A guide to trace your ancestors from Lurgan, County Armagh and from the County of Armagh

Lurgan (Lady Day) Riots – State of the Town 1879

The Lady Day Riots In Lurgan.

State Of The Town.

The Belfast News-Letter,
Tuesday, August 19,


There has been no repetition of the disgraceful scenes which characterised Saturday evening, when numbers of houses were wrecked and much property destroyed. Last night passed over quietly, nothing save the gossip of past occurrences leading one to imagine that such a dreadful history was chronicled during the past three days. If we except the rowdy doings of the period referred to, there is but little active employment occupying the attentions of a portion of the people, who seem now bent upon a meaningless holiday, with serious motives in view rather than pursuing those habits of industry and perseverance which in times, gone by have raised Lurgan to its present position. Several portions of this thriving little town present a somewhat saddening appearance today, the hand of destruction being only too visible, and besides the houses of several of the well-to-do inhabitants suffering, there have others been made the object of attention, upon which it might be said in truth the violence of any mob was ill-spent. Riot and the deeds of rioters are eagerly discussed in the streets, while the localities which have now, unfortunately, earned for themselves a reputation form a field of observation and of melancholy interest.

The man Smyth, who has often been referred to since the dreadful tragedy of Friday, still remains in hospital, and although be necessarily remains in a weak condition, yet the danger of fatal consequences is not more threatening than when last spoken of. he receives the utmost care, but, owing to the nature of his sufferings, and the fact, as reported, that he takes but little nourishment, his recovery, if even possible, will be a work of time and of the tenderest nursing. Rowan, who by some means lost a hand on Saturday evening, and subsequently a portion of the forearm, lies in a somewhat critical state, being threatened with tetanus. It is currently rumoured this evening that he has sworn an information against some party whom he alleges to be the occasion of the loss which he sustained. This charge, however, does not tally with a prevalent supposition, by which it would appear that there was no second party connected with the lamentable occurrence, but that he played the sole part himself, and accidentally suffered for so doing. This is a matter of pure conjecture, as no definite information can be obtained of how he lost his hand.

The disturbed localities are receiving more than ordinary attention from the constabulary, who yet remain in their full number, and are constantly on duty throughout the night. Edward Street, the battle-ground between the contending factions, comes in for a large share of attention, and in order to prevent collisions as much as possible a temporary barrack has been provided in the district, in which a large body of men are continually posted. It is now in circulation that an effigy is to be burned this evening by the Roman Catholic party; but up to an advanced hour the intention had not been verified. Several informations have been sworn this afternoon, and some arrests made. Those charged with an infringement of the law will be brought before the court of petty sessions, which opens to-morrow morning.

The special feature of interest in the town to-day was the inquest, reported above. The court was densely crowded during the inquiry, and previous to the verdict becoming known the excitement throughout was intense. From 25 to 30 persons have sworn the usual preliminary informations regarding the malicious injuries done to their property to enable them to apply for compensation at the next presentment sessions.


This Newspaper Article has been reproduced by the kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive Limited, (

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