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Lurgan ( ), is a town in County Armagh, Northern Irelandmarker. Lurgan is situated in the Craigavon Borough Council area, to the south of Lough Neaghmarker. The town is approximately 19 miles (30 km) southwest of Belfastmarker and is linked to the city by both the M1 motorway and the Belfast-Dublin railway line.

Lurgan is characteristic of many Plantation of Ulster settlements, with its straight, wide planned streets and rows of cottages. Lurgan Park, located a few hundred yards from the main street is the largest urban park in Northern Ireland and the second largest in Ireland after Phoenix Park, Dublin. It includes a sizable lake and an original Coalbrookdalemarker fountain. The park is overlooked by Brownlow House, a 19th century Elizabethan-style manor house . Lurgan Park is home to annual summer events such as the Lurgan Agricultural Show, the Lurgan Park Rally, noted as the largest annual motor sport event in Northern Ireland and a stage in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.

History

Lurgan Park, before a charity fun run.
Earlier names of Lurgan include Lorgain Chlann Bhreasail (long ridge of Clanbrassil), Lorgain Bhaile Mhic Cana (long ridge of McCann's townland) and Lurgivallivacket (long hill of McCann's place). The McCann sept (clan) were Lords of Clanbrassil, prior to the Plantation of Ulster period in the early 17th century. The McCanns were septs of the O'Neills.

In around 1610, during the Plantation period, the lands of Lurgan were given to the Englishmarker lord William Brownlow and his family. In 1641, William Brownlow, his wife and family were taken prisoner and brought to Armaghmarker and then to Dungannonmarker, in County Tyrone. The land was then passed to the McCanns, and also to the O'Hanlons. In 1642, Brownlow and his family were released by the forces of Lord Conway, who was operating in the Dungannon area. The family contributed to the development of the linen industry and it is said that the greatest manufacture of linen was carried on in the town in the late 17th century.

In the 1960s, when the British government was developing a program of new towns in Britain to deal with population growth, the Northern Ireland government also planned a new town to deal with the projected growth of Belfast and to prevent an undue concentration of population in the city. Craigavonmarker was designated as a new town in 1965, intended to be a linear city incorporating Lurgan and Portadown. The plan largely failed, and today, 'Craigavon' locally refers to the rump of the residential area between the two towns. However the Craigavon development did impact Lurgan in a number of ways. The sort of dedicated bicycle and pedestrian paths that were built in Craigavon were also incorporated into newer housing areas in Lurgan, additional land in and around the town was zoned for industrial development, neighbouring rural settlements such as Aghacommon and Aghagallon were developed as housing areas, and there was an increase in the town's population, although not on the scale that had been forecast.

For many years, Craigavon had a so-called centre that consisted of an office building, a civic building, several acres of parkland, and a small shopping centre. In the 1990s the shopping centre was expanded to form what is now called Rushmere Retail Park. This has had a detrimental effect on the retail trade in Lurgan in the same way that out-of-town shopping developments in England have damaged traditional town centres there.

The textile industry remained a main employer in the town until recent times, with the advent of access to cheaper labour in the developing world leading to a decline in the manufacture of clothing in Lurgan.

The Troubles

Lurgan and the associated towns of Portadownmarker and Craigavonmarker make up part of what is known as the "murder triangle", an area known for a significant number of incidents and fatalities during The Troubles.

A Lurgan spade

There is a figure of speech used in Northern Ireland - to have a face as long as a Lurgan spade. meaning to look miserable. The origins of this expression are disputed. One origin is that a "Lurgan spade" was an under-paid workman digging what is now the Lurgan Park lake. Alternatively it could be from the Irish language lorga spád meaning the shaft (literally "shin") of a spade.

Sport

Lurgan is home to the following clubs:

Other sports

Lurgan has two 18-hole golf courses, an artificial ski slope and an equestrian centre for show jumping. Arguably the most famous sporting character from Lurgan is Master McGrath, a greyhound who was bought in Lurgan by the Brownlow family and won the Waterloo Cup three times in 1868, 1870 and 1871. He is remembered all over the town, including in its Coat of Arms. A statue of him was unveiled at Craigavon Civic Centre in 1993, over 120 years after his last glory in 1871. A festival is also held yearly in his honour. A well known pub was also named after Master McGrath, although it has been renamed in recent years.

People

  • Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill - Soldier and diplomat.
  • Barry Douglas - classical pianist and conductor.
  • Len Ganley MBE - Retired world championship snooker referee.
  • Sammy Jones - Former professional footballer. Made over 100 appearances for Blackpool and received one cap for the Irish national team.
  • Neil Lennon - Former captain of the Northern Ireland football team. Former captain of the Glasgow Celtic football team. Currently back at Celtic working in a coaching role at the club.
  • Jim Harvey - Former professional fooballer, and former assistant manager Northern Ireland football team. He has also played for Glenavon Arsenal F.C.Tranmere Rovers.
  • George William Russell (April 10, 1867 – July 17, 1935) - Wrote under the pseudonym Æ, was an Anglo-Irish supporter of the Nationalist movement in Ireland, a critic, poet, and painter. He was also a mystical writer, and centre of a group of followers of theosophy in Dublin, for many years. AE was born in William Street, Lurgan.
  • William Frederick McFadzean (October 9, 1895 - July 1, 1916). Died when he threw himself on a box of primed grenades prior to the Battle of the Somme and was awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Rosemary Nelson - Human Rights Solicitor killed by a loyalist car bomb in 1998.
  • Lurgan historians: K.Clenndining, J.McIlmurray, F.McCorry.
  • Margorie McCall - Accidentally buried alive but revived by grave robbers, circa 1705.


Education

Primary

  • Carrick Primary School
  • Dickson Primary School
  • King's Park Primary School
  • Lurgan Model Primary School
  • Bunscoil Naomh Proinsias
  • St. Francis` Primary School
  • St. Teresa's Primary School
  • St. Anthony's Primary School
  • Tannaghmore Primary School
  • Tullygally Primary School


Post Primary



Transport

Lurgan railway stationmarker opened on 18 November 1841, connecting the town to the Belfast-Dublin railway line. Lurgan is also situated by the M1 motorway connecting the town to Belfast.

References



External links



See also




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