Well the first thing I should say is that I was rather alarmed to have been stopped by the police for taking photos of the courthouse. When I said that I didn’t know it was not allowed to take photos of the building they said that although I could take photos of anything, given the heightened security situation here with a 400llb bomb found in Belfast saturday night and shots fired at the polce the same night, they had to be vigilent.
In any case it does seem somewhat voyeuristic taking photos here but, sadly, the town is really only known for one thing “abroad” – the brutal killing of 29 innocent civilians of all religious and political persuasions, all ages and many natioanities….by a car bomb planted in the High Street one Saturday the 15th August 1998 afternoon in as a desperate attempt by fringe republicans to hijack the “peace process”. This was the last massive attack and perhaps the worst of the entire conflict?
It is worth quoting a report from the time of the bomb: “The Omagh fatality list reads like a microcosm of troubles deaths, and left no section of Irish life untouched. The town they attacked is roughly 60-40 Catholic-Protestant, and the dead consisted of Protestants, Catholics, a Mormon and two Spanish visitors. They killed young, old and middle-aged, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and grannies. They killed republicans and unionists, including a prominent local member of the Ulster Unionist Party. They killed people from the backbone of the Gaelic Athletic Association. They killed unborn twins, bright students, cheery shop assistants and many young people. They killed three children from the Irish Republic who were up north on a day trip. Everyone they killed was a civilian. The toll of death was thus both extraordinarily high and extraordinarily comprehensive.”
Today the town appears to have recoved and all apears “normal” except in the rest of the UK you would not expect to be stopped in a High Street for taking photos?
The photos below show:
1. Omagh Memorial Garden – the perpendicular things represent the people killed.
2. Message in the Memorial Garden
3. The spot where the car bomb exploded
4. The High Street today
I have to say I do feel uncomforable about visiting this place…..
Returning to Belfast to fly home at 6.30pm BFN