From Academic Kids

Strabane (Irish Gaelic, an Srath Bán, which translates as 'The White Strand') is a town in the west of County Tyrone in the occupied 6 counties of Ireland (known to some as 'Northern Ireland') on the border with County Donegal. It contains the headquarters of Strabane District Council (Comhairle Ceantair an tSrath Bán). The historic village of Lifford in County Donegal lies yards from the other side of the bridge.


Strabane town stands exactly half-way between Omagh and Derry. According to the latest census figures, 95% of the town's population is from a Roman Catholic/Irish nationalist background. Indeed the District Council has a clear Sinn Féin majority. The current mayor of Strabane is Sinn Féin's councillor Brian McMahon. Pat Doherty MP of Sinn Féin represents Strabane as part of the West Tyrone constiuency at Westminster. Sinn Féin do not take their seats at Westminster however.

The river Mourne flows through the centre of the town, and meets with the river Finn to form the river Foyle. Strabane suffered huge economic damage in 1987 when much of the centre of the town was flooded. The wider area is scenic and very attractive with many forests and glens, with people coming from all over the world, including golfing legend Tiger Woods, to fish in the beautiful River Mourne, particularly between Victoria Bridge and Strabane. The town is home to one of Ireland's biggest and most picturesque golf courses.


Strabane was badly scarred by the 'Troubles', beginning in the early 1970's and continuing throughout much of the 1990's, with bombings common-place and Irish Republican paramilitary groups, mainly the Provisional IRA regulary attacking the bases of both the British Army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary located in the town. The most notable incident occurred in 1985 when three local IRA volunteers, Charlie Breslin (23), David Devine (16) and Michael Devine (18), were assassinated by a SAS unit as they returned to an arms dump. The SAS employed their 'shoot-to-kill' policy, firing over 150 rounds at the three insurgents.

The town was rocked by the murder of local pensioner Attracta Harron in April, 2004 and by the murder of a Protestant man from nearby Victoria Bridge the same year by the INLA.

Recent years have seen Strabane, an overwhelmingly nationalist town, become a hotbed of dissident republican paramilitarism with groups such as the Real IRA increasing in membership. The INLA has carried out as many as ten high-profile armed robberies at locations such as banks and supermarkets in the town since 2001, which have tailed off since a BBC Northern Ireland Spotlight documentary highlighted the events in December 2004. One such robbery at the Ulster Bank in Strabane's Abercorn Square netted £500,000 for the organisation. Regular 'shows of strength' are carried out by the RIRA, mainly in the Head of the Town and Ballycolman areas of Strabane where usually at least a dozen members of the organisation appear heavily armed with machine guns and rocket launchers.

Police brutality and intimidation is a common occurance in the town, with the PSNI largely despised in Strabane. As of 2001 there is no permanent British Army presence in the town, although checkpoints and helicopter activity occurs daily.

Strabane once had the dubious distinction of having the highest unemployment rate in the E.U. although in recent years the town has recovered to an extent economically. However, the inevitable closure of the town's largest employer, the Adria factory, would see the town plunge into economic chaos with huge rammifications. Strabane currently has the highest rate of unemployment in the U.K.


Strabane has seen a revival of Iirhs Gaelic culture over the last decade with an ever-expanding Gaelic football team, Strabane Sigersons, hurling team, Strabane Shamrocks, hundreds of children attending the local Irish language Gaelscoil and Irish language groups flourishing rapidly.

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty National Trust owns the Strabane house in which John Dunlap learnt the printing trade. The house has been visited by many famous people, for example 42nd US President Bill Clinton, and is located at the end of An Príomhsráid. Dunlap went on to print the United States Declaration of Independence.

Nearby Strabane is Dergalt, the ancestral home of Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States.

Strabane is also a sister city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota (USA).

Notable Natives

Notable natives of Strabane include:

  • John Dunlap - printer of the United States Declaration of Independence;
  • Brian Dooher and Stephen O'Neill - inspirational key members of the 2003 all-Ireland winning Tyrone Gaelic football team;
  • Shay Given - professional soccer goalkeeper with Newcastle United. One of the best goalkeepers in the world and a regular in the Irish Republic soccer team for many years.
  • Paul Brady - renowned singer songwriter in Ireland and the US;
  • Declan Curry - business correspondent on BBC1's Breakfast programme;
  • Pearse McCauley - IRA volunteer jailed for the murder of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe in 1995 in Adare, Co.Limerick;
  • Gerard Ó Dochartaigh - local Gael and Irish language activist. The local Gaelscoil is named after Gerard.
  • Hugo Duncan - affable and very popular entertainer. Famous throughout Ireland as the wee man from Strabane. Showband singer and DJ on BBC Radio Ulster.
  • [Insert name here] - the world's fastest talker between 1952 and 1994.

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