Here are 15 reasons why Omagh and it’s nearby towns and villages are awesome:
1. The world’s largest deposit bank has its roots in Omagh.
The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation or BNY Mellon (with headquarters at 1 Wall Street, New York, NY) has US$1.6 trillion in assets under management and US$27.9 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration thereby being the largest deposit bank in the world. The bank formed as a result of the merger of The Bank of New York and Mellon Financial Corporation. Mellon was founded in 1869 by Thomas Mellon and his sons Andrew W. Mellon and Richard B. Mellon, as T. Mellon & Sons’ Bank. Thomas Mellon was born in 1813 at a farmhouse in Castletown, Omagh and the original family home now forms the centrepiece of the Ulster American Folk Park.
The Mellon family became principal investors and majority owners of Gulf Oil (founded 1901 becoming Chevron-Texaco in 1985), Alcoa (since 1886), The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (since 1970), Koppers (since 1912), New York Shipbuilding (1899-1968) and Carborundum Corporation, as well as their major financial and ownership influence on Westinghouse, H.J. Heinz, Newsweek, U.S. Steel, Credit Suisse First Boston and General Motors.
The family also founded the National Gallery in both art works and funds, claims one of the longest serving U.S. Treasury Secretaries, and is a patron to the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Yale University, the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti, and with art the University of Virginia. Carnegie Mellon University, and its Mellon College of Science, is named in honor of the family, as well as for its founder, Andrew Carnegie, who was a close associate of the Mellons.
2. Omagh man survives T-Rex attack
Sam Neill born in Mullaghmore House, Omagh to New Zealand parents played Dr Alan Grant in the original Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. Sam Neill also appeared in ‘The Hunt For Red October’ and ‘The Tudors’.
3. If you go down to the woods today…
The lyrics for The Teddy Bears’ Picnic were written by Jimmy Kennedy OBE born on the Brookmount Road in Omagh.
4. The D-Day Landings
Field Marshall Montgomery and General Dwight D. Eisenhower are said to have met in Omagh at Knocknamoe Castle on at least three occasions to plan the D-Day Landings. Legend has it that there was a military conference held there about one week or so before the D-Day Landings took place. When the castle was converted to a hotel in the 1960s two rooms were named ‘Eisenhower’ and ‘Montgomery’ to commemorate the meetings. Knocknamore was a centre of intelligence gathering and the US Army Headquarters for the area. Winston Churchill is also thought to have visited.
1 – BBC Your Place And Mine – GI’s in Omagh
2 – Ulster Herald – From Omaha to Omagh
3 – BBC Your place and mine – American Soldiers in Omagh during WW2
4 – BBC Your place and mine – Fecarry Range
5 – Haunted Tyrone
5. The shortest street
Omagh claims to have the shortest street on the island of Ireland, Michael Street – it can be found along the Brookmount Road – it’s just one house long, number 10.
6. European Song Contest Winner
Linda Martin was born in Omagh and started her career with an Omagh band called ‘Chips’. She went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1992 with the song ‘Why me?’.
7. First Official Usain Bolt Website
Widely regarded as the fastest person ever, Six Olympic Gold Medallist and Eight times World Champion, Usain Bolt had his first official website developed in Omagh by Jason Devine at Blackthorn Design.
8. Father Todd Unctuous
Gerard McSorley is another famous local actor from Omagh who has appeared in Braveheart, Angela’s Ashes, Omagh, The Constant Gardener, War Horse and Father Ted. He is also a descendant of John McSorley, who opened McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest operating pub in New York.
9. Radio 1 DJ
Phil Taggart a BBC Radio 1 DJ was also born in Omagh.
10. Philadelphia Here I Come…
Brian Friel was born in the village of Killyclogher, 2 miles west of Omagh. Friel is considered to be one of the greatest living English-language dramatists. He is best known for plays such as Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Dancing at Lughnasa but has written more than thirty plays in a six-decade spanning career. His plays have been a regular feature on Broadway throughout this time.
11. Benedict Kiely
Benedict Kiely, renowned novelist, short story writer and broadcaster spent his formative years in Omagh at St.Patrick’s Terrace after moving from the nearby village of Dromore (9 miles south west of Omagh) where he was born.
Not far from Omagh…
12. Our Willie
Willie Anderson was born in Sixmilecross (10 miles South East of Omagh). He made his international rugby debut for Ireland on the 10th November 1984. Between 1984-1990, Willie had a total of 27 Caps and scored 4 Test points & 1 Try.
Here’s an amusing snippet courtesy of Wikipedia:
In one of the most memorable moments in sporting history, Anderson along with his French Rugby counterpart Jean Condom, unwittingly became the subject of a very amusing banner spotted by TV cameras in the crowd during a 5 Nations rugby match at Landsdowne Road in Irelands championship campaign of 1985. The banner proudly read ‘Our Willies bigger than your Condom!’ Incidentally the match ended 15-15.
13. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York
John Joseph Hughes was born near Aughnacloy, County Tyrone – about 19 miles south of Omagh. John emigrated to America in 1817 where he eventually became the first Catholic Archbishop of New York. He laid the cornerstone of the famous Saint Patrick’s Cathedral located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The Rose Window in the Sacred Heart Church, Omagh is a memorial to John Hughes and was provided by parishioners who had emigrated to New York.
14. Declaration of Independence
John Dunlap from Strabane, County Tyrone (about 20 miles north of Omagh) was the printer of the first copies of the Declaration of Independence (called the Dunlap Broadsides) and one of the most successful American printers of his era.
15. President Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses Simpson Grant was the 18th President of the United States from 1869-77. Grant’s great-grandfather, John Simpson, was born between Ballygawley and Aughnacloy in 1738 – approximately 20 miles south of Omagh. Grant was the Commander of the victorious Union troops in the American Civil War. U.S. Grant served two terms as U.S. President. Grant’s Restaurant in Omagh is named after the Presidential connection.