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16 October 2014
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Omagh and the shortest street

Article by Brian Willis.

Tyrone

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Number Ten, Michael Street.

It's said to be the smallest street, not just in Ulster, but in the whole of Ireland, for it is just one house long - number ten.

But what happened to the others? Well there never were any others. Laurence Rush , who has lived at number ten for over thirty years, thinks his house was the first one to be built, with the intention of building from one to nine later, but it never happened.

Michael

Confused? It gets worse. The street is called "Michael Street" or in Irish "Saint Michael Street" (Naoim meaning Saint) So how come there's a saint in the Irish version of the name? And who was Michael? Any your place and miner out there have an answer?

Michael Street name plate
Michael Street name plate
Laurence Rush at the door of number ten
Laurence Rush at the door of number ten
Correct address (probably)

Laurence stands at the door of his home, the correct postal address of which is:- 10, Michael Street.

Or of course it could also be:- 10 sráid naoim micil .

On the other hand it is also:- 10 Brook Street - which is the street that runs along the bottom of Laurence's garden.

But on the other hand Brook Street is also known as Convent View so the address could also be:- 10 Convent View.

On various occasions Mr Rush has received letters addressed to every one of these different, yet correct, addresses for the same property.


Omagh's concrete trees
Omagh's concrete trees
Trees

By the way, whilst we are still in number ten's garden, just across the road (Brook Street or Convent View - take your pick) there are these delightful sculptured concrete trees. They were originally in the grounds of the local school but the dividing fence between the school and the parochial house has since been moved, so the Parish Priest is now the proud possessor of these three trees. Laurence Rush tells me that occasionally local children paint apples on them!


YOUR RESPONSES

Patrick - Feb '07
Michael Street, Omagh. Supposed to have been named after a Michael who ran the nearby "First and Last Bar". Yes, the first as you entered Omagh and the last as you left it. Michael was friendly with a local councillor. Around this time dual-language signs were being made for the council for St. Patrick's Tce, St. Brigid's Tce., in the Gallows Hill area of Omagh. These were properly Sraid Naoimh ... the Street of Saint ...... and it is thought when the Michael Street sign was being made that the Naoimh, (Saint) bit was included anyway without the maker realising that he had canonised a publican.

Pete - Sep '06
A small house from the outside, complicated inside. An intriguing cellar, for hidden treasures. My first memory as a 6 year old entering the house was that a life sized Jimmy Hendrix poster was there, wild, crazy and absurd to a six year old, in this weird house with a cellar! What was there? Who was buried there? Then there was the flood, the bombings of the local Barracks, the "It's my entry lawsuit" (an adaptation of "The Field"). It has a life of its own. Libbi loved it! In some ways we all did.

Mal - September '05
The grand street of the Rush houshold, many memories found and lost over the expanse of many years. Even though the street itself is small, the smallest in ireland many have claimed, the course of its personal history is as large and colourful as its owner. Plenty of high and lows, swings and roundabouts and the carpet of my childhood. Viva St. Micheal street.

 

 

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