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Coordinates: 54°27′53″N 6°19′56″W / 54.464722°N 6.332222°W / 54.464722; -6.332222

Irish: an Lorgain
Shankill Parish Church, Lurgan - - 65201.jpg
Shankill Parish Church in the middle of Lurgan
Lurgan is located in Northern Ireland

 Lurgan shown within Northern Ireland
Population 25,000 (estimate)
Irish grid reference J080585
    - Belfast  22 miles 
District Craigavon
County County Armagh
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district BT66
Dialling code +44 (0)28
Police Northern Ireland
Fire Northern Ireland
Ambulance Northern Ireland
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
NI Assembly Upper Bann
List of places: UK • Northern Ireland • Armagh

Lurgan (from the Irish: an Lorgain meaning "the long ridge"), is a town in Northern Ireland. Situated to the south of Lough Neagh in the Craigavon Borough Council area, and in the traditional county of Armagh, the town is approximately 19 miles (30 km) southwest of Belfast and is linked to the city by both the M1 motorway and the Belfast-Dublin railway line.[1] It has a population of 25,000.

Lurgan is characteristic of many Plantation of Ulster settlements, with its straight, wide planned streets and rows of cottages. It is the site of a number of historic listed buildings including Brownlow House and the former town hall.

Historically the town was known as a major centre for the production of textiles, principally linen, after the industrial revolution and it continued to be a major producer of textiles until that industry steadily declined in the 1990s and 2000s. The development of Craigavon had a major impact on Lurgan in the 1960s when much industry was attracted to the area, and the expansion of Craigavon's Rushmere Retail Park in the 2000s has affected the town's retail trade.



Earlier names of Lurgan include Lorgain Chlann Bhreasail (long ridge of Clanbrassil), Lorgain Bhaile Mhic Cana (long ridge of McCann's townland) and Lurgivallivacket.[2] 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 English lord William Brownlow and his family. In 1641, William Brownlow, his wife and family were taken prisoner and brought to Armagh and then to Dungannon, 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. [3]

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. Craigavon was designated as a new town in 1965, intended to be a linear city incorporating Lurgan and Portadown. The plan largely failed, [4] and today, 'Craigavon' locally refers to the rump of the residential area between the two towns. [5] 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.

A former linen factory on Victoria Street

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 Portadown and Craigavon make up part of what is known as the "murder triangle", [6] an area known for a significant number of incidents and fatalities during The Troubles. Today the town is one of the few areas in Northern Ireland where so-called dissident republicans have a significant level of support. [7]


Lurgan is part of the Upper Bann constituency for the purpose of elections to the UK Parliament at Westminster. This has long been a safe unionist seat.

Local members of the the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont are elected from six member constituencies using Proportional Representation and using the same constituency boundaries as Westminster.

Lurgan had its own town council until local government was reformed in Northern Ireland in 1973 under the Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972. This abolished the two tier system of town and county councils with the single tier system still in use today. Lurgan was placed under the jurisdiction of Craigavon Borough Council. Councillors are elected using Proportional Representation.

The former Lurgan Town Hall is now owned by the Mechanics' Institute, and the local council now sits at Craigavon Civic Centre.

Culture and Community

Master McGrath

One of the more famous sporting characters from Lurgan was 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.

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".[8] The origins of this expression are disputed. One theory is that a "Lurgan spade" was an under-paid workman digging what is now the Lurgan Park lake.[9] Another theory is that it could be from the Irish language lorga spád meaning the shaft (literally "shin") of a spade.

Community Facilities

Lurgan Park, formerly part of the Brownlows' estate, and now a public space.

Oxford Island is a nature reserve on the shore of Lough Neagh that includes Kinnego Marina and the Lough Neagh Discovery Center, an interpretive visitor centre offering information about the surrounding wildlife, conference facilities, and a cafe.[10]

Lurgan Park, located a few hundred yards from the main street, is the largest urban park in Northern Ireland[11] and the second largest in Ireland after Phoenix Park, Dublin. It includes a sizable lake and an original Coalbrookdale fountain. The park is overlooked by Brownlow House, a 19th century Elizabethan-style manor house. [12] Lurgan Park is home to annual summer events such as the Lurgan Agricultural Show, and the Lurgan Park Rally, noted as the largest annual motor sport event in Northern Ireland and a stage in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.


Lurgan is served by two weekly local newspapers. The Lurgan Mail, published by Johnston Publishing (NI) [13], reports news and sport from around the local area. The Lurgan and Portadown Examiner also reports local news and sport with an emphasis on photographs of local people at sporting and social events


Lurgan town centre is distinctive for its wide main street, Market Street, one of the widest in Ireland, which is dominated at one end by Shankill Church. The rows of buildings on either side of the street are punctuated periodically by large access gates that lead to the space behind the buildings, gates that are wide enough to drive a horse and cart through. The town's straight planned streets are a common feature in many Plantation of Ulster towns, and its industrial history is still evident in the presence of many former linen mills that have since been modified for modern use.

At the junction of Market Street and Union Street is the former Lurgan Town Hall, a listed building erected in 1868. It is now available for conferences and community functions. [14] Brownlow House, known locally as 'Lurgan Castle', is a distinctive mansion built in 1833, characterized by its Elizabethan sandstone, lantern shaped tower, and prominent array of chimney pots. It was originally owned by the Brownlow family, and today is owned by the Lurgan Loyal Orange District Lodge. The adjacent Lurgan Park, now a public park owned by Craigavon Borough Council, used to be part of the same estate.[15]


The town's main street is built on a long ridge from which its name is derived, in a townland (baile fearainn) that was called Lurgan. A neighbouring hill is the site of Brownlow House which overlooks Lurgan Park.


Since the town was first built, the urban area has spread into the neighbouring townlands, which lend their names to many roads and housing estates. These townlands are:

  • Aghacommon (from the Irish: Achadh Camán meaning "hurling field")
  • Aghnaclone
  • Ballyblagh
  • Ballynamony (from the Irish: Baile na Móna meaning "townland of the bog")
  • Ballyreagh (from the Irish: Baile Riach meaning "greyish townland")
  • Demense
  • Derry (from the Irish: Doire meaning "oak grove")
  • Dougher or Doughcorran (from the Irish: Dúchorrán/Dubh Charn meaning "black cairn")
  • Drumnamoe
  • Knocknashane (from the Irish: Cnoc na Seáin meaning "Seán's hill")
  • Shankill (from the Irish: Seanchill meaning "old church")
  • Taghnevan (from the Irish: Teach Naomháin meaning "Nevan's home")
  • Tannaghmore North & Tannaghmore South (from the Irish: Tamhnach Mhór meaning "big grassland")
  • Toberhewny



Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1821 2,715
1831 2,842 4.7%
1841 4,677 64.6%
1851 4,205 −10.1%
1861 7,772 84.8%
1871 10,632 36.8%
1881 10,135 −4.7%
1891 11,429 12.8%
1901 11,782 3.1%
1911 12,553 6.5%
1926 12,500 −0.4%
1937 13,766 10.1%
1951 16,183 17.6%
1961 17,872 10.4%
1966 20,673 15.7%
1971 25,431 23.0%
1981 20,991 −17.5%
1991 21,905 4.4%
2001 25,048 14.3%

The 2001 census put Lurgan's population at 25,048.

The town is divided along political/sectarian lines with entire housing areas being almost exclusively catholic/nationalist or almost exclusively protestant/unionist. The north end of the town centre is considered catholic, the south end is considered protestant. In the 1980s there were two protestant enclaves in the north end of the town, Gilpinstown and Wakehurst. They have both since changed to become catholic areas as protestants gradually moved out.

Sport and Leisure


Lurgan has a municipal swimming pool and leisure complex called Waves. This includes a swimming pool, squash courts, a gym, and offers such activities as pilates, circuit training, and spinning classes. [24] The town has two 18-hole golf courses[25], an artificial ski slope[26] and an equestrian centre for show jumping.


Lurgan is home to the soccer clubs Dollingstown F.C., Glenavon F.C., Lurgan Celtic F.C., and Lurgan Town Boys F.C. There are two Cricket clubs, these are Lurgan Cricket Club and Victoria Cricket Club. Cycling is promoted by three clubs, Apollo CT, Clann Éireann CC [1], and Lurgan Road Club. The GAA has a large presence in the area with Gaelic football being played by clubs Clan na Gael CLG, Clann Éireann GAC, Éire Óg CLG (Craigavon), Sarsfields GAC (Derrytrasna), St Mary's GAC (Aghagallon), St Michael's GAC (Magheralin), St Paul's GAC, St Peter's GAC, and Wolfe Tones GAC (Derrymacash). Camogie is played by the St Enda's club who share the grounds with the Wolfe Tone's club, and there is one Hurling club in the town called Sean Treacy's. Rugby union is played by Lurgan RFC. Tennis is played by Lurgan Tennis Club.Archery which is held by Craigavon Archery Club [Brownlow leisure centre].

Notable people

Sammy Jones, a former professional footballer who made over 100 appearances for Blackpool and received one cap for the Irish national team, was born in Lurgan in 1911. Another international footballer from the town is Neil Lennon, former captain of the Northern Ireland football team. He is also a former captain of the Glasgow Celtic football team, and is currently back at Celtic working in a coaching role at the club. Lurgan born Jim Harvey, a former professional fooballer and former assistant manager of the Northern Ireland football team, has also played for Glenavon Arsenal F.C.Tranmere Rovers. The boxer Ike Weir, a featherweight champion of the world, was born in Castle Lane on 5th of February 1867. He died on 12th September 1908 in Massachusetts. Len Ganley MBE, a retired world championship snooker referee, is a resident of the town.

Barry Douglas, a classical pianist and conductor, shares his time between living in Paris and Lurgan.

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 was at the centre of a group of followers of theosophy in Dublin for many years.[27] He was born in William Street, Lurgan.

Field Marshal Sir John Greer Dill, a British commander in World War I and World War II and later a diplomat, was born in Lurgan in 1881. 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.[28]

Rosemary Nelson was a human rights solicitor killed by a loyalist car bomb in 1998.[29]

Lurgan's prominent historians are K.Clenndining, J.McIlmurray, and Francis McCorry.

Margorie McCall was accidentally buried alive but revived by grave robbers, circa 1705 and is today buried in Shankill cemetery.[30]

John Cushnie is a broadcaster and panellist on the BBC radio 4 show Gardeners' Question Time. He also presents the BBCNI show The Greenmount Garden.


Lurgan Model Primary School


  • 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


Lurgan railway station opened on 18 November 1841, connecting the town to the Belfast-Dublin railway line.[31] Lurgan is also situated by the M1 motorway connecting the town to Belfast. Buses services, provided by Translink, arrive and depart on a regular basis from bus stops on Market Street to Belfast, Portadown, and surrounding areas.

Public Services

Electricity is supplied by Northern Ireland Electricity, a subsidiary of Viridian Group plc. The gasworks used to be in North St., but there is no longer any town gas since it was abolished in Northern Ireland in the 1980s by the Thatcher government for being uneconomical, although it was restored to the greater Belfast area in 1996. Water is supplied by Northern Ireland Water, a public owned utility.

Religious Sites

St Peter's Church

Shankill cemetery is today a burial place, but has also served as a place of worship over the centuries. It began in ancient times as a simple double ring fort, the outline of which is still noticeable. [32]

The two most prominent modern places of worship are Shankill Parish Church in Church Place and St Peter's Church in North St. Shankill Parish Church belongs to the Church of Ireland. The original church was established at Oxford Island in 1411, a new church was built in Lurgan in 1609, but after it was found to be too small given the growth of the town the Irish Parliament granted permission to build a replacement in 1725 one mile away on the 'Green of Lurgan' where it stands to this day. It is believed to be the largest parish church in Ireland.[33]

Following the Catholic Emancipation Act, Charles Brownlow granted a site to the Roman Catholic Parish Priest Reverend William O'Brien in 1829 for the construction of a church on Distillery Hill, now known as lower North St. It was there that work began in 1832 on what is now St Peter's Church. [34] In 1966 another catholic church, St Paul's, was built at the junction of Francis St. and Parkview St. This was a radical departure from traditional church architecture with its gray plaster finish, copper roof, slim spire, hexagonal angles and modern finish throughout. Many of its architectural features such as the copper roof and gray plaster finish are shared by the neighbouring St Paul's School. It was designed to cope with the extra demand for worship space following the growth of the surrounding Taghnevan and Shankill housing estates. [35]


  1. ^ Dublin - Belfast - Dublin Mainline timetable
  2. ^ "Craigavon Museum - Lurgan". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  3. ^ "Lurgan History And Heritage". Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  4. ^ "The Lost City of Craigavon". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  5. ^ "The 'lost' city of Craigavon to be unearthed in BBC documentary". 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  6. ^ "A man who stood up for truth". The Observer.,,560618,00.html. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  7. ^ "Sectarian Tension Returns to Northern Ireland". Time. 2009-04-04.,8599,1889416,00.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  8. ^ Wilkinson, Peter Richard (2002). Thesaurus of traditional English metaphors. Routledge. pp. F.28a. 
  9. ^ Clendinning, K, "The Brownlow family and the rise of Lurgan", Journal of the Craigavon Historical Society 1 (1) 
  10. ^ "Lough Neagh Discovery Centre". Craigavon Borough Council. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  11. ^ "Lurgan Park". Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  12. ^ Lurgan Park
  13. ^ "The Lurgan Mail". British Newspapers Online. 
  14. ^ "Town Halls". Craigavon Borough Council. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  15. ^ "Brownlow House - History". Brownlow House. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  16. ^ "Placenames Database of Ireland". Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  17. ^ "Townland Maps". Sinton Family Trees. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  18. ^ "OSI Map Viewer". Ordinance Survey Ireland.,707958,858523,5. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  19. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". in Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  23. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November), "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850", The Economic History Review Volume 37 (Issue 4): 473–488, doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x, 
  24. ^ "Waves Leisure Centre". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  25. ^ "World Golf". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  26. ^ "Craigavon Golf Ski Centre". Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  27. ^ "AE -George William Russell - Theospohical History". Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  28. ^ "Your Place And Mine - Armagh". BBC. Retrieved 2008-10-21. 
  29. ^ "So who did kill Rosemary Nelson?". The Guardian. 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  30. ^ "Your Place And Mine - The Living Dead in Lurgan". BBC. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  31. ^ "Lurgan station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  32. ^ "Shankill Graveyard, Lurgan". Craigavon Historical Society. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  33. ^ "About Us - Shankill Parish Church". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  34. ^ "History of St Peter's Church". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  35. ^ "History of Saint Paul's Parish". Retrieved 2010-03-17. 

External links

See also

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Lurgan is a town in Northern Ireland.

Get in

Lurgan is about 25 mins south west of Belfast.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LURGAN, a market - town of Co. Armagh, Ireland, well situated on high ground overlooking Lough Neagh a few miles to the north; 20 m. S.W. of Belfast by the Great Northern railway. Pop. (1901) 11,782. The parish church of Shankill (this parish including Lurgan) has a finely proportioned tower. Contiguous to the town is Lurgan Castle, a fine modern Elizabethan structure, the seat of Lord Lurgan. Lurgan is famed for its diapers, and the linen trade is of the first importance, but there are also tobacco factories and coach factories. It is governed by an urban district council. Lurgan was founded by William Brownlow, to whom a grant of the town was made by James I. In 1619 it consisted of forty-two houses, all inhabited by English settlers. It was burned by the insurgents in 1641, and again by the troops of James II. After its restoration in 1690 a patent for a market and fair was obtained.

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