"Unfortunately in decline." Lurgan by planxty

Lurgan Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 7 photos

A symptom of the times.

Many years ago (in the early / mid 1980's) I lived in Tandraqgee and Portadown and spent a bit of time in Lurgan, primarily because I played rugby for the town Rugby Club. I remember it as a thriving market town with one of the widest main streets in Northern Ireland and there was always a bit of bustle about it. However, on my return twice in 2010, I noticed a huge change, as indeed, in many other towns in the Province. Boarded up shops, retail units utilised as charity shops and closed pubs (a particular heartbreak for me!) all tell a story of a region that appears to be feeling the current economic troubles considerably. It wasn't always like this, so let's have a look at the history.

The name derives from the Gaelic word Lorgain, meaning "long ridge" or "shin". Until the early 17th Century the land hereabouts was scarcely settled by Gaels until the Plantation of Ireland began, whereby the area of what now is the town was granted to William Brownlow, an English lord. He duly established a castle for himself and began the development of what is modern Lurgan. The town was reliant on the textile industry, predominantly linen which formed a large part of the economy in the region.

Lurgan carried on as a textile manufacturer up until the 1960's when the Government created the totally artificial "new town" of Craigavon between Lurgan and Portadown, now universally adknowledged to have been an abject failure. Things really started to go downhill when the import of cheap foreign textiles forced most of the local industry to close.

Obviously the 30 or so years following 1969 are known to most as "The Troubles" and Lurgan certainly had it's fair share of terrorist activity, being one point in what was known rather gruesomely as "Murder Triangle" in the 1970's and 1980's. It seems that the relative peace of the post Good Friday agreement, whilst it has stopped most (not all) terrorist activity has not helped the town to deal with other more prosaic realities.

Let's hope for better times to come.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Friendly place, some good bars.
  • Cons:Seems to be decaying a bit.
  • In a nutshell:It has seen better days.
  • Last visit to Lurgan: Oct 2010
  • Intro Updated Apr 6, 2016
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Reviews (3)

Comments (2)

  • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    Must be bittersweet to return and see such decline.

    • LeslieofTodd's Profile Photo
      Nov 19, 2015 at 9:32 PM

      Same with some areas around here. Empty storefronts. Idle people. Sad to see in places that were once bustling centers of activity and commerce.

    • planxty's Profile Photo
      Nov 19, 2015 at 11:07 PM

      Seems to be the way of the world now regrettably.

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2012 at 3:05 AM

    I have a facination with these urban decays places.
    They tend to produce some real friendly and hospitable people amognst all the problems they have.

planxty Used To Live Here!


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