In 2022, Omagh topped a study as the happiest place to live in Northern Ireland, together with the neighbouring county of Fermanagh. It was something that locals already knew, with this bustling market town boasting all the conveniences of modern-day life while still exuding traditional, old-world charm. It’s not only Omagh’s attractive architecture and great choice of cafes and restaurants that make it such a great place to live but the town lies on the doorstep of the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If you’re planning on visiting Omagh during a visit to Northern Ireland, the town boasts a wide choice of accommodation to suit all budgets. A good first port of call is a holiday rental website such as https://rentola.co.uk where you’ll find everything from spacious cottages and terrace homes to compact apartments with all the modern conveniences. They all share one thing in common – they provide a comfortable base for discovering what it is that makes Omagh such a wonderful place to call “home”.
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Things to do in Omagh
Visit the Ulster American Folk Park
Take a step back in time at the Ulster American Folk Park, an open-air museum that tells the story of Irish emigration from the United States during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It comprises more than 30 historic buildings that include thatched-roof cottages, a former bank and a police barracks where costumed staff illustrate traditional trades and jobs. In addition to stepping aboard an emigrant ship, you can taste pioneer Irish-American foods and browse the goods for sale at a recreated general store. One of Ulster American Folk Park’s highlights is the whitewashed boyhood home of the Irish-American businessman, Thomas Mellon.
Admire the Abingdon Collection
Near the Ulster American Folk Park is the Abbingdon Collection, which showcases classic cars, radios and vintage signs collected over five decades. Not only can you get up close to a 1978 Porsche and a Harley Davidson Low Rider but you can browse the beautifully restored jukeboxes, model vehicles and auto memorabilia on display. The Abingdon Collection also features a celebrated collection of wartime artefacts, including objects from the trenches of World War I and rare artefacts from World War II. The exhibit serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by so many, both on the battlefields and back home.
Take in a show at the Strule Arts Centre
Home to the Omagh tourist information office, this multi-purpose venue overlooks Townhall Square on the banks of the Strule River. Opening to the public in 2008, it comprises a 384-seat auditorium, museum exhibitions and a gallery space. Theatrical, music, dance and comedy performances are regularly held at the centre, as are workshops in a variety of arts and crafts. During your visit, you can relax over lunch at the Strule Cafe, which offers lovely views across the river.
Catch a game at Healy Park
With the capacity to seat more than 17,000 spectators, Healy Park serves as the sporting heart of Omagh. It hosts home games of Omagh St. Enda’s and the Tyrone County Board, making it one of the top destinations for watching Gaelic football in Northern Ireland. If you’re not sure of the rules, there’s no need to worry, with plenty of passionate fans who will guide you through the ups and downs of the game. Afterward, you can refuel with fish and chips from Mollie’s Takeaway & Diner just across the road.
Explore Gortin Glen Forest Park
Serving as a gateway to the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this scenic park lies a short drive north of Omagh. It’s a beloved recreational destination for locals, with barbecue facilities, a children’s play area and several nature trails to explore. One of the most popular is the Mullaghcarn Trail, which connects to the “Guardian of the Sperrins” sculpture. In addition to the park’s mountain biking trails, there’s a five-mile drive that offers magnificent views across the Sperrin Mountains.
Dine at one of Omagh’s many restaurants
One of the reasons Omagh is such a great place to live is its fantastic choice of eateries, which range from stylish bistros to quirky cafes and traditional pubs. If you’re health conscious, you’ll love the menu at The Kitchen, or you can feast on traditional Irish fare at the Sperrin Restaurant & Steak House. The Coach Inn Bar offers a diverse array of dishes that cater to most dietary requirements while Rexy Jacks specialises in barbecue favourites such as burgers and ribs.
In the wood-panelled dining room at Grant’s, you can expect high-end cuisine served with flair, with its timber booths adding a touch of intimacy for romantic dinners. The Millstone Bar & Restaurant does everything from curries to stir-frys and beer-battered fish and chips while La Gondola is the place to go for Italian fare. If you’re just after a drink, you can take your pick from The Blind Cobbler, Bogan’s Bar and Top of the Town, to name just a few of Omagh’s pubs.