St. Patricks Day – Rowdyism In Lurgan.
The Belfast News-Letter,
Monday, March 19,
The Nationalist celebration in Lurgan on Saturday last was a pro-Boer demonstration of the most accentuated character. In anticipation of public disorder, the police force was strengthened by 160 officers and men from Meath, Queen’s County, and Longford, and County-Inspector Croghan was in charge of the town. The display was less imposing than usual, but the demeanour of the celebrants was much more turbulent and insulting than on previous occasions. A disorderly gathering of about 2,000 people, mostly of the roughest element, marched through Edward Street, William Street, Brownlow Terrace, Mary Street, and North Street, with three bands playing disloyal airs, and carrying three green banners on which the customary rebellious mottoes and symbols were inscribed. The behaviour of the crowd when passing through Loyalist localities was as aggravating as it well could be. The “procession” was headed by intoxicated women singing “The Boys of Wexford,” while the juvenile contingent sang “God Save Ireland.” Others gave expression to their sentiments by cursing the Queen and King William and shouting “Go on the Boers,” “Go on Kruger,” “We’ll show old Buller what we mean,” “Down with the British,” and “Down with Buller.” When the last band was passing the premises of Messrs. Mathers and Bunting a few missiles are alleged to have been thrown into the crowd by some schoolboys concealed amongst coal waggons on the railway siding, and a halt was made, but no one could be discovered. The most violent disturbance of the occasion commenced between ten and eleven o’clock at night in William Street, where piles of odd bricks and the debris of demolished houses enabled the denizens of Harkin’s Court locality to attack Loyalists passing homeward. This continued for a considerable time, many having narrow escapes from brickbats, while several were struck and some knocked down. One member of the Nationalist mob discharged a pistol into the street, and this misconduct led to the assembling of a hostile crowd, who marched up William Street singing “Soldiers of the Queen,” and “Rule, Britannia.” The party being evidently disposed to engage the brick throwers at Harkin’s Court, the constabulary kept them back; but disorder prevailed till one o’clock yesterday morning when the streets were cleared. The windows of several houses were broken during the disturbance, and numerous names were taken by the police.
This Newspaper Article has been reproduced by the kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive Limited, (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).