The name of Tyrone’s largest town, OMAGH, is synonymous with the worst single atrocity in the history of the Troubles when, on the afternoon of Saturday August 15, 1998, a five-hundred-pound car bomb, planted by the dissident Republican group the Real IRA, exploded on Market Street. Twenty-nine people died and more than two hundred were injured. Much of the eastern part of Omagh’s main street was devastated by the bombing and has since undergone major reconstruction. The area uphill to the west, originally thought to be the bombers’ target on the basis of their misleading warning, remained unscathed and contains two adjacent buildings that would grace any town – the fine classical courthouse and the irregular twin spires of the Catholic Sacred Heart Church. Though there’s little to see in the town itself, it’s a useful place to base yourself for exploring the area.
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