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16 October 2014
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Omagh's 19th century gaol

Opened in 1804, apparently most of the inmates were debtors. The Gaol was also the scene of several public hangings.
Article by Brian Willis.

armagh's Gaol

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YOUR RESPONSES

Roddy Breslin - July '08
As a member of Northern Ireland Paranormal Society (NIPS) Myself and other's carried out investigations in the hospital part of Omagh Jail back in July 2005.
We managed to capture some very strange things on video-cams, like three times we had things thrown at us and we also captured some strange lights, known in the world of the paranormal as orbs.
NIPS are now making a new program with the BBC called Haunted Ireland and it will go on air in January 2009.
We are picking out places of historic interests and was wondering if the old Omagh jail would be worth a look at sometime in the future?
Yours Faithfully Roddy Breslin, Lead Investigator, Northwest NIPS.

Ray Kerr from Regina, Saskatchewan. Canada - Feb '07
Very interesting site.I love the old buildings .I was surfing the web I am doing a family history of my g-greatgrandparents Michael kerr/Mary Quinn of clonfeacle-Carrowcolman 1860 s My greatgrandfather was also a Michael Kerr born July 1864 at Eglish/Dunngannon?? to Michael Kerr / Mary Quinn. My great grandfather Michael kerr married a Mary Foster of Andraid near Randalstown they emigrated to Ellis Island, NY May 1893 on the ship City of Rome.They went to Melita, Manitoba.Canada 1894 then Indian Head, Saskatchewan.Canada 1905.Michael died 1957 at Regina, Saskatchewan>canada Sincerely Raymond Kerr 43 Walden Cres Regina, Saskatchewan.Canada S4N - 1L1

Joan Leathem (Indonesia) - Sep '06
I was wondering if there are any records available regarding employees? I was told my GGG grandfather William Brown worked there.

Kevin J Taylor (Omagh) - Aug '06
Let me say to Ryan Woods that the owner of the goal house agrees totally with him and is willing to see this renovated. However he is receiving no help from anyone and has spent a lot off his own money getting maps drawn out. Perhaps you would like to set up a committee to process this now that the St lucia site is becoming redundant.

Kenny Allen, Omagh - July '06
It is a pity that all these details may be lost and the Council is so unhelpful. My picture of the Governor's House is on the www.geograph.org.uk site and the direct link to is is http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/51606. I have taken over 450 pictures of Omagh town (some include well known writer's and poet's residences) and several thousand of the surrounding countryside.

Another famous villan was Thomas Hartley Montgomery who murdered William Glass see http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/126442 He was executed on August 26, 1873 and was the last man to be hanged in Omagh jail.

Ryan Woods - Oct 05
It would be of benefit to the people of Omagh, and County Tyrone, to have this establishment opened to the public. It was, and will remain, a monument to the history of Omagh. To see this property in private hands does little in promoting the history of Omagh. When i was in Primary School, my class visited this site, and the memories are now vague. Those memories could be restored not only to myself, but also to our older generation, and to those who are currently progressing through Primary Schools in Omagh, and the surrounding catchment area. Is it right to let a focal point such as the gaol, especially with its location to the centre of Omagh reside in private hands? I do not argue with the fact of the Gaol being a private residence, and I understand the need for privacy, however, it must also be pointed out, the Gaol was there before the present owner, therefore, buying it for private residence only removes its existence from public heritage. It is easy to say that it still part of the heritage of Omagh, but when the people of Omagh cannot view it as a museum, it takes away the importance of history. This in turn has a knock-on effect, as a privately owned property, how much tourism is gained in contrast to that which is lost? I believe it should be opened to the public as a museum, and restored to a former vision, in order to promote local history, and create another focal point for tourism. If the History Park was too far out of town, and the Ulster American Folk Park is on the outskirts of the town, what could be the potential revenue for the Gaol, as it is in the immediate location of the twon centre?

Dessie Campbell - October '05
Does anybody know of any demolition of parts of the old gaol, as it is believed that an old barn at a farm on the outskirts of Omagh was built with stone from the gaol. This barn is at least 100 years old.

Gerard Mc Gettigan - July '05
According to an old copy of Deeds in my possession "Tyrone County Jail" was sold by The County Council on the 07/02/1910 to William F. Porter (an uncle of Tim Sproul ) for the sum of six hundred and sixty pounds.

A.C. Hynds - April '05
Very interesting and informative, yet sadly short, article on Omagh Gaol. Would love to see a detailed history of Belfast Jail at Crumlin Road.

Kenneth Allen - March '05
I went up to Gaol Square yesterday to get a view of the new retail park in the site of the former Omagh showgrounds. Although it was an ordinary Sunday afternoon, the place was buzzing with shoppers and cars were queuing to get in to park. When I was there I managed to take several pictures with my digital camera and I also got a shot of the old governor's residence. The place is very much dilapidated and the grounds are littered with debris. There are outbuildings which are in a poor state of repair. I remember the Murrays living there and I believe that Nicky Murray is still about Omagh. He used to fix up vintage cars. I was told by a neighbour that there is an eccentric Australian living in the house now and he cannot be approached, this I cannot verify. It's a pity that here is a bit of heritage on our doorstep and nothing can be done to preserve it.

Rosalind McKnight, nee Fulton - November '04
I too was surprised to see a view of the Governor's house on the web site . I must have missed listening to that programme, a rare occasion. Like John Mulhern, your article has reminded me of my childhood, for I am one of the sisters of his first ever friend Kerr Fulton. I was born in the Governor's house in 1958 when my father rented the house from Tim Sproule who owned the house then.

I remember the very big rooms with old wooden shutters on the windows. We used the top storey as a playarea/junk room... so much space! The garden was a wilderness, my Mum tells me Inspector Montgomery was rumoured to have been buried in the garden of the Governor's house rather than be buried in the official Gaol plot close to the river..he was better than the rest of the inmates so couldn't be put in with common folk!

My Dad often joked that Fred Murray grew the best vegetables in the district and seeing his vegetable plot was the former burial ground of the inmates he didn't have to buy commercially produced fertilizer!

I too would love to see the old Gaol buildings preserved like Lifford Gaol and opened as a museum. I have taken groups of schoolchildren up to have a nosey around the Gaol Square, they were surprised to know that Omagh used to have a Gaol. It is a shame that a historical site is being overwhelmed by the 21st c ...the cobble stones are now covered with tarmac.

Rosalind, John Mulhern , below, has asked if you could contact us again with your email address, as he'd like to get in touch with you. Just fill in the form at the foot of the page and add your email address.
ED YPAM online

John Mulhern - 12 October '04
Greetings from Canada.
While surfing the net I was surprised to see the view from the governor's house. On the extreme right is the roof of the house I was born in many years ago. Our garage and coal house is in the foreground. My very first friend in life was a boy called Kerr Fulton whose father was a local doctor and they lived in the Governor's house. Unfortunately Kerr died at a very early age leaving behind his parents and sister. Your article has taken me back a half century and more!

Kevin J Taylor - 24 August '04
There is a story that a horse thief from Fintona, County tyrone, was charged with stealing a horse and duly taken to the Omagh goal to be hung .When they were bringing his body home up the Dublin road, much to their surprise he started to twitch and was taken to the hospital. Which was located on the Dublin road (now sadly demolished). After a short stay he was released. And what do you think he did? Become an honest upright person? Well not a bit of him. A few weeks later he stole the very same horse again. This time he was left on the scaffold for two days. That is the story of the man they could not hang.
As to the truth in this story i am not sure if it is true or not. However if someone reads this and can fill in the name of the person and other details i would be most grateful.

Kevin J. Taylor - 24 August '04
I totally agree with your museum idea and have asked the local council to help us in our endeavours. However the answer is no. We have found a well in the area close to Allan's house .
I also know where the gates are, and a number of cell doors


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