The higher the gradient the grander the building is the general rule on High Street Omagh. Top of the town are the asymmetric twin peaks of William Hague’s French gothic Sacred Heart Catholic Church and below this crowning glory, John Hargrave’s neoclassical courthouse with its Tuscan portico. Tyrone County Club is on the upper climb. Designed by Belfast architect Godfrey William Ferguson and built around 1900, it is a distinguished symmetric building with a sandstone ground floor, two brick upper floors and a dormered attic storey.
The ground floor central much glazed Palladian doorcase below a first floor canted oriel is a commercial unit which is now a chic deli and café. Owner Kate Golding-McKeogh, who also runs The Kitchen café in Omagh, has enhanced the original period interior, adding Shaker style display cabinets and rich floral wallpaper. “This Listed Building became available and we jumped at the chance to take over these gorgeous premises and just ran with it!” she relates.
“We bake all our own pastries and breads inhouse and everything is sourced from local producers,” Kate confirms. Her sister Donna also works in Forage and Folk. “We have plenty of healthy options like our vegan Wellington,” explains Donna. “Macaroons are one of our specialities.” A sweep of the shelves takes in the best of Irish suppliers: Abernethy butter; Attyflin Estate cider vinegar; Ballycross Apple Farm pink lemonade; Durrus Farmhouse cheese; Keogh’s crisps; and Tom + Ollie piri-piri stuffed olives. Kate concludes, “We wanted to look into new ways of branching out and to bring something unique to the town.”
Many of County Tyrone’s charms are well hidden. Who knew for example that the 18th American President’s ancestral homestead nestles in the rural countryside between Omagh and Dungannon? Republican Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1869 to 1877, worked to remove the vestiges of slavery. The President’s maternal grandparents’ 18th century two room cottage in Derganagh is perfectly restored and furnished, overlooking the family’s six fields: Burn Field, Dam Field, Glen Field, Near Meadow and Far Meadow.