Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Strabane: A Tourist Attraction - John Molloy

Strabane, a town straddled on both sides of the River Mourne by two bridges has seen many transformations throughout the centuries. The town is steeped in history old and new. There is Grey's Printers shop on the main street where the forebearers of John Dunlop who printed the American Proclamation of Independence came from. Go up to Dergolt and see where the forebearers of President Woodrow Wilson left there for America from his ancestral home. The famous poet and playwright Flann O' Brien came from the bowling green area of the town. The Strabane Workhouse (now the council offices) are located on the Derry Road. These are just a flavour of the distant past.

Coming more into the present day we have the sculpture of the Tin Men at the Border Crossing with Lifford. The Old Canal Walkway as well as wonderful fishing facilities along the Mourne from Lifford to Newtownstewart and the Finn to Clady. In the other direction there are horse riding facilities located at Carricklee adjacent to the Herdman house and ground, which were once the scene of the famous Carricklee races held every St. Patrick's Day.

For the keen golfer we have Strabane Golf Course located at Melmount and the Hill Valley Course and Driving range at Glebe near Sion Mills adjacent to the town boundary. While Strabane is lacking somewhat in the area of accommodation there is an excellent hotel on the Melmount road called The Fir Trees which caters for the weary travellers. Kelly's Public House on the Derry Road also does an excellent B&B and there are a small number of B&B's scattered throughout the area.

I have just given the reader a glimpse of the more hidden gems of this old town and it wouldn't be complete without mentioning that this was the town that created the Irish Show band era of yesteryear with the formation of the famous Clipper Carlton, mostly local lads who made it big at home and abroad.


  1. The Carricklee races, a great day out for the family ... I remember them well! Strangely enough was talking about them on St Patrick's Day this year!

  2. The Carricklee Races were the highlight of our childhood in Strabane. It was were everyone was on 17th March. A great pity that they no longer occur.