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Portadown - Armagh - Market St
Great B/W photo
Portadown was associated with the ancient and powerful local family of McCann who were among the area's earliest settlers. The town was the scene of an infamous massacre during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, when the Catholic insurgents killed around 70 of the Protestant townspeople on the bridge over the river Bann. The construction of the Newry Canal in 1740 and the later development of the railway lines to Belfast and Dublin, put Portadown at the hub of transport routes in Northern Ireland.
Portadown, County Armagh
Portadown (from the Irish: Port an Dúnáin meaning 'port of the fortress') is a town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It has an estimated population around 24,000 which is roughly two-thirds unionist and one-third nationalist. Portadown is situated on the River Bann, in the north of County Armagh. It is part of the Craigavon Borough Council area.
Portadown has a manufacturing sector that has grown beyond its roots in linen production to include carpet-weaving, baking and engineering. These industries all thrive against a backdrop of the traditional rural economy, as witnessed on Fridays when a large cattle market takes place in the town. For decades it has been the home of the Portadown Festival, which brings in thousands of participants in amateur dance, theatre, music and song.
Although the town can trace its origins to at least the 17th centuryit was not until the Victorian era, and the arrival of the railway that it became a major town. Portadown is known as 'The Hub of the North', the origin of this phrase coming from its central position in Northern Ireland and being a major railway junction in the past, where the Great Northern Railway's line diverged for Belfast, Dublin, Armagh and Derry.
Portadown was associated with the ancient and powerful local family of McCann who were among the area's earliest settlers. The town was the scene of an infamous massacre during the Irish Rebellion of 1641, when the Catholic insurgents killed around 70 of the Protestant townspeople on the bridge over the river Bann. The construction of the Newry Canal in 1740 and the later development of the railway lines to Belfast and Dublin, put Portadown at the hub of transport routes in Northern Ireland. There are many companies that have been a part Portadown's history, one being W.D. Irwin & Sons Ltd (Irwin's Bakery). Irwin's was established in 1912 by the grandfather (William David Irwin) of the existing joint managing directors, as a grocery retailer. W.D. Irwin's wife and sister-in-law were talented home-bakers, who began to bake cakes and bakery items for the shop. Soon additional bakers were employed to cope with the increasing trade, expanding the bakery out behind the shop. It moved to larger premises at Carn in 1994. The High Street Mall shopping centre currently stands in the place of the old bakery. Today Irwin's bakery is the largest independent bakery in Northern Ireland. Its bakery products are supplied to supermarket chains such as Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco, and other grocery chains, right down to small corner shops. Portadown also boasts a large selection of academia. Many primary and secondary schools are in the area, and the town is also home to one the the top Grammer Schools in Northern Ireland, Portadown College, which was opened in 1924.
Places of interest
With the establishment of the Millennium Court Arts Centre in 2002, the town has become improved since pre-Troubles times.
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