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The following slides provide an overview of the design proposals submitted by each of the five short listed design teams for the provision of a permanent memorial to the Omagh bomb of 15 August 1998 linking both the bomb site on Market Street and the Memorial Garden.

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The following slides provide an overview of the design proposals submitted by each of the five short listed design teams for the provision of a permanent memorial to the Omagh bomb of 15 August 1998 linking both the bomb site on Market Street and the Memorial Garden.

This is a significant project and the proposals submitted include detailed design information. This presentation illustrates the key design features of each of the five design proposals and we welcome your comments on any aspects of the proposed designs.


Design Team:-

FAM Arquitectura y Urbanismo S L

Madrid, Spain


Proposal 1: FAM Arquitectura y Urbanismo S L


The project is generated from the main perspective that means the challenge to connect the place where the bomb bursted and the Memorial Garden, which is the place where the competition basis establish for the Memorial, considering that one of the main targets of the proposal is to join both places, conceptually and even physically.

People will understand both places as the same thing - a memorial that expands itself into the city of Omagh and remind them what happened and where.

Therefore the aim is to connect both places in a way that the memorial could be an ‘installation’ for the city, which lays permanently in Omagh. The proposal goes from the bomb place to the garden and leads the citizens to the other place, which is like the complement or missing part of the whole project, by a visual connection between both elements.

The main element is a canopy that connects the site bomb and the garden. The canopy is lattice enclosures that cover the way between both places. From both edges the lattice is denser and the more you walk into the mid point, the lattice becomes more disintegrated. The canopy element changes with the differences and characteristics of every single place. The canopy is qualified in a different way in Market Street, the bridge over the river and the entrance to the memorial garden. The qualified operations means that as the height changes, so does the structure.


Design Team:-

Shiels Flynn & Making Marks,



Proposal 2: Sheils Flynn & Making Marks

Omagh lies within a verdant river valley landscape of damp mists and scattered drumlins. In the centre of Omagh, the river valley is a constructed controlled environment with embankments, culverts, fences and concrete. The streets are inevitably noisy, bustling corridors with thundering lorries, commuter radios and delivery vans.

The bomb explosion at the central cross roads shattered Omagh’s routine, ripping the built fabric apart. 10 years on the casual visitor would be unaware, but for a tall shard of stone set within the pavement. It is a beautifully textured piece of local limestone, carved with a few words – in three languages – to explain the date and time of the explosion. The wedge shape of the shard forms an arrow pointing towards the river bridge and the route to the new Memorial Garden.

A second carved shard stone marker, this time made from a Donegal limestone, stands at the entrance to the garden. The Memorial Garden is an ‘island’ separated from the noise of Drumragh Avenue by reeds and an angular reflective pool of water. Groups of native woodland trees screen the car park to the north and the landform is slightly tilted to ensure the new memorial will often be bathed in sunshine.


Proposal 2: Sheils Flynn & Making Marks


An oval of granite paving is sliced by an array of radial joints which meet at a circular water feature. This focal ‘font’ is perfectly jointed so that the stones have a smooth texture; its upper surface is carved with a series of concentric ripples. When activated, a water fountain at the centre bubbles water like a natural spring.

Scattered on and beyond the oval, standing stones of Kilkenny limestone are aligned with the radial joints of the granite paving. The split, polished cut surfaces of many of these stones are carved with quotations from those who have suffered as a result of the explosion. The tall marker stones at the bomb site, the entrance to the Memorial Garden and at the woodland edge beside the oval are also outlying shards, conceived as an integral part of this central art feature.

Memorial Garden

The central memorial is separated from the road by a reflective pool of water fringed on one side by reeds. Visitors cross the wetland on a wide bridge and approach the Memorial along an angular gravel path, which is partially framed by a curving hornbeam hedge. Gabion walls filled with Kilkenny limestone fragments enclose one side of the pool and a seating area to the north of the Memorial. A wildflower meadow and 31 multi-stemmed alder and birch trees provide a neutral backdrop to the garden.


Design Team:-

Sean Hillen and Desmond Fitzgerald Architects,



Proposal 3: Sean Hillen and Desmond Fitzgerald Architects



Light unites us all in that it makes all life possible.

The concept of ‘Reflecting’ connects to reactions and consequences of the atrocity.

A mirror in the memorial park tracks the sun, and pours a constant beam of sunlight onto 31 small mirrors.

They are arranged to carry the light to a heart shaped sculpture at the bomb site, which is almost constantly in the shade.

The heart is cut-glass crystal apparently floating inside a pillar of glass. It will sparkle and glitter with the light. It will be a beautiful and remarkable sight.

The approach to the art work is that it should attempt to express simply, uninhibitedly and vividly the huge outpouring of compassion for the victims.


Proposal 3: Sean Hillen and Desmond Fitzgerald Architects


The memorial park becomes Garden of Light, collecting and reflecting the sunlight, thence transmitting to the bomb site.

The design of the space also takes its cue from the concept of ‘REFLECTION’ – a simple, meditative space, not fenced off from the street but retaining a sense of quiet enclosure by dropping down to the reinstated original site level along a series of gentle steps or a gently sloping path.

The design language takes its cue from the austere classicism of the Great War memorials and the powerful archaic quality of grass and stone in the more ancient survivals from medieval and celtic Ireland.

Paving is of bright granite flag stones set out so that grass and fragrant herbs such as thyme and camomile will grow through the joints.

Planting is simple – the much loved silver birch (a pioneer species always the first to grow in disturbed land) and grassy banks which will include swathes of bluebells in spring and poppies in the summer.

The grassed areas will include areas maintained as lawn for walking and lying down as well as flowering areas where the grass will be cut less frequently.

Maintenance regimes are undemanding – mostly a matter of establishing and mowing lawn and meadow. A strip at the north boundary of the site is left to make a home for birds and wildlife.

Contour lines, patterns in the grass, planting layouts, paving patterns and circulation focus in a gentle spiral to a reflecting pool which is the centre of the scheme.


Design Team:-

Robinson Patterson Partnership,



Proposal 4: Robinson Patterson Partnership

Our initial response to the tragic events that happened in Omagh on 15th August 1998 is of ‘cause and effect’. We aim to link that site of the bomb with the garden location by referring to the shock waves radiating tragically for the families and communities from the terrible spot in Market Street in Omagh, and touching the lives of many as the news spread in a ripple effect across the world.

The bomb blast in its intensity and brevity radiates still through time as the losses it brings have left holes in the fabric of lives and communities.

Therefore it is this sense of tragic energy radiating from the spot in Omagh that we picked up on and which we see as the conceptual core of our collaborative design framework.

It is our intention that the centre of the blast be marked with a stone sculpture of one and a half meters in diameter. This stone will be created with radiating undulations on its surface emitting from the central point on the upper surface of the stone. Directly underneath this central point will be housed a bronze bell, which during installation will be entombed inside the stone.

We propose that the names of the victims and the time and date be etched on the bell.


Design Team:-

Peter Hutchinson


(in association with BS Design Consultants; David Gould Associates; RPS Group; Bob Sloan; Eleanor Wheeler; Michael Longley)


Proposal 5: Peter Hutchinson

The proposal at the car bomb site is to provide an underground/subsurface/subterrain or chamber where a ‘memory bank’ can be created – idea of preserving a collective memory represented through individual vessels. The cast bronze cover to the memory trunk would have the time and date of the car bomb explosion - added to it would be a circle or ‘O’ – an abbreviation or reference to Omagh.

The viewer is directly facing the temporary and permanent memorials whilst either reading about the event/memorial on a lit stainless steel information panel or looking into/reading the memory trunk. The memory trunk cast bronze cover, set under glass, can only be viewed at an oblique angle. It can be lit with the light controlled by a sensor and powered by solar energy.

A seat or bench is provided to separate the space from the public footpath, allow visitors to sit and contemplate the event. Space for disabled access is also provided.


Proposal 5: Peter Hutchinson

Permanent Garden Site

The 3m high gabion wall along the riverside boundary will be transparent – buttress gabion piers placed at right-angles to the side boundary are linked together by mesh panels – 60% void and 40% solid – allowing a view of the garden to and from the riverside walkway.

The central space is paved with textured and smooth granite strips with the irregular junction between it and the outer boundary gabion walls taken up by boulders and gravel. The paving extends to the benches set parallel to the garden’s perimeter, which will provide full uninterrupted access.

The central permanent sculpture feature is a disc missing in the centre. This is a reference to the memory trunk buried at the car bomb site and the ‘O’ is for Omagh. Two marks on its face show the time of the bomb explosion – 3.10pm. The piece is set in a shallow pool. Water flows from the top over the piece and the polished granite of the pool base is engraved with the word Omagh. The water shimmers and ripples and reflects as it passes over the town’s name, synonymous now with the car bomb atrocity.

At the lower entrance to the garden a waterproof steel box or safe with a door is built into the gabion wall. This space is used to house 2 books, one that tells the story of the garden design, the other to allow visitors to note their personal thoughts and feelings.

Outside the enclosed and walled garden the space to the riverside walkway wall and to Drumragh Avenue footpath has been retained as grass – the ground has been sculpted with topsoil and planted with clumps of silver birch – 31 in total. Internally the garden will feel peaceful and calm, outside the opposite is true, with the grass and trees swaying and moving with changing weather conditions. There will be word walls placed inside the garden with poetry and other appropriate written statements.