History Of The Show

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Immediate Use Lurgan Show is one of the longer established, one-day shows in Ireland with a record of the society has one knows it today, initially being formed in May 1912 under the title of ‘Lurgan Agricultural and Recreational Society’. Inaugural Days From at least the mid 1840’s, Lurgan appears to have been to the forefront with a local agricultural show event organised under the auspices of the Lurgan Union Farming Society. However, the life span of the ‘Union’ is unclear but by 1912, great efforts were being made to organise an event for the Lurgan Agricultural and Recreational Society. The September 1912 show was a great credit to the formative society members as a fantastic display of agricultural, equestrian and Home Industries exhibits were provided. Landlords and Businesses within the town and from throughout Ireland were great supporters of the event with many companies offering support and providing prizes and silverware for the event.

That inaugural event is recorded as follows: “undoubtedly the best inaugural show ever held by an agricultural association in Ulster, both as regards the numbers of entries, and the number of visitors. The Show of cattle and horses was of an imposing and high class character, whilst the exhibits in the Home Industries section easily stood the first in the whole of Ireland and no opportunity should be lost to keep this section to the front in future years”. A major attraction at the 1912 show was a flight by M. Salmet which took off from an area adjacent to the current position of the fountain and was followed by two laps of the park lake. This in itself is highly significant considering that the first flight in Ireland took place in 1908 and within three years, a flight occurred in Lurgan with almost all spectators seeing an airplane for the first time. An eyewitness described the attraction as ‘an interesting spectacle’.

In addition, the band of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers had travelled from Dublin to attend the show event. Great record is also made of the excellent display of shorthorn cattle that attended the 1912 event. The Society also discussed a conclusion fireworks display but it is not known if this event ever took place although records indicate that some 10,000 persons attended the Showgrounds in the evening. The society continued to organise an annual show for a few years until the outbreak of World War I. This inevitably changed the direction of the show and a public event was curtailed for the next few years although regular lectures were provided within public buildings in the town. These types of events consisted of lectures on gardening and good farming practices.

In addition, the Society were developing the Showgrounds and record is also known of the Society having erected accomodation and a possible pavilion within the Public Park or Showgrounds, a title regularly referred to in 1912. Except for the World Wars when Lurgan Park and the adjacent Kings Park Field was in use for various other activities, the show society has continuously held an annual event. For over 160 years, the Show hosted in Lurgan has gone from strength to strength and now Lurgan Show offers a vast complex of activities and events to suit everyone and remains one of the most significant one day events in Craigavon Borough Council area and organised entirely by volunteers and supported by CBC.

The Lurgan Show event is no longer localised as it was away back in 1912 or even before but the show now reaches across the entire breadth of the UK and Ireland, with both exhibitors and judges travelling many miles to attend and support the event. The primary reason for a Show event is to showcase rural life and this focus remains a central theme and driving force behind the organisation. Kind Regards, John Harrison. Section Secretary Public Relations Officer 028 38881974 or 078 55007746 Contact me at: lurganshow@hotmail.co.uk

Man's Triumph Over Air

Henri Salmet, French Aviator pictured at the 1914 Lurgan Show