OMAGH’S newly-completed Riverside Walk offers glimpses of a changing town centre which is soon set to be transformed even more dramatically.
It has long been accepted that our focus should switch increasingly towards the mighty resources offered by local rivers. This walk does just that with a gentle and enjoyable dander along the River Strule as it meanders its way out of the town on a journey towards the Mourne, the Derg and, ultimately, the Foyle system.
Park anywhere around the town centre, but, for an extra little bit of distance, the Strule Arts Centre is an ideal place to begin. This walk offers new views of some of Omagh’s most historic landmarks.
First is the Abbey Bridge, completed in 1900 and now a busy thoroughfare. Next up is the famous St Lucia Barracks, which really does dominate the landscape along this route.
Constructed in the 19th century for the garrison of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, this impressive stone building is now the focus of regeneration.
It will also take you along the side of the Showgrounds Retail Park, once famous for hosting Omagh Show and important soccer matches in the past, and St Patrick’s Park where Tyrone GAA teams of a different era once displayed their skills.
The footpaths along the route are well-maintained, and the extensive lighting makes the walk ideal for both the summer months and the long winter evenings.
An information board provides details about the local wildlife, trees, birds and fish and the route gives some idea of the huge expanse of space which has been earmarked for development as part of the Strule Education Campus and other plans for the future.
It’s also an ideal route for cyclists as well as runners and ultimately finishes up at either Hunter’s Crescent in the town or Strathroy. There, you’ll have the choice of lengthening your walk along any number of different road routes, or if you prefer just retrace your steps back to the Strule Arts Centre.
Whatever the decision, the Omagh Riverside Walk has huge potential to increase its popularity as this end of the town begins to enjoy a new lease of life in the coming decades.