclusive Space (OASIS), a £4.5million facelift for Omagh's riverbank. The development is wholly funded by the European Union.

The project includes the construction of a new pedestrian bridge linked from Drumragh Avenue car park (beside the bus depot) to Old Market Place, a riverside walk, exercise areas, electronic information hub, artwork panels, games tables and fishing stands. It will also include the development of covered performance and stage area and a neutral civic space able to accommodate markets, concerts and general recreational activities partially occupying lands at Drumragh Avenue car park.

Artist's Impression of the OASIS Project, Omagh
An artist's impression of the OASIS Project

Construction for the project began in March 2014, and is expected to last 12 months. The steel bow arch foot and cycle bridge was put into place on 26 July 2014.

Woodbrook Village

Woodbrook Village is an age exclusive residential housing development for the people over the age of forty-five and consists of 30 small homes, 12 apartments and a community building. The project was approved in January 2010 but was delayed until 2015 due to a depressed housing market.

Religious buildings

Omagh Community House - - 70058
Omagh Community House

The following is a list of religious buildings in Omagh:

  • Christ the King (Roman Catholic)
  • Gillygooley Presbyterian Church
  • First Omagh Presbyterian
  • Independent Methodist
  • Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Omagh Baptist
  • Omagh Community Church (non-denominational)
  • Omagh Free Presbyterian Church
  • Omagh Gospel Hall (A company of Christians sometimes referred to as "open brethren")
First Omagh Church with a mantle of trees - - 1020671
Omagh First Presbyterian Church
Three Omagh Churches - - 1765246
Three Churches in view: Church Street Methodist, Sacred Heart RC, and St Columba's Church of Ireland.
The four hill churches (Trinity Presbyterian), Omagh - - 754121
Trinity Presbyterian Church, behind the Three Church view.


Notable residents or people born in Omagh include:


Gaelic games

The town has two Gaelic football clubs, Omagh St. Enda's, which plays its home games in Healy Park, and Drumragh Sarsfields, which plays its home games at Clanabogan.

Healy Park is the home of Tyrone GAA and the county's largest and main sports stadium located on the Gortin Road, has a capacity nearing 25,000, and had the distinction of being the first Gaelic-games stadium in Ulster to have floodlights.

The stadium now hosts the latter matches of the Tyrone Senior Football Championship, as well as Tyrone's home games, and other inter-county matches that require a neutral venue.


Omagh no longer has a top-flight local football team, since the demise of Omagh Town F.C. in 2005. Strathroy Harps FC are the only Omagh and Tyrone team to win the Irish junior cup twice in 2012 and 2013.


Omagh's rugby team, Omagh Academicals (nicknamed the "Accies"), is an amateur team, made up of primarily of local players.


Omagh Cavaliers Cricket Club located in Omagh.

Greyhound racing

A greyhound racing track operated from 1932 until 1940. The track was opened by the Duke of Abercorn on 25 May 1932 and racing took place at 'The Park' in the Showgrounds. It was organised by the Tyrone Greyhound Racing Association until 1940.


Omagh has a number of educational institutions at different levels. Omagh was also the headquarters of the Western Education and Library Board (WELB), located at Campsie House on the Hospital Road, before all local education boards in Northern Ireland were combined into the Education Authority in 2015.

Primary schools (elementary schools)

  • Christ The King Primary School
  • Gibson Primary School
  • Gillygooley Primary School
  • Holy Family Primary School
  • Omagh County Primary School (and Nursery School)
  • Omagh Integrated Primary School (and Nursery School)
  • St Mary's Primary School
  • St Conor's Primary School
  • Gaelscoil na gCrann Irish language Primary school (and Naíscoil – Irish language nursery school)
  • Recarson Primary School – Arvalee

Grammar/secondary school

  • Christian Brothers Grammar School
    Omagh College - - 78236
    Omagh College
  • Drumragh Integrated College
  • Loreto Grammar School, Omagh
  • Omagh Academy
  • Omagh High School
  • Sacred Heart College
  • Dean Maguirc College


  • Omagh College of Further Education

Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus

The Department for Education proposed to build Omagh's six existing secondary schools at the former 190-acre St Lucia Army Barracks, to form one large educational campus, with shared facilities, but with separate school buildings to enable each school to maintain their individual ethos'. In April 2009, at the inaugural Lisanelly Shared Educational Campus Steering Group meeting held in Arvalee School and Resource Centre, the Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane announced that funding had been allocated to be used to develop exemplar designs and associated technical work for a Shared Educational Campus in Omagh. Work on the development began in October 2013, with the first school, Arvalee School, and a proposed completion of 2019 has been put forward. The construction is said to be costing in excess of £120 million.

Notable people

Notable residents or people born in Omagh include:


  • John Meahan (1806–1902) - New Brunswick shipbuilder and politician, born and raised in Omagh
  • Alice Milligan (1865–1953) - Protestant Nationalist poet
  • Charles Beattie (1899–1958) – Auctioneer and briefly Member of Parliament


Images for kids

See also

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