Royal couple bring joy and charm on West Tyrone visit

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Royal couple bring joy and charm on West Tyrone visit thumbnail

HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall proved an instant hit when they arrived in Omagh on Wednesday last on the second day of their visit to Northern Ireland.
The warmth of the local welcome was more than reciprocated by the Royal visitors who praised and prayed with locals and in the process marked their successes, while also acknowledging their sad memories.
As part of Their Royal Highnesses' official engagements the couple were able to meet and talk with a number of groups and individuals contributing to life in West Tyrone at different levels. It was a hectic timetable which lasted approximately five hours but in that short time it was one in which they brought joy and charm making their time here both memorable and historic.
The first engagement for HRH Prince Charles was to officially open the impressive state-of-the-art 105 million Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex, where he met with staff and patients before joining his wife at the Owenkillew Community Care and Garden in Gortin to marvel at the developments made at this community facility.
It was back to Omagh a short time later for rather more solemn proceedings at the town's memorial garden at Drumragh Avenue. Sadly the town will be remembered for the devastating 1998 car bomb that killed 29 people and two unborn children and injured over 200. Planted by the breakaway Real IRA group, the bomb was the worst single atrocity in the 30-year history of the Troubles.
The couple laid a floral tribute to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy and after several moments of quiet contemplation made their way to the nearby Market Street to pay their respects at the impressive 4.5m-high glass obelisk marks the spot of the explosion itself.
After conversations with emergency service personnel, volunteers and local business people, the couple made their way to the Strule Arts Centre for a private reception with injured survivors and families of victims impacted by the Omagh bomb. It was a unique experience for both Royalty and locals to privately and collectively reflect upon the experiences over the 20 years.


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