Portadown (from Irish Port a' Dúnáin, meaning 'landing place of the little fort') is a town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The town sits on the River Bann in the north of the county, about 24 miles (39 km) southwest of Belfast. It is in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area and had a population of about 22,000 at the 2011 Census. For some purposes, Portadown is treated as part of the "Craigavon Urban Area", alongside Craigavon and Lurgan.
Although Portadown can trace its origins to the early 17th century Plantation of Ulster, it was not until the Victorian era and the arrival of the railway that it became a major town. It earned the nickname "hub of the North" due to it being a major railway junction; where the Great Northern Railway's line diverged for Belfast, Dublin, Armagh and Derry. In the 19th and 20th centuries Portadown was also a major centre for the production of textiles (mainly linen).
Of its population, about 61% are from a Protestant background and 31% from a Catholic background. Portadown is the site of the long-running Drumcree dispute, over yearly Orange marches through the mainly Catholic part of town, which has often led to violence. In the 1990s, the dispute intensified and drew worldwide attention to Portadown.
St Mark's Church of Ireland in central Portadown
|Population||22,000 (2011 estimate)|
|Irish grid reference|
|• Belfast||24 mi (39 km)|
|• Dublin||74 mi (119 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||BT62, BT63|
|Dialling code||028 38|
|EU Parliament||Northern Ireland|
The Portadown area had long been populated by Irish Gaels. At the beginning of the 1600s, it lay within the district of Clancann (Clann Chana), which was part of the larger territory of Oneilland (Uí Nialláin). This district was named after the dominant local clan—the McCanns (Mac Cana)—who had been in the area since before the 13th century. The McCanns were then a vassal sept of the O'Neills (Uí Néill). On the eastern banks of the River Bann was the district of Clanbrasil (Clann Bhreasail).
The town's name comes from the Irish Port a' Dúnáin (or, more formally, Port an Dúnáin), meaning the port or landing place of the small fort. This was likely a fort of the McCanns.
From 1594 until 1603, the O'Neills and an alliance of other clans fought in the Nine Years' War against the English conquest of Ireland. This ended in defeat for the Irish clans, and much of their land was seized by the English. In 1608, James I of England began the Plantation of Ulster – the organised colonisation of this land by settlers from Great Britain.
In 1610, as part of the Plantation, the lands of Portadown were granted to William Powell. In 1611, he sold his grant of land to Reverend Richard Rolleston, who in turn sold it in two portions to Richard Cope and Michael Obins. Obins built a large Elizabethan-style mansion for himself and his family, and a number of houses nearby for English tenants. This mansion was in the area of the present-day Woodside estate, and today's People's Park was part of its grounds. The park is now bounded on either side by Obins Street and Castle Street, both of which are references to "Obin's Castle". In 1631, Obins was granted a licence for a "fair and market", which led to the building of the first bridge across the River Bann shortly thereafter.
During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Obins Castle was captured by a force of dispossessed Irish led by the McCanns, the Magennises and the O'Neills. In one of the worst atrocities of the rebellion, in November 1641, Irish rebels forced about 100 captured English and Scottish settlers (or 'planters') off the Bann bridge and they either drowned or were shot. This became known as the "Portadown massacre", and partly precipitated the revenge attacks carried out in Ireland several years later by the forces of Oliver Cromwell. The Irish Confederate troops abandoned Obins Castle during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, and Hamlet Obins (who had survived its capture) repossessed it in 1652. It was then passed to his son, Anthony Obins.
In 1741, Anthony Obins was involved with the development of the Newry Canal. He was succeeded by Michael Obins in 1750. It was he who set up a linen market in Portadown in 1762 and this laid the foundations of Portadown's major industry.
Michael Obins died in 1798 and left a son, Michael Eyre Obins, to succeed him. In 1814, Eyre Obins took holy orders and sold the estate to the Sparrow family of Tandragee. George Montagu, 6th Duke of Manchester (known as Viscount Mandeville) married Millicent Sparrow in 1822 and came into possession of the estate. This family's legacy to the town includes street names such as Montagu Street, Millicent Crescent and Mandeville Street, as well as buildings such as the Fergus Hall (formerly the Duke's School and Church Street PS), and the Carlton Home (the Duke's former townhouse, latterly a maternity hospital/nurses accommodation and now private apartments).
The Blacker family, descended from Danes who entered Ireland in the 9th century, founded an estate at Carrick, on the Portadown–Gilford road. The land had been bought by Colonel Valentine Blacker from Sir Anthony Cope of Loughgall. It became known as Carrickblacker, and is now the site of Portadown Golf Club. One of the notables in the Blacker family, Colonel William Blacker, High Sheriff of Armagh, took part in the "Battle of the Diamond" and was a founding member of the Orange Order. This, and subsequent events like the setting up of a 'provisional' Grand Lodge in the town after the 'voluntary' dissolution of the Order in 1825, led to the town being known as 'The Orange Citadel' and was a center of sectarian strife for two centuries. Many of the Blacker family were soldiers or churchmen. The family estate was purchased in 1937 by Portadown Golf Club, who demolished Carrickblacker House in 1988 to make way for a new clubhouse.
A large prisoner-of-war (POW) camp was built at Portadown during World War II. It was at the site of a former sports facility on what was then the western edge of town. This area is now covered by housing from Fitzroy Street and the Brownstown Estates. The camp housed (mostly) German POWs. For a time these POWs were guarded by Welsh servicemen who had been transferred from Germany (known as "Bluecaps") and who were billeted at St Patrick's Hall in Thomas Street. Many of the Welsh soldiers chose to be demobilised to Portadown as they had formed relationships there.
The local newspaper carried a story of another POW camp, adjacent to Killicomaine Castle (also known as Irwin's Castle) in what was then known as "Cullen's Lane" but is now called "Princess Way" and part of the Killicomaine estate, built in 1954 and largely contemporary with other estates built by the then Portadown Borough Council and the former Northern Ireland Housing Trust (now called the Northern Ireland Housing Executive).
In 2005, a public air-raid shelter was uncovered during excavation works near the riverbank just outside the town centre. One of ten built by the council during World War II, it is one of only two now remaining, the other at the new roundabout on the Gilford Road, and a rare example of public air raid shelters in Northern Ireland.
During the Troubles, there were numerous shootings, bombings and riots in Portadown. The conflict led to the deaths of 45 people in the town. Loyalists killed 25 people: 18 Catholic civilians, three Protestant civilians, two members of the security forces, a republican paramilitary and a loyalist paramilitary. Irish republicans killed 18 people: nine members of the security forces, one loyalist paramilitary, seven Protestant civilians and one Catholic civilian. The security forces killed one Protestant civilian, and another loyalist was killed by his own bomb. In 1993 and 1998, the town centre was devastated by two large car bombs planted by republicans.
The Troubles led to the town becoming segregated – the northwestern part of the town became almost wholly Catholic/Irish nationalist, while the rest of the town became almost wholly Protestant/unionist. Portadown's 'Catholic district' is bordered by the railway line and by a security barrier ("peace wall") along Corcrain Road.
The Troubles also intensified the long-running Drumcree marching dispute, over Orange marches through the Catholic part of town. Each July from 1995–2000, the dispute drew worldwide attention as it sparked protests and violence throughout Northern Ireland, prompted a massive police/British Army operation, and threatened to derail the peace process. The Army sealed-off the Catholic part of Portadown with large steel, concrete and barbed-wire barricades and the situation was likened to a "war zone" and a "siege".
Each summer, during the "marching season", there are many Protestant/loyalist marches in the town. Loyalists put up numerous flags and raise arches over some streets. These marches, and the raising of these flags and arches near the homes of Catholic families, continues to be a source of tension and sometimes violence.
Community leaders in Portadown have been involved with the Ulster Project since it began in 1975. The project involves teenagers from both of Northern Ireland's main communities. The goal is to foster goodwill and friendship between them. Each year, a group of teenagers are chosen to travel to the United States, where they stay with an American family for a few weeks.
Portadown sits in a relatively flat part of Ireland, near the southern shore of Lough Neagh. There are two small wetland areas on the outskirts of the town; one at Selshion in the west and another at Annagh in the south. The Ballybay River flows into the town from the west before joining the River Bann.
Most of the town is built on the western side of the River Bann, and owes much of its prosperity to the river. It was the construction of the Newry Canal (linking Carlingford Lough with Lough Neagh) in 1740, coupled with the growth of the railway in the 19th century, which put Portadown at the hub of transport routes.
There are three bridges across the river at Portadown. Bridge Street and Northway are both road bridges and there is a railway bridge beside the Northway. The 'Bann Bridge' on Bridge Street is the oldest. The story of this bridge is unusual in that it was built without a river running underneath it. After building was complete, the course of the River Bann was diverted by some 100 yards to straighten a meander. The old riverbed was then built upon. An archaeological dig in the area of the old riverbed uncovered the bones of some of those drowned in the 1641 massacre. The current bridge has been widened twice since it was built.
Like the rest of Ireland, the Portadown area has long been divided into townlands, whose names mostly come from the Irish language. Portadown sprang up along a road (High Street/Market Street) that marked the boundary between two of these – Tavanagh and Corcrain. Over time, the surrounding townlands have been built upon and they have given their names to many roads and housing estates. The following is a list of townlands within Portadown's urban area, alongside their likely etymologies:
West bank of the River Bann (parish of Drumcree):
East bank of the River Bann (parish of Seagoe):
The climate of Portadown is like that of much of the rest of the UK and Ireland, being a temperate oceanic climate. It has mild temperatures throughout the year, with summer temperatures not reaching levels to be deemed very hot and winter not very cold. Summer temperatures can reach more than 20 °C though it is rare for them to go higher than 30 °C (86 °F). The consistently humid climate that prevails over Ireland can make these temperatures feel uncomfortable when they stray into the high 20s °C (80–85 °F), more so than similar temperatures in hotter climates in the rest of Europe. It also receives a steady amount of rainfall throughout the year.
For census purposes, Portadown is not treated as a separate entity by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). Instead, it is combined with Craigavon, Lurgan and Bleary to form the "Craigavon Urban Area". However, a fairly accurate population count can be arrived at by combining the data of the electoral wards that make up Portadown. These wards are Annagh, Ballybay, Ballyoran, Brownstown, Corcrain, Edenderry, Killycomain and Tavanagh.
Portadown is part of the Upper Bann constituency for elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Parliament of the United Kingdom. The boundaries of the Assembly constituency and Parliament constituency are identical. This has long been a safe unionist seat.
Portadown came under the governance of Portadown Borough Council following the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. This was abolished with the Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971 and the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972. Henceforth, the town had been under the jurisdiction of the larger Craigavon Borough Council. However, after local government reform the town is now part of one of Northern Ireland's largest councils, the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Councillors are elected to the council every four years by proportional representation.
The councillors for the DEA are:
|Paul Duffy||Sinn Féin|
Portadown sits on the boundary between two parishes. This boundary is the River Bann. The part of the town on the west of the Bann is in Drumcree parish, while the part of the town on the east of the Bann is in Seagoe parish.
A Methodist Chapel was built in 1790. The site of this church has moved several times and it now stands in Thomas Street where it was rebuilt in 1860. There is also a Methodist chapel in the Edenderry area of the town and another smaller Epworth Methodist church, along with a meeting hall on the Mahon road. There is also an Independent Methodist Church.
In 1826, Saint Martin's Church of Ireland was built, and later renamed Saint Mark's. Before this, Church of Ireland members attended either Drumcree Parish Church or Seagoe Parish Church. This church has a tall clock tower and stands in a commanding position at the centre of the town. Another Church of Ireland church is Saint Columba's on the Loughgall Road which was built in 1970.
The current Seagoe Parish Church of St. Gobhan's (Church of Ireland), was built in 1814, and replaced the many previous church foundations dating from circa the 7th century, which existed in the ancient cemetery of Seagoe some one hundred yards distant. It is linked to Seagoe Primary School, which is maintained by the Church, and one of the few remaining Anglican primary schools. The current Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Most Revd David Chillingworth was rector at Seagoe for 19 years. St Columba's Parish on the Loughhall Road, and Knocknamuckley Church of Ireland (St. Matthias) on the Bleary Road are also extant parishes.
There are two Presbyterian churches, First Portadown (aka Edenderry) Presbyterian Church (1822) and Armagh Road Presbyterian Church (1859). The Rev Stafford Carson was Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, June 2009–June 2010.
There are Baptist meeting halls on Thomas Street and Killicomaine Road; an Elim church on Clonavon Avenue; a Quaker meeting hall on Portmore Street; a Free Presbyterian church in Levaghery and meeting hall on Fitzroy Street. The pentecostal Light of the World Ministries are located in the town, as are the evangelical neocharismatic Vineyard Church. The Salvation Army have a hall in the town beside the town hall.
Saint John the Baptist's Church was built in the townland of Ballyoran in 1783. The original church sat in the middle of what is now a large graveyard. A second Catholic church, Saint Patrick's, was built on William Street in 1835.
In the 1980s Saint John's was taken down brick-by-brick, moved and rebuilt at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, County Down. A new Saint John's church was built close to where the original stood; it sits where the Garvaghy Road meets the Dungannon Road.
A combination of road, canal and rail links, all converging on Portadown railway station, gave it the nickname "Hub of the North" and this created employment through mass industry as well as helping the traditional agronomy of the area. The Newry Canal, opened in 1742, linked Carlingford Lough and the Irish Sea with Lough Neagh. It joined the River Bann a couple of miles to the southeast of Portadown. The canal opened up waterborne trade and left Portadown ideally situated to take full advantage of the trading routes. However, the canal went into decline with the growth of the railway network and it closed to commercial traffic in the 1930s.
At Portadown railway station the line went in four directions – one went northeast toward Belfast, one northwest toward Dungannon, one southwest to Armagh and one southeast toward Newry and onward to Dublin. Today only the Belfast–Dublin line remains. Repair yards were opened in 1925 and these large concrete buildings dominated the skyline on the west of the town centre. In 1970 the current station opened, however this has recently saw mass renovation and refurbishment. This new station was complete in late 2012. The old Edenderry station, on the other side of the river, was demolished. The Northway bypass road opened around this time, linking Portadown more directly with the "new town" of Craigavon. This meant building a new road bridge across the river. The road runs parallel with the railway line for most of its length.
Portadown has a manufacturing sector that has grown beyond its roots in linen production to include carpet-weaving, baking and engineering. There are a number of companies that have been a major part of Portadown's history:
Other industries have vanished from the town such as; whisky distilling and brewing, cider making by Grews in Portmore Street, milling of animal feed by Clows and Calvins in Castle Street, iron and brass manufacturing from Portadown Foundry and other smaller firms, ham/bacon curing by McCammons and Sprotts. Several nurseries were established in the town, most notably Samuel McGredy & Son Ltd., and James Walsh Ltd., these too have gone. There were also a number of small industries related to farming and agriculture, like packing and distribution of eggs, butter, poultry and apples. But these firms have been replaced by large scale employers like Moypark, who process chickens on a modern industrial scale and employ around 600 in the town, as well as Almac, a pharmaceutical firm that employs around 1,000.
Much of the town's industry in the 19th and 20th century was centred around the linen trade. The 1881 edition of Slater's Directory (a comprehensive listing of Irish towns) gives the following as manufacturing employers in Portadown at that time:
Some of these linen mills survived as manufacturers and major employers into the 1960s, such as Robbs and Achesons but all eventually closed as the demand for Irish Linen fell due to the manufacture of cheaper, man made, fabrics.
Portadown Town Hall, in Edward Street, was once the seat of the town's local government until reform of local government in 1972. It is an 1890 Victorian building that has been extensively refurbished and offers an in-house theatre and conference facilities. The Millennium Court Arts Centre contains two galleries allowing local artists to exhibit their work.
Ardress House is a 17th-century farmhouse that was remodelled in Georgian times and is today owned by the National Trust. It is open to the public offering guided tours, local walks, and recreations of farmyard life.
The Newry Canal Way is a fully accessible restored canal towpath now usable as a bicycle route between Newry Town Hall and the Bann Bridge in Portadown. The Canal was the first summit level canal in Britain and Ireland and has 14 locks between its entrance at Carlingford Lough and Lough Neagh.
One of the attractions on the Newry Canal Way is Moneypenny's Lock, a site that includes an 18th-century lock-keeper's house, stables and bothy. This provided accommodation for workers on the canal and their horses in the days when the canal was part of the industrial transport network. Today it is administered jointly by the Museum Services and the Lough Neagh Discovery Centre at Oxford Island.
McConville's Hotel/Public House on Mandeville/West Street dates back to 1865 but moved in 1900 to its current corner location. The pub is fully preserved with original wooden snugs inside, etched glass windows at ground floor level, original gas light fittings which now run on bottled gas and an iron door canopy and lantern. Local legend has it that some of the Russian Oak fittings in the bar were made to the same design as those used on the Titanic.
Located just outside the town off the Dungannon Road is the only fully restored Royal Observer Corps Cold War Nuclear Monitoring Bunker in Northern Ireland. Opened in 1958 it, plus a further 57 other bunkers spread throughout Northern Ireland, would have been used to monitor and report the effects of a Nuclear Attack. The bunker was restored and opened as a museum in 2010 by members of the Royal Observer Corps Association.
Portadown boasts a large selection of academic institutions, past and present. Today, schools in Portadown operate under the Dickson Plan, a transfer system in north Armagh that allows pupils at age 11 the option of taking the 11-plus exam to enter grammar schools, with pupils in comprehensive junior high schools being sorted into grammar and non-grammar streams. Pupils can get promoted to or demoted from the grammar stream during their time in those schools depending on the development of their academic performance, and at age 14 can take subject-based exams across the syllabus to qualify for entry into a dedicated grammar school to pursue GCSEs and A-levels.
The state-run Thomas Street Primary School, and Church Street Primary School, formerly the "Duke's School", were both incorporated into Millington Primary School 1970. Other state-run primary schools include Ballyoran Primary School, Bocombra Primary School, Edenderry Primary School, Hart Memorial Primary School, Moyallan Primary School, Portadown Primary School, Richmount Primary School, and the Anglican Seagoe Primary School. Derrycarne Primary School is now used as an Orange Hall by the Orange Order.
Primary schools managed by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools are Presentation Convent Primary School, St John the Baptist Primary School (Irish: Bunscoil Eoin Baiste), which has both English-medium and Irish-medium units within it, and St. John's Primary School. St Columba's Primary School in Carleton Street is now closed. There is a multi-denominational or integrated primary school in the town, Portadown Integrated Primary School, which opened in 1990.
The town is home to Portadown College, a grammar school which was opened in 1924. Other state-run secondary schools in the town are Clounagh Junior High School, Craigavon Senior High School, St John's College and Killicomaine Junior High School,.
The lone secondary school in the Catholic maintained sector is St John's College.
Portadown Technical College, later Portadown College of Further Education, was merged with Lurgan CFE and Banbridge CFE to form the Upper Bann Institute of Further Education. Further Education in the region was consolidated again when the institute was merged with other FE colleges in Armagh, Newry and Kilkeel to form the Southern Regional College.
Access to a GP is provided at Portadown Health Centre. Hospital care and Accident and Emergency services are available at Craigavon Area Hospital, built 1972 on the outskirts of town as part of the Craigavon development. This replaced Lurgan Hospital and the Carleton Maternity Hospital in Church Street as the primary source of care for the town. It serves approximately 241,000 people from Mid Ulster and is one of the main cancer treatment centres outside Belfast.
Portadown's main local newspaper is the Portadown Times, which is published by Johnston Publishing (NI). Although the newspaper focuses on the Portadown area, it also serves towns and villages across north Armagh. It was founded in 1924 and is issued weekly. Until recently it was situated in the town centre at Church Street, but has moved three miles out of town to Carn Industrial Estate.
Between 2001 and 2005, Portadown resident Newton Emerson ran a controversial satirical online newspaper called the Portadown News. The website, which was updated biweekly, attracted media attention by poking fun at Northern Ireland politics and culture.
The Irish League in season 1989–90 comprised 14 teams, and Portadown won the championship.1990–91 Irish Cup
The 1990–91 Irish Cup was the 111th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 4 May 1991 with the final.
Glentoran were the defending champions after winning their 15th Irish Cup last season, defeating Portadown 3–0 in the 1990 final. This season Portadown went one better by winning their first Irish cup in their fifth appearance in the final. They defeated Glenavon 2–1 in the final.1995–96 Irish League
The Irish League in season 1995–96 comprised 8 teams, and Portadown won the championship.1998–99 Irish Cup
The 1998–99 Irish Cup was the 119th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. The last match was played on 20 April 1999. The final did not take place this year, for only the third time in the competition's history.
Glentoran were the defending champions after winning their 17th Irish Cup last season, with a 1–0 win over Glenavon in the 1998 final. This season they reached the sixth round, where they were defeated 2–1 by Cliftonville.
Portadown won the cup for the second time, after Cliftonville were disqualified from the competition for fielding an ineligible player in the semi-final replay against Linfield. Linfield were not permitted to replace Cliftonville in the final, so Portadown were awarded the cup without the final being played.1999–2000 Irish Cup
The 1999–2000 Irish Cup was the 120th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 6 May 2000 with the final.
Portadown were the defending champions, winning their 2nd Irish Cup last season after Cliftonville were disqualified from the 1999 final. This season Portadown reached the final again, but were defeated 1–0 by Glentoran, who won the cup for the 18th time.2001–02 Irish Cup
The 2001–02 Irish Cup was the 122nd edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 11 May 2002 with the final.
Glentoran were the defending champions, winning their second successive Irish Cup last season after a 1–0 win over archrivals Linfield in the 2001 final. This season Linfield went one better, to lift the cup for the 36th time overall and the first time in seven years, with a 2–1 win over Portadown in the final. This was Portadown's second defeat in the final in three years.2001–02 Irish League
The Irish League in season 2001–02 comprised two divisions of 10 teams each, and Portadown won the championship.2004–05 Irish Cup
The 2004–05 Irish Cup was the 125th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 7 May 2005 with the final.
Glentoran were the defending champions, winning their 20th Irish Cup last season after a 1–0 win over Coleraine in the 2004 final. This season the Glens reached the semi-final stage, but were defeated by Portadown, who then went on to lift the cup for the third time with a 5–1 victory over Larne in the final.
It was the highest scoring final in 36 years, since the 1969 final replay when Ards defeated Distillery 4–2. It was also the first time in 43 years that the final had been won by a four-goal margin, when Linfield defeated Portadown 4–0 in 1962. This was Larne's fifth appearance in the final without ever winning; a record in the competition that still stands. They had previously been runners-up in the 1928, 1935, 1987 and 1989 finals. Derry Celtic (1898 and 1904) and Limavady (1885 and 1886) are the only other clubs to have reached the final more than once, but never won.2005–06 Irish Cup
The 2005–06 Irish Cup was the 126th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. It concluded on 6 May 2006 with the final.
Portadown were the defending champions, winning their 3rd Irish Cup last season after a 5–1 win over Larne in the 2005 final. This season Portadown reached the quarter-finals, but were defeated by Glentoran. Linfield went on to lift the cup for the 37th time, defeating archrivals Glentoran 2–1 in the final. This was the 15th and to date, last time that both clubs have met in the final.2009–10 Irish Cup
The 2009–10 Irish Cup was the 130th edition of Northern Ireland's premier football knock-out cup competition. The competition began on 19 September 2009 with the first Round and ended on 8 May 2010 with the final.
Crusaders were the defending champions, winning their third Irish Cup the previous season after a 1–0 win over Cliftonville in the 2009 final. This season they reached the quarter-finals, but were defeated by Portadown. Linfield went on to lift their 40th Irish Cup, and fourth in five years, beating Portadown 2–1 in the final. Portadown earned a place in the first qualifying round of the 2010–11 UEFA Europa League because Linfield had already qualified for the UEFA Champions League via the 2009–10 IFA Premiership.2016–17 NIFL Premiership
The 2016–17 NIFL Premiership (known as the Danske Bank Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the ninth season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 116th season of Irish league football overall, and the fourth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The fixtures were announced on 7 July 2016. The season began on 6 August 2016 and ended on 29 April 2017, with the play-offs taking place in May 2017.
Crusaders were the two-time defending champions after winning the title for the previous two seasons. On 29 April 2017, Linfield beat Cliftonville 3–1 to win their 52nd league title on the final day of the season.It was an unlikely title win for Linfield, as after a 1–0 home defeat to Coleraine in January 2017, they sat seven points behind defending champions, Crusaders. A 1–1 draw at home against Portadown on 17 February 2017 meant the gap had grown to nine points with nine games left to play. However, Linfield won all nine of their remaining games, going unbeaten in their last 14 games of the season since the Coleraine defeat, winning 13 of them and drawing the other (the 1–1 draw against Portadown). They picked up 40 out of a possible 42 points to capitalise on Crusaders dropping points, and pipped them to the title on the final day of the season by two points.
Linfield qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up, Crusaders, along with third-placed Coleraine and the play-off winners, Ballymena United, qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League.Craigavon
Craigavon ( kray-GAV-ən) (from Irish: Creig na hAbhann; meaning 'Rock of the River') is a planned settlement in northern County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Its construction began in 1965 and it was named after The 1st Viscount Craigavon, the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. It was intended to be the heart of a new linear city incorporating Lurgan and Portadown, but this plan was mostly abandoned and later described as having been flawed. Among locals today, "Craigavon" refers to the area between the two towns. It is built beside two artificial lakes and is made up of a large residential area (Brownlow), a second smaller one (Mandeville), plus a central area (Highfield) that includes a substantial shopping centre, a courthouse and the district council headquarters. The area around the lakes is a public park and wildlife haven made up of woodland with walking trails. There is also a watersports centre, petting zoo, golf course and ski slope in the area. In most of Craigavon, motor vehicles are completely separated from pedestrians, and roundabouts are used extensively.
Craigavon sometimes refers to the much larger Craigavon Urban Area, which includes Craigavon, Lurgan, Portadown, Waringstown and Bleary.Drumcree conflict
The Drumcree conflict or Drumcree standoff is an ongoing dispute over yearly parades in the town of Portadown, Northern Ireland. The Orange Order (a Protestant, unionist organization)
insists that it should be allowed to march its traditional route to and from Drumcree Church. However, most of this route is through the mainly Catholic Irish nationalist part of town. The residents, who see the march as sectarian, triumphalist and supremacist, have sought to ban it from their area. The Orangemen see this as an attack on their traditions; they had marched the route since 1807, when the area was mostly farmland. The "Drumcree parade" is held on the Sunday before the Twelfth of July.
There has been intermittent violence over the march since the 1800s. The onset of the Troubles led to the dispute intensifying in the 1970s and 1980s. At this time, the most contentious part of the route was the outward leg along Obins Street. After serious violence two years in a row, the march was banned from Obins Street in 1986. The focus then shifted to the march's return leg along Garvaghy Road.
Each July from 1995–2000, the dispute drew international attention as it sparked protests and violence throughout Northern Ireland, prompted a massive police and British Army operation, and threatened to derail the peace process. The situation in Portadown was likened to a "war zone" and a "siege". During this time, the dispute led to the killing of at least six Catholic civilians. In 1995 and 1996, residents succeeded in stopping the march. This led to a standoff at Drumcree between the security forces and thousands of Orangemen/loyalists. Following a wave of loyalist violence, the march was allowed through. In 1997, security forces locked down the Catholic area and forced the march through, citing loyalist threats to kill Catholics. This sparked widespread protests and violence by nationalists. From 1998 onward the march was banned from Garvaghy Road and the Catholic area was sealed off with large steel, concrete and barbed-wire barricades. Each year there was a major standoff at Drumcree and widespread loyalist violence. Since 2001 things have been relatively calm, but moves to get the two sides into face-to-face talks have failed.Gloria Hunniford
Mary Winifred Gloria Hunniford, OBE (born 10 April 1940), is a Northern Irish television and radio presenter and singer on programmes on the BBC and ITV, such as Rip Off Britain with Julia Somerville and Angela Rippon, and her regular appearances as a panellist on Loose Women. She has been a regular reporter on This Morning and The One Show.M12 motorway
The M12 is a 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) length of spur motorway in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It was opened in 1970.It leads off the main M1 motorway, to Portadown, part of the conurbation of Portadown-Craigavon-Lurgan, and forms most of the route between junction 11 of the M1 (Ballynacor) and the A3 Northway at Kernan Loop. The road forms part of European route E18.Mid-Ulster Cup
The Mid-Ulster Cup is a senior football competition in Northern Ireland run by the Mid-Ulster Football Association (founded 2 April 1887).
First held in 1887/88, the inaugural edition was won by Milford. For 30 seasons, from 1947/48 to 1977/78, while remaining a senior competition, senior clubs declined to take part, instead fielding their reserve teams. Senior clubs returned, however, for the 1978/79 season, when the Bob Radcliffe Cup was introduced as an intermediate competition.The competition has been sponsored at various times by Golden Cow Dairies, Dukes Transport, Tennent's Lager, Bass, Ted Clarke, McEwan's Lager, Silverwood Hotel, Rushmere Shopping Centre and Belfast Telegraph.Northern Ireland Football League
The Northern Ireland Football League (commonly abbreviated to NIFL), known historically, and still colloquially, as the Irish League, is the national football league of Northern Ireland. The Irish League was originally formed in 1890, with the league in its current format created in 2013 to assume independent collective management of the top three levels of the Northern Ireland football league system; namely the Premiership, Championship and Premier Intermediate League.
In addition to the league divisions, the NIFL also operates the Northern Ireland Football League Cup for its member clubs, as well as the NIFL Development League and George Wilson Cup for their reserve teams, and the NIFL Youth League and NIFL Youth League Cup for their youth teams. Operated as a limited company, the 36 member clubs act as shareholders with one vote each. The NIFL is the successor to the Irish Football League, which was historically the league for the entire island of Ireland upon its formation in 1890; it became Northern Ireland's national league after the partition of Ireland in 1921.
Linfield are the current champions, lifting the league title for a record 53rd time. The title win was confirmed on 13 April 2019, following a 0–0 draw at home against the outgoing champions, Crusaders, which left them 12 points clear with three games remaining.Portadown F.C.
Portadown Football Club is a semi-professional, Northern Irish football club that plays in the NIFL Championship.
The club was formed in 1887 as a junior team initially seeking to participate in the Mid-Ulster Cup, with them eventually joining the Irish League with the support of other local clubs in 1924.
They are based in Portadown in County Armagh and play their home matches at Shamrock Park. The club's colours are red and white; their home kit consists of red shirts, red shorts and red socks with white trim on all, whilst their away kit is white shorts with red trim with red shorts and white socks.
The club's main rivals are Glenavon, with their matches being known as the "Mid Ulster Derby". The club is also bitter rivals with Glentoran.
Ronnie McFall served the club for 29 years as manager from 1986 to 2016.Portadown railway station
Portadown Railway Station serves Portadown in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.
|Climate data for Portadown|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.4
|Average low °C (°F)||1.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||74.5
|Average precipitation days (≥ Days of rainfall >= 1 mm)||14.3||11.0||13.3||11.6||11.8||10.9||11.7||13.0||12.2||13.7||13.6||13.3||150.3|
|Source: Met Office|
Italics denote settlements that are classed as towns but also have city status
Geography of County Armagh
|Cities and towns|