When I think of Omagh.

I remember the bomb in 1998. I think of the suffering after that atrocity. I associate the town with people like Michael Gallagher who leads the Omagh Support and Self Help Group and lost his son in the bombing.

When I think of a singer in Omagh I immediately think of Juliet Turner who sang at the memorial service back in 1998.

When it comes to poets I reckon every town should be represented by a poet. Representing Omagh, I'd say, is the poet
Aine MacAodha. She's recently published a book of her poetry entitled Where The Three Rivers Meet which you can purchase @ Lulu.Com. I'm a cheapskate and I downloaded it for free, though I really should have it in my bookcase, or on a coffee table.

One of my favourite poems in the book which I hope you enjoy reading and that paints a very positive picture of Omagh, is...

Losing My Religion

It wasn’t easy growing up
around the fortress
of a garrison town.
When the troubles
were our second coats,
fear our constant companion.
The instinctual things
a teenager had to know
by heart, by soul.
What side of the street
was yours to tread?
Cover up the school
uniform in the town,
or it sealed your fate
like a patriotic tattoo,
or a flag always flying;
when certain colours
out of safety zones meant
a potential beating.
Knowing to keep your
head down when the
landrovers followed you home.
Divided by a war we didn’t
fully understand.
When escape meant the border
singing Irish songs of freedom,
horslips and Celtic rock
without the watchful eye of

Now the shroud of war is lifted,
I can envelope myself in the beauty
of my own country without fear or

Aine MacAodha

Aine MacAodha was born Ann Keys, in the North of Ireland in 1963. Her sense of place growing up amid the war in the north, and the beauty surrounding it, inspires her writing.This is her first collection of poems spanning ten years. The title, Where the three rivers Meet refers to the three rivers in Omagh that meet in the town’s centre, The Strule, Drumragh and the Camowen. She also draws much of her inspiration from The Sperrin Mountains, in her native Tyrone.

Her work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies throughout Ireland, USA and the UK. She is a founder member of the Omagh Writers Group, the Busheaneys, and The Derry Playhouse Writers. In 2001, she received the Tyrone Guthrie Bursary from Omagh District Council.

You can see much of her poetry on her website:
And her photography can be seen on the Red Bubble website:

She has three grown-up children, Michaela, Penny and James.

“ Aine MacAodha is a poet whose words bring forth her inner light and fire. She is “The Fire of the Gaels,” for Aine herself is an Epic Hero, an ‘every woman’ who has lived through tumultuous times, troubles, and highs. Hers is the deepening of the human experience, placed in poetic form. Aine is a voice of both history and present. Her voice and memories serve as needed reminders of a time in Ireland that should not be forgotten, whilst also presenting a link to the history of Ireland and the future. As a poet, she reveals the trinity of the ‘Goddesses of the deep,’ the Mother, and the Friend in all of her poems. It has been my great pleasure to work with her both as an editor/publisher, and as a friend. “

~ Karen Bowles La Luciole Magazine, Luciole Press

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