Omagh ( or ; – ) is the county town of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is situated where the rivers Drumragh and Camowen meet to form the Strule. The district, which is the largest in the county, had a population of 51,356 at the 2011 Census. Omagh also contains the headquarters of Omagh District Council and the Western Education and Library Board. The town is twinned with East Kilbride (Scotland) and L'Haÿ-les-Roses (France).
The name Omagh is an anglicisation of the Irish name an Óghmaigh (modern Irish an Ómaigh), meaning "the virgin plain". A Franciscan friary was built on the site of the town in about 792 AD. Omagh was founded as a town in 1610. It served as a refuge for fugitives from the east of Tyrone during the 1641 Rebellion. In 1689, the same year as the Battle of the Boyne, James II arrived at Omagh, en route to Derry. Supporters of William III, Prince of Orange, burned the town.
In 1768 Omagh replaced Dungannon as the county town of County Tyrone. Omagh acquired railway links to Derry in 1852, Enniskillen in 1853 and Belfast in 1861. The military barracks were built in 1881. In 1899 Tyrone County Hospital was opened. Today the hospital is the subject of a major campaign to save its services. The Government of Northern Ireland made the Great Northern Railway Board close the Omagh – Enniskillen railway line in 1957. In accordance with The Benson Report submitted to the Northern Ireland Government in 1963, the Ulster Transport Authority closed the – Omagh – Derry main line in 1965, leaving Omagh with no rail service. St Lucia Barracks in the town closed on 1 August 2007.
Visitors to Omagh have included Queen Elizabeth II, Charles, Prince of Wales, former US president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton, Irish president Mary McAleese, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Omagh came into the international focus of the media on 15 August 1998, when the Real Irish Republican Army exploded a car bomb in the town centre. 29 people were killed in the blast – 14 women (including one pregnant with twins), 9 children and 6 men. Hundreds more were injured as a result of the blast.
In April 2011, a car bomb killed police constable Ronan Kerr. A group of former Provisional IRA members calling itself the Irish Republican Army made its first public statement later that month claiming responsibility for the killing.