AN illustrated map celebrating the heritage and landmarks of Strabane has been launched to encourage the public to take a walk through the town's rich history.
The Strabane Heritage Trail is a self-guided walking tour of approximately 3.5 miles/5.5 kilometres that displays and celebrates the town’s rich heritage and history.
The map is aimed at encouraging the public to step outside and experience some of the delights of the town that are right on their doorstep.
Walkers are invited to start their journey of discovery from Railway Street at the Alley Theatre and follow the town’s historic story by visiting over 28 locations of local interest that span through the centuries right through to modern times.
They will be able to see at first-hand how the town has evolved from its early settlement years to its current form.
The map covers a wider range of themes including the town’s industrial heritage such as the important role Strabane played in the local shirt making industry as well as its ancestral heritage and the many famous names associated with the town including Cecil Frances Alexander.
It also celebrates and features recent historic additions such as the Let the Dance Begin which was installed to celebrate the new millennium.
It is hoped the map will encourage locals and visitors alike to take their own journey of discovery of the town and find out more about the local heritage and history and celebrate Strabane’s unique transition and development through the centuries.
Aeidin McCarter, head of Tourism Arts and Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council explained that the map has been produced by council with assistance from the Strabane History and Heritage Advisory Group consisting of officers from various council directorates and local historians including members of the Strabane History Society.
"We hope this map will encourage the public to embark on a self-guided walking tour of Strabane and that they will find it interesting and engaging," she said.
"We want the map to entice the public to go on their own explorative journey and find out more about the town and to visit the many places of interest that are included such as the recently opened museum at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Workhouse building which houses the council offices on Derry Road, the Abercorn Square departure sculpture and the Patrick Street graveyard.”
The map is available at Strabane Visitor Information Centre, Strabane Community Library and Visit Derry offices.
Speaking at the launch, Mayor Sandra Duffy said she was very impressed with the map and the huge number of interesting historic places of interest featured in the publication.
Extending her thanks to everyone associated with the map, councillor Duffy said she was confident it would be well utilised and enjoyed by the local community and tourists.
She commented: “I like the way in which the map not only encompasses the historic delights of Strabane but really invites people to embark on their own journey of discovery and exploration of the town by encouraging them to visit local landmarks and places of interest to find out more.
"The heritage map really whets your appetite to find out more detail about each of the 28 locations listed on the map.
"It encourages people to drop into the local library or join a local history society and also makes reference to the extensive number of publications available that give more detailed information and insight into the heritage and history of Strabane.
"A lot of research, commitment and hard work has gone into getting the map together and I sincerely hope that it will be utilised by locals and visitors with an interest in finding out more about Strabane’s unique heritage and history.”
Trail users are advised to exercise caution when crossing roads and to use pedestrian crossing points where available.
They are also advised that only some of the locations on the map have full access, others are accessible during specific opening hours, by appointment or with the owner’s permission.
For further information on the map and its development contact council's rural tourism officer, Philip McShane.