Lurgan Coat of Arms The Armagh Guardian

11 October, 1879  


On ' Derry Day," 15th August, a procession of 2,000 Home Rulers left the town of Lurgan to hold a meeting in the neighbourhood. They returned at midday, about the time when the factory operatives were released for the dinner hour. Crowds assembled in the streets to witness the passage of the procession and thus all the elements of a party explosion were gathered together.

An incident, trifling in itself, sufficed to give the signal for a serious riot. An attempt was made to pull off the green sash of one of the processionists. A scuffle ensued, and the fight soon became general. The police at once interfered, and at first they did their' best to clear the streets and restore order by charging with their staves. But this well-intentioned manoeuvre wholly failed of its purpose. The contending parties turned upon the guardians of order, who were quickly exposed to volleys of stones from both sides. Their efforts to restore order proved wholly unavailing, and their position soon became critical.

Captain Redmond, who was in command, read the Riot Act, and then ordered the police to fix bayonets. Even this measure, however, proved insufficient, and, as the turbulence rapidly increased, the men were at last ordered to fire. A volley was discharged by half a dozen constables, and when the smoke cleared away it was found that, as too often happens on such occasions, the innocent had suffered for the guilty. Four persons were injured, one of them, a poor boy named Farley, who had ran out of his father's house a few minutes be fore to see the procession pass, being shot dead. Of the others, two were only slightly wounded, while a third, who was shot through the leg is not thought likely to recover the shock of the amputation, which was deemed necessary.

The riot was quelled for the time by the determined action of the constabulary, and the mob soon dispersed. But Lurgan has since been in a condition of seething disturbance, and the riot broke out again the next night. This time the mob itself was armed, and fired repeatedly on the police.

Demonstrations similar to those at Lurgan took place on “Derry Day" in other localities, but happily the police were able to prevent any serious breach of the peace.


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