Lurgan Coat of Arms The Armagh Guardian

27 September, 1902  


The celebrations arranged by the Lurgan Coronation Committee, and carried out on Saturday night, August 9th, were continued last night, the principal items on the programme being a display of fireworks in Market Street and the illumination of residences and business houses in the principal streets of the town. To this, however, was added another form of "rejoicing" not included in the official programme, but one more palatable to the tastes of the Orange rowdies. Before 9 o'clock a large crowd, accompanied by a band, left Market Street, and marched around the church, and when passing the opening of the principal Catholic quarter, Edward Street, where a strong cordon of police, was drawn across, the crowd halted, and by indulgence in party cries and tunes endeavoured to exasperate the Catholic residents, who,'however, treated this ebullition of bigoted feeling with good natured contempt. Not to be denied, the crowd, on reaching the Lurgan Catholic Association Hall, in Church Place, fired a number of stones at the windows, resulting in the smashing of a large pane of glass in the window of the reading-room. Shortly after half past ten o'clock, on the conclusion of the fireworks, the crowd again got into marching order, and this time, carrying sticks and drawing a representation of a gun-carriage, on which was mounted a dummy cannon, proceeded past Edward Street, again indulging in taunts, which, however, passed unheeded, and on their way they shattered the glass door in the shop of a Catholic ice-cream vendor in Church Place.

Entering William Street the mob became more boisterous than ever, shouting such party songs as "The Boyne Water," "No Home Rule," etc., and passing Harkin's Court (another Catholic Quarter) a window in the house of a Catholic resident was broken by means of a stone. Further down William Street the Catholic Parochial Reading and Billiard Rooms, to which is attached the residence of the Christian Brothers and the school conducted by them, engaged the attention' of the howling mob who, after demolishing a quantity of glass in the windows, passed onwards to the end of the town in the direction of Victoria Street.

But their retirement was not for long, as, apparently not satisfied with the damage done, they returned into William Street, and, on again reaching the Christian Brothers' house, the attack was renewed, and with a regular fusillade of stones, the mob shattered the windows in this large building. One of the missiles which entered weighed about 41b., but fortunately none of the Brothers was struck. Moving onwards, Harkin's Court now became the objective of the crowd, and here a shower of stones was aimed at some residents and the houses, as a result of which a number of windows in the houses nearest William Street were broken. A few policemen stationed at this point, on attempting to interfere, were badly treated, and Acting-Sergeant James Kelly was struck on the mouth with a missile, hurled with such terrific force that a tooth was knocked out and both lips badly cut, rendering him unfit for further duty that night.

This did not complete the "celebrations" of the mob, for they re-entered the centre of the town, and once into Church Place headed for the hall of the Lurgan Catholic Association, on which they made another attack, more destructive than the first, demolishing the two large windows of the reading and recreation rooms, which are situated in the front, of the building, a number of the stones penetrating the glass in each window. Constable Jas. Loughlin, who, with a few other constables, was on duty at this spot, while endeavouring to capture one of the rowdies, became the object for the missiles which the mob carried and he received a number of blows and kicks on various parts of the body.

This occurred shortly before midnight, and not long afterwards the mob, presumably satisfied with their Work, dispersed, and proceeded homewards in the direction of Victoria Street. During the night the windows in some houses, occupied bv Catholic families in Woodville Street, which is situated off Victoria Street, were broken with stones. The only reason for this wanton attack on Catholic property is to be found in the fact that the Catholic population absolutely refrained from taking any part in the celebrations organised in honour of the Coronation. Complaints are heard on all sides regarding the disposal of the police force, and the conduct of those in charge. Notwithstanding the fact that the local force had been augmented to the extent of fifty men, with one District Inspector from Co. Meath, in view of the celebrations, only five or six men were stationed in William Street, where the attack was fiercest, but no responsible person to direct their actions was to be seen here. Again, at the premises of the Catholic Association, in Church Place but four constables were to be found,' while at other points, where the danger to property was least strong double cordons of police, with officers were posted.


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