Days of the Silver Screen in
by HAROLD GIBSON
||For many years the
front page of the Leader carried an advertisement at
the top left hand corner. It was where the people of
Dromore and district would have looked to find out
what the coming attractions were at Dromore Cinema
for the ensuing week. Long before the days of
television and video the Cinema provided not only a
place of entertainment but gave film buffs an
opportunity to see their heroes in action on the
silver screen. Away back in the early part of this
century John Graham, the founder of the local
building and engineering firm founded the Dromore
Electric Light and Power Co. Ltd. and thus brought
electricity to Dromore. The Electric Station was
built on the banks of the Lagan in Grahams Yard and
a master electrician by the name of Rodgers was
employed to establish and supervise the project.
Mr. Rodgers took on three apprentices for this new
venture, William John Baxter, John Thompson and Hugh
George Boal. Mr. Rodgers pioneered a cinematograph
show in the Town Hall and his three apprentices
assisted him in this sideline that he was seeking to
establish in providing entertainment for the local
The projection equipment was primitive and the
film which had to be wound by hand from a spool
would break occasionally which resulted in a pause
in projection until the repairs were carried out and
the film got going again. The pictures on the screen
were jerky and flickering but were a great novelty.
Some of the stars of those days were Charlie
Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks Sen., Pearl White, Mary
Pickford and Mary Miles Minter. Often local artistes
would appear to make up the programme and to
entertain while the film was being changed or
repaired. Such items as "Mother Machree", "I passed
by your window", "Eileen Alannah" and "Kathleen
Mavoureen" were rendered by Sarah Deddis, Jessie
Lunn, Robert John McFadden and Minnie Hayes who was
a daughter of William James Crawford, a pig butcher
who resided at Mossvale. The performances of these
local artistes were always received with great
acceptance and encore.
After Mr. Rodgers moved away he was succeeded by a Mr.
Hurst who lived at "Elsinore" on the Hillsborough Road. Mr.
Hurst was employed as a manager in the Banbridge linen
weaving firm of William Walker & Co. He provided a cinema
show on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings in the Orange
Hall with an afternoon matinee on Saturday for children and
The auditorium was divided, the front seats consisting of
wooden forms and the rear seats being a more comfortable
type of chair
available to patrons at an extra cost. The films being
silent appropriate accompanying music was supplied by the
piano or other musical
instruments. Sam Jennings, a local violinist of some repute
who resided at Holm Terrace often filled this role. Mr.
Jennings also formed the Jennings String Band and this group
often contributed to the background music.
Mr. Hurst also promoted the occasional variety concert
with many artistes coming from Belfast one being Fraser
Doherty, a leading humourist of the time. Doherty emigrated
to America and went on to fame and success in the States.
Mr. Hurst was succeeded in the
entertainment business in Dromore by Mr. Larmour, a painter
and decorator from Banbridge. He continued to show films
each week in the Orange Hall.
The Cinema then returned to the Town Hall under the
management of James Dale who owned a chemist's shop James
Dale (Chemist) Ltd., the premises now occupied by Norman
Weir at the corner of Church Street and Bridge Street.
James' son Robert then took over the management of the
cinema and it opened six nights of the week, details which
were given in the weekly printed programme cards that were
before the days of television the Cinema was providing
entertainment to the town and district and even on Christmas
day a matinee showing was held. The entrance fee was 2d and
on leaving the cinema each patron was presented with a brand
new shiny ld! Many remember the "big" films that came to
town and drew large crowds such as "Gone with the Wind".
Others will recall getting out of school for an afternoon to
see the antics of the "Brook Bond" chimps. Through the
Fifties and into the Sixties the Cinema enjoyed wide support
but with the ever growing popularity of television, Cinemas
all over the country started to go into decline. People were
able to go to the Pictures in their own front rooms.
Robert Dale continued with the Cinema until 1969 when it
was bought over by David and Rosemary Harrison and they ran
the Cinema until 1976 when the Education and Library Board
acquired the premises to house the Library. So the pictures
in the Town
Hall came to an end and for many it brought an era to a
close. Sure we have entertainment at home with our
televisions and videos but for some the thrill of the big
screen, the atmosphere of the crowded Town Hall and the
usherettes torch shining into your eyes takes some beating!
Thanks are due to Mr. Frank Ireland, Mr. Sam
McClatchey and Mrs. Rosemary Harrison for their help in
compiling this article. I am indebted to Mr. Michael Dougan
for the loan of the programmes.
THE BIG WIND
by Hugh R. Moore
'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
heareth the sound thereof but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth.'
There are doubtless many people who have fears and foibles
which can be traced to the experiences of their forebearers.
I think of one lady, my mother, who could be placed in that
category. Her parents and her grandparents had suffered when
the Big Wind of January 1839 blew. I remember my mother as
having an awesome fear, perhaps dread, of strong wind. As a
boy I recall when the wind was strong her telling the story
she heard from her father and mother again and again of the
night of the Big Wind.
My great-grandparents, Hugh and Jane Rankin,
lived at Turfahun, about four miles from Bushmills, and,
like thousands of people all over Ireland, suffered
considerable damage to their house and outbuildings. The Big
Wind was such a catastrophic event that for many years it
was great talking point wherever people met.
When there was a severe storm my mother was
sure to mention the Big Wind and recall how her grandparents
carried bags of 'yellow meal' up the stairs and put them
against the windows to keep them from being blown in and the
roof put at risk. They huddled together and my
great-grandfather committed them to God, thinking it was the
end of the world. It was a night of terror.
A book, "The Big Wind", by Peter Carr, has been published
and is well worth reading. It covers what happened in many
places throughout Ireland.
This story and the one to follow are good
examples of oral tradition, so let me go on to the second
one and the other reason for my interest in the Big Wind.
The walls of Banbridge Road Presbyterian Church, Dromore, of
which I was to become a minister, were blown down that
awesome night. Mr. William Robert Jones of Carnew, who was
well known for his accurate accounts of times past, often
told me stories about the earlier years of the Church. His
grandfather had been a foundation member and he had helped
with others to build the walls of the church they had waited
so long to establish.
They had begun to negotiate a church in the
town in April, 1836, but the Presbytery had had reservations
about another Presbyterian Church, with First Dromore just
outside the town - and money was also a problem. Those who
were anxious to have their dream come true kept up the
pressure until in 1838 they got permission and, having
bought the present site from the Covenanters, began to
By January 1839 some of the walls were well on - one was
almost complete. Then, on the 6th of January, came the Big
Wind. Many throughout the town suffered severe damage that
terrible night, but none were more heart-broken than the men
who had drawn the stones in their farm carts and those who
had built the walls.
One wall was down and all were damaged.
One, I think, can enter into their feelings.
However, they looked and looked again and then got on with
the business of building. In telling the story William
Robert added that, in his view of what had happened, they
probably got on with the work of rebuilding the walls with
even greater enthusiasm, as is often the case where there
has been a setback.
The building was completed and two years
later the first minister was Ordained and Installed on the
7th of March 1842. The walls that had been blown down were,
over the years, to be filled by the wind of the Spirit of
"AND NO BIRDS SING" LA
BELLE DAME SANS MERCI - KEATS
By Rosemary McMillan
Field boundaries are a
distinctive feature of our landscape. Those overseas
visitors, who are used to prairie landscapes, are often
heard to exclaim in amazement at the small size of our
The first permanent field boundaries came into
existence around the 12th century. Their purpose was to
define the townlands. The modern day field pattern evolved
slowly from about 1650 to the early 1800's. As we, in
Ulster, did not always follow the English Law of
primogeniture, but often the Irish Law whereby an estate was
divided equally among a man's sons, the field was gradually
reduced, and confined to its present form by stone-walling
and hedge planting.
Expressions such as hedge-born,
hedge-school, hedge-marriage and hedge priest/parson, while
of a somewhat derogatory nature, at the same time reveal
social circumstances of an earlier period.
age of a hedge can be determined by the number of tree and
plant species it contains. While this varies, from county to
county, according to soil and climatic differences, the
hawthorn, with all it's attendant ancient taboos, is most
prevalent in County Down, where it constitutes almost 80% of
A lot of our wildlife depends on the hedges
for food and shelter. Hedge sparrows are an obvious example,
but shrews, hedge-hogs and innumerable insects are also
It was, therefore, with dismay, bordering on
dispair, that I watched one of those large, yellow,
mechanical monsters, ripping out two
hedges near my own home. Admittedly, due to years of
neglect, the hedges in question were in poor shape and no
longer stock proof.
Nevertheless, it has been difficult to
come to terms with their loss. Apart from a feeling of
disorientation so much no longer applies. Map
calculations, made by the Ordnance Survey, a few months ago,
are invalid but that can be rectified in the future.
Something which cannot be replaced with quite same facility
is the field names. The Board field and the Grove field have
become a nameless amorphous mass - the School House field
and the Low/Bottom field likewise.
While appreciating the
need for larger fields to cater for modern farm machinery I
submit that very little else has been achieved by this
destructive process of elimination. Two v-shaped hollows
occupy the former site of the hedgerows and now require, to
be artificially drained.
There is a better, though
unsolicited, view of my neighbour's backyard, and a garden
full of refugee rabbits. This is progress?
Argue the pros
and cons for yourselves!
The Historical Group would welcome any further
information regarding field names as we would like to record
them before any further loss occurs.
A SHORT HISTORY OF PUBLIC
HOUSES IN DROMORE
BY WILL PATTERSON
Spirit Dealers in 1865
||Wm. Black, Market
Ann Boyce, Market Sq.
John Dawson, Market Sq.
Hugh Herron, Market Sq.
B. McEvoy, Market St.
James Walker, Market Sq.
E. Ward, Market Sq.
Wm. Miller, Wellington Hotel
Clarke, Lr. Gallows St.
Wm. Watson, Lr. Gallow St.
Wm. Clarke, Castle St.
John McIlduff, Meeting St.
Robt. McMurray, Meeting St.
Mary McMillan, Church St.
Wm. Napier, Princes St.
Spirit Grocers in 1865
Joseph Boal, Church St.
Peter Brennan, Mount St.
John Hewett, Meeting St.
John Woods, Meeting St.
John Jardine, Bridge St.
Fred Mathers, Market Sq.
Wm. McCaw, Church St.
Bassetts. Co. Down Directory lists the Public Houses in
Dromore in 1886
D. Allen, J. Clarke, Wm. Clarke, Mrs. M. Dawson, J. Ireland,
J. McDade, J. McMurray, J. Russell, Mrs. C. Smyth.
P. Brown, James Chambers, J. (Mrs. M.) Jardine, P. McGrady,
Mrs. M. O'Neil.
Wm. Miller (Wellington), Wm. J. Napier.
PUBLIC HOUSES IN DROMORE IN DETAIL
Tom Ferris who
owned the WELLINGTON HOTEL in Princes Street died and was
buried on the 12th July, 1923. His funeral is said to be one
of the largest on record as the Orange demonstration was
taking place in Dromore on the same day. He was a well known
publican and funeral director in the town.
from Belfast bought the Wellington from the executors in
1923 for �2,000 and after his retirement he sold the
business during the 1939/45 war to Harry Morrow from
Belfast. He ran the pub for a short time and then sold it to
Hugh McFadden for �1,850 and it still is in the ownership of
the McFadden family to this day.
THE CROWN HOTEL in
Meeting Street was owned by W. J. Napier and he sold it to
Robert Craven in February 1900, who sold it in October 1900
to John Mulligan of Alma Lodge. Mr. Mulligan owned the
Woollen Hall in Bridge Street. John Mulligan died in 1927
and the bar was bought by Henry Patterson in 1927 for
�1,350. He ran the bar until his death in 1953 when his son
Will took over and ran it until 1986 when it was sold to
Frank Close and M. Williams from Carrickfergus. They are the
THE FARMERS INN at Lower Gallows Street
was owned by Nancy Clarke for many years and managed by her
nephew John Clarke. It was sold to Patrick Neeson whose son
still owns it.
David Allen had a bar in the Market Square
for many years and after he died it was run by his
son-in-law Alexander Mills. Later it was sold to Owen Cull
who had a bakery business as well. His son Owen rebuilt the
bar and made a new lounge and the bakery shop was closed,
the bar continuing as the MARKET BAR.
John Jardine owned a
bar in Bridge Street which was later run by his wife and
son. It was bought by Jack Copeland and after a few years it
was sold to Anthony Mallon operated as the Bus Bar, he who
in turn sold it in 1964 for �6,500 to L. Murphy of Banbridge
whose son John now owns and carries on the business as the
THE CASTLE BAR was owned by the Clarke
brothers and was managed by John Mulligan who was a trustee
of the Clarke estate. It was let for some years and was
finally bought by James Boyle in the early 1920's. It is
still owned by the Boyle family.
Patrick McGrady owned a
bar up Meeting Street. It was bought by Miss Creney and
after a long number of years in her ownership her nephew
Henry took over upon her death. On his death it was bought
by John M'Grehan, it ceased to be a licensed premises and he
ran a grocery and confectionery business until he retired in
THE CENTRAL BAR in the Square was owned by R.
Wilkins during the 1914/18 war. He sold the business to A.
Arbuckle in the 1920's and on 28th August, 1926 it was sold
to Walter McCandless and W. McClelland. They ran the bar for
some years before selling out to Frank and John Trench.
Frank sold to Issac Mullholland in 1964 for �8,000 and
retired to Newry. David Mullholland runs the bar today.
John Caufield's public house in the Market Square was bought
by Owen Keenan in 1918 for �2,000. He carried on the bar,
grocery and funeral business until his death when his two
sons Michael and Edward took over. It was then bought by
James Ross who had owned the Forest Park Inn in
Castlewellan. It was bought by the present owner James
McDonald a few years later and continues as
Robert Watson's Bar at the bottom of Gallows Street, was
managed by his brother Charlie for years, when they died, it
was bought by the Neeson family, who pulled it down
whereupon it ceased as licensed premises.
owned a bar in the Square he died in 1932 and the bar was
bought by Hugh McFadden for around �600. It is still owned
by the McFadden family and continues to operate under their
The Classic Bar in the Square was owned by a Mr.
Burns. He sold the bar to R. J. McFadden, who had a betting
shop in Culls entry. After a number of years it was sold to
Aubrey Weir, who started a hardware business on the premises
which ceased to be licenced. It is now the Dromore Post
Office and is owned by Mr. Joe Weir.
Mrs. Molly Dawson
formerly Patterson from Listullycurran, farmed there with
her husband. When her husband died, she sold the farm and
bought a bar in the Square for �80.00 in the early 1880's.
She was a relation of Mrs. R. J. Poots, and when Mrs. Dawson
died the bar was taken over by R. J. Poots & Co. in 1902, he
had a grocery and funeral business etc. on the premises.
After R. J. Poots died it was run by his family for years.
Then it was sold to Bobby Price and later to Mr. Hunter and
partner and also to a Mr. Hewitt. Latterly known as THE
CORNER HOUSE, the spirit licence was discontinued when it
was acquired by Mr. Wm. Draffin who currently runs an estate
agents business in it under the long-established local name
of George Preston & Co.
James Chambers, Church Street was
a grocer, wine and spirit merchant and also hardware, timber
and seed merchant, he was successor to Wm. McCaw. These
premises were bought by the Ulster Bank Ltd., who built a
new Bank in 1920 on the site the licence ceasing at this
Mooney's Bar was partly destroyed by fire in 1931,
the premises were bought by Joseph Lindsay who owned the
Leader Newspaper. He moved his business from where Reids
Newsagents are now to the new premises he bought, the spirit
licence being given up.
McDade's public house was in the
square. It was closed around the end of the 1914-18 war,
afterwards the licence ceasing Mr. T. Armstrong had a
jewellers shop on the premises for years. When he retired
Jack Ferris rebuilt the premises and carried on a
confectionery and Ice cream business.
THE STORE BAR was up
an entry in Bridge Street beside Thomas Castle's Boot and
Shoe Shop. Alexander Patterson of Rampart Street was
proprietor till he died in 1903, No. 11 RBP Lodge sat on the
premises in his time. After the Clarke Bros. owned the
Castle Bar and Store Bar and later the bars were let as Mr.
Mulligan was trustee of the Clarke estate when they died.
The spirit licence being given up. Mr. T. Castles had his
boot and shoe repair business on the old store bar premises
for years, which were pulled down to make the new road in
THE STAGS HEAD public house in Church Street was
owned by a Mr. Stewart. Mrs. Olive B. Kerr bought the
premises from Mr. Stewart and changed the name to the
Railway Temperance Hotel where she kept boarders, the spirit
licence was given up, this was in 1915 and she was there
till 1934 when she moved to Newcastle. Afterwards Mr.
Celestine Nicolletti had a fish and chip shop known as the
Classic Cafe which was run by him and his family for some
years, and then Mrs. E. Herdman carried on a hardware
business until she retired in 1990. The premises is now
known as the Catherine Wheel, specialising in ladies and
THE MYSTERY MEASURE
BY ROSEMARY McMILLAN
EXTRACT FROM A
LETTER IN THE BOOK OF APPLOTMENT FOR DROMORE IN 1834
And I also do further certify that the average price of
oats, being the corn principally grown in said county for
the period of seven years ending the first of November one
thousand eight hundred and thirty, is twelve shillings and
eleven pence halfpenny per barrel, according to the average
prices extracted from the Dublin Gazetter.
dated this 14th day of October, 1833.
Commissioner for Dromore.
Source:- Public Records Office, Balmoral Avenue, Belfast.
While transcribing the above extract I couldn't help
wondering what weight of oats was contained in the barrel
mentioned. A dictionary yielded the fact that a barrel held
36 imperial gallons but, surely oats constituted a dry
weight? Hadn't we once learnt tables about bushels and pecks
and even sung some drivel on the subject?
I love you,
A bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck
Curiosity aroused, I climbed loftwards and unearthed an
ancient Table Book - Property of the County Down Education
Committee no less! Yes, there it was.
MEASUREMENT OF CAPACITY
4 gills or naggins = 1
2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
2 gallons = 1 peck
4 pecks = 1 bushel
8 bushels = 1 quarter
5 quarters = 1 load
Five quarters but still no
Mrs. McVeigh coped admirably with my garbled message left
on her answer-phone. Yes, she too, remembered bushels and
pecks and unearthed an old encyclopaedia which furnished the
information that 36 bushels equalled 1 chaldron and five
quarters were called a wey but no barrel.
Back to the
dictionary. This time an old one circa 1912, which claimed
to be Pronouncing, Explanatory, and Etomological with
illustrations - just the thing!
Barrel :- a
cylindrical wooden vessel made of curved staves bound with
hoops - the quantity which such a vessel contains, 36
imperial gallons of ale and beer - a certain weight or
quantity of other goods usually sold in casks called
Someone was hedging his bets.
Chaldron :- an old coal measure holding 36 heaped
bushels and weighing 25�
cwts (hundredweights). Good value!
Chalder :- an old Scots dry measure containing 16
bolls. Fearing weevils in the grain I sought an explanation
Boll :- a measure of capacity for grain used in
Scotland and the North of England. In Scotland usually 6
Imperial bushels, in England varying between 2 and 6
Imperial bushels - generous Scots?
Wey :- a measure or weight differing with different
articles. For example it can mean, 182 lbs of wool; 40
bushels of salt or corn; or 48 bushels of oats.
were becoming complicated and still no barrel. So, it was
with relief that I accepted the suggestion to consult the
Weights and Measures branch of the Trading Standards
Department. Through them, I was able to make contact with
the Institute of Trading Standards at Hadleigh in Essex. The
following letter is the interesting and comprehensive reply
which I received and acknowledge most gratefully.
Dear Mrs. McMillan,
Thank you for your letter of 14th July enquiring about the
use of the `barrel' as a dry measure/ weight for the sale of
oats in Ireland.
I have consulted a number of
sources and the most fruitful has been the `Fourth Report of
the Standards Commission' (C. 147a) HMSO, 1870, in Appendix
V at page 253, from. which the following information has
In 1965, the Irish Parliament in the
Act 7 Will. 4 c. 24 provided for the use of standard
measures throughout Ireland. The basic unit established by
the Act was the English gallon of 272�
By sect. 2 the following standard
measures were lodged in the Irish Exchequer, under the
custody of the Lord Treasurer or Vice- Treasurer, viz.
The Barrel containing 32 gallons
The Half-barrel containing 16 gallons
The Bushel containing 8 gallons
The Peck containing 2 gallons
Sect 2 also directed that copies of
these standard measures be provided in every county, city,
town under the custody of the magistrates or local
authorities, Sect. 5 prohibited the use of measures, other
than standard measures, for measuring any sort of grain in
However in 1733 by the Act 7 Geo. 2 c.15
the Irish Parliament required that all sorts of corn as well
as meal were to be bought and sold by weight.
I have not been able to discover is any indication as to how
far the prescribed change from dry measure to weight was
observed or as to any conversion factor.
problems of the varying sizes of the gallon and bushel are
set out by Professor R.D. Connor in Chapter six of his book
`The Weights and Measures of England; HMSO, 1987. This book
is available in many reference libraries.
may be found from the UK. Corn Returns Act 1882 where Sect.
8 indicates that in the case of weight or weighed measure
the conversion shall be made at the rate of 60 imperial
pound for every bushel of wheat, 50 pounds for every bushel
of barley and 39 pounds for every bushel of oats.
There is therefore a strong possibility that the 'barrel of
oats' was 4 bushels (1695 Act) and weighed about 156 lbs (4
x 39) (Corn Sales Acts and Corn Returns Act).
have discussed your query with Maurice Stevenson, the
Institute Historian, and he knows of no other answer than
the possible solution that I have given above.
regret that I am unable to provide any definite answer but I
would be interested to hear of any further information which
you may unearth in your research.
With all best
Clive Howard-Luck, Institute Librarian.
CIVIC WEEK AND THE HISTORICAL
Following their policy of participating where
possible in local community events, the Group, as in
previous years, organised and ran a very successful Treasure
Hunt in June of this year. From the proceeds of this, we not
only met the expense of this event, but were able to mount a
competition for local schoolchildren. This took the form of
a literary competition. The children were asked to write a
letter to a real or imaginary relative living abroad telling
them about their town "Dromore" and why they liked living
there. Entries were requested from Dromore High School and
the local primary schools who normally take part in the
annual Sports Day (ie. The Central, St. Colman's,
Tullymacarett and Carnew). From a large response the
following pupils were adjudged the winners. The presentation
of prizes to the children was made by the groups chairman,
Mr. Trevor Martin, on the last afternoon of Civic Week.
||Age Group 5 to 8
||St. Colman's Primary School
||St. Colman's Primary
||Age Group 9 to 12
Group 13 to 17
Dromore High School
The Historical Group was
greatly impressed by the
high quality of the entries
received and wish to thank
all the pupils for their
enthusiastic response to the
appreciation of the high
standard reached can be
gained by the following
I am writing to tell you
about my home town Dromore.
I like Dromore because it is
a small town and there are
lots of shops close to my
home so we do not have far
to walk. The shopkeepers
know my name and are kind to
me. My school and Chapel
called St. Colman's are
across the road from my
house. I go for walks on the
Mount with my mum.
Mount is a big hill where
people lived a long time
ago. I can see all of my
town and my house from the
top of the Mount. I like to
try and think what it would
have been like to have lived
on the Mount in the olden
days. I have lots of friends
and cousins in Dromore and
we all live happily together
in our small town. I like
living in Dromore very very
much. I hope you can come to
visit soon. Lots of Love,
Gemma Hogg (aged 6 St.
Dear Uncle Roland,
Mum and Dad were telling me
that you are coming over to
Dromore for your summer
vacation so I thought I
would take this opportunity
to tell you a little about
Dromore. It is a small
country town where everyone
knows everyone else, unlike
your large cities in Texas.
The word Dromore means Great
Ridge. The Great Ridge is
the Mound and a tradition
says that there is a cave
running from the Mound to
the old Castle but it has
never been found.
historical interests include
the Cathedral, the Stocks,
the Granite Cross and the
war memorial. Dromore is a
very sporting town and has a
rugby club of which I am a
member, an athletics club
and tennis courts and if
that doesn't wear you down
there is always the High
School disco. And because
you can't bring your car the
bus service will take care
of you. The river Lagan is a
wonderful sight and is worth
following and if you get
tired you can always sit in
the park and look at the
viaduct. I hope you will be
here to enjoy our annual
Horse Fair and Civic Week.
There you shall see old
cars, horses and there will
be a selection of stalls.
Look forward to seeing you
Love Andrew Bailie,
Tullymacarette P.S. (age 10)
Dear Auntie Madge,
How are things down in
Dublin? Are you still
running the local Historical
Things are fine
here in Dromore. I am just
back from a long walk, I
must have walked a couple of
I walked through
the park round the huge
viaduct and back out again,
heading towards the ancient
Cathedral. As I walked
passed it I could hear
voices singing loud and
clear, they bellowed through
the large cast iron bells.
Reminiscent of a bye gone
I hurried around into
Dromore Square as a hungry
looking Alsatian was coming
my way. I managed to lose it
and I turned round to find
myself outside the huge,
shiny green-painted door
which led into the library
and as it was a Sunday the
library was closed. I closed
my eyes tight and tried to
imagine a fair taking place
in olden days, The old
farmers with their caps,
horseboxes, cows dung and
the man talking double dutch"
in a thick country accent. I
was quickly awakened by the
chime of the old town-hall
I thought mum would
want me back for my lunch
but I thought what the heck,
this is my day so I decided
to walk up to the 'Mound"
When I arrived there was a
family picnicking. I closed
my eyes tight and tried to
imagine a battle taking
place with shiny armour,
spears and swords, men
shouting and horses falling
to the ground. I opened my
eyes and viewed the
silhouetted Motte and Bailey
against strong sun-light.
I then decided to go for a
swing on the swings down in
the Holm Terrace play park.
So I marched up the Lurgan
Road watching my back so
that terrible Alsatian
wouldn't chase me. I decided
to go up to the old train
station and pig market
because I often hear Mr.
Russell talking about how
the Banbridge Academy
students used to travel to
school by train. The railway
track used to run along the
top of the Viaduct. This was
before the dual carriageway
was built of course. I
arrived outside the front
door and was going to rap
but decided not to. There
was no evidence that a
railway track was ever
there. And to think the
people living in it now
would have everyone tramping
through their home 40 or 50
years ago .... it gave me
the shivers even to think
I closed my eyes
and tried to imagine the
very prim and proper well
dressed ladies with
gentlemen very grand and
masculine standing at one
side, and the poorer men
with pedal pushers and old
caps, the women in old
shawls and boots standing at
the other side with their
screaming children mingling
with bells ringing from the
train. I was brought back to
earth by a starling swooping
low on its prey, a small,
slithery juicy long worm,
probably its lunch.
hurried on towards Holm
Terrace, passed the factory
itself and the labourers
houses which belonged to the
factory. When I came to the
end of the houses I stopped,
closed my eyes tightly and
imagined the "hands" of all
ages: Women, children, men,
all shapes and sizes coming
from their house to the
factory, pale and weary due
to lack of sleep, no proper
food or washing facilities
I had a
swing, then returned home to
baked beans on toast, my
Jan Magee, Dromore High
(aged 13 years 7 months).
Dear Auntie Stephanie,
I hope you are feeling well.
I am going to tell you about
Dromore. There is so much to
talk about I just don't know
where to start.
One of the
things I like most about
Dromore is the Mound. Many
years ago the Normans lived
there with there fort on top
and the moat around. Of
course all that is left now
is the Mound. You can walk
up to the top and look down
on all the houses and fields
There is a river
that flows through Dromore,
it is called the river
Lagan, over the Lagan is the
Viaduct, it is a very old
bridge. Trains used to
travel over it. You can't
walk across it but it's just
as nice to look at.
Especially at night when the
spotlights are on it.
Dromore square there is a
library, I think it used to
be a cinema and they had to
close it down. In front of
the library is the, stocks.
They used to put people in
them when they were bad and
throw things at them, e.g.
There are lots of
parks in Dromore, the Holm
Park has a playing fceld,
park, tennis courts and a
bowling green. The Mills is
another park every year at
Easter there is a five mile
run round it held by the
combat Cancer group. At Holm
Park there is going to be a
leisure centre built.
There are lots of youth
clubs too and the Horse Fair
is every year at autumn, I
love going to it.
you are feeling down or
bored why don't you come to
Dromore and it will cheer
Ruth Aiken (age 11)
Dromore Central Primary
Well hello Auntie Bertha,
its me Francis your nephew.
I hope you are enjoying the
good weather in Florida I
know you have only been in
Dromore twice, so mum says
anyway. Well since you don't
know much about Dromore I
will tell you a bit about
Well to start of with
it has a population of about
2500. We have a couple of
historical places in Dromore
such as the Viaduct which is
in the Banbridge Road park.
Trains used to go over this
from Belfast to Newry and
run over the river Lagan.
The viaduct is a monument to
Victorian Engineering and is
still in perfect condition.
Then there is the Ancient
Celtic Cross close to the
Regent Bridge built in 1811
and is surrounded by the
Dromore Cathedral which was
found in ruins by Bishop
Jeremy Taylor and had it
rebuilt in local whinstone.
Then there is Dromore Mound
which is surrounded by a
moat. The Vikings used this
mound. Another interesting
sight is the Dromore Stocks
preserved for the interest
of visitors and the dread of
local brides and grooms to
be, which stands in front of
the local red brick Town
Dromore is quite a
peaceful County Down town up
in the hills in the upper
regions of the Lagan Valley.
It is surrounded by
mountains such as
Slievecroob and Crutchely in
Finnis, Dromore and the
Mourne Mountains. There is
many country roads near so
you can go for walks and
they will mostly all lead
you back into the Town
It has a varied
historic past as the
Cromwellian army approached
the town and levelled it
along with the Cathedral.
The army is supposedly to
have camped overnight and
fired their cannons on the
town the following morning
on Canon Hill which my
granny and grandad now own.
Most towns have their heroes
and historical persons of
note. Dromore has many
heroes such as Cowan Heron
of Altafort, Skeogh who was
a very generous benefactor
to the district in past
days. He built and endowed
the local Cottage Hospital
which bears his name today.
He also provided the Town
Clock on the Town Hall. Both
of these buildings were
constructed towards the end
of last century.
Ferguson the famous tractor
magnate was born at Growell,
Ballykeel about four miles
from Dromore. Less well
known was the distance
runner Sam Ferris who ran in
three Olympic marathons. On
the third Saturday in August
the local running club still
remember Sam and hold races
in his honour and a park is
named after him.
Saturday in September is the
date for another event which
attracts interest from a
wide range of people from
far and near. For this is
the day of the Dromore Horse
Fair. This old style fair
with various competitions,
stalls and horse auctions is
known as the "locals big day
out" and visitors no doubt
will find plenty of interest
and bargains in the shops on
such a day, for above
everything else friendship
and a hearty welcome will
greet you at Dromore.
like Dromore a lot and I'm
sure if you came for a week
or so you would get to like
it as well. Well I have to
go but I will write again as
long as you write back.
Yours With Love,
(Class 3c Dromore High
School, age 14).
My name is Geraldine Wilson
and I have 2 brothers and 4
sisters. I am in P3 in St.
Colman's primary school. I
love living in Dromore
because it is a lovely town
surrounded by countryside. I
live in a small estate near
to the shops, Chapel and my
School. There are about 100
pupils and 5 teachers in my
school. In the hall between
the chapel and the school we
have our youth club every
Friday night. We play lots
of indoor games and when the
weather is good the leader
takes us outside to play
some games. About ten
minutes walk from my house
there is a lovely park with
a river flowing through the
middle of it. There are
swings and slides and
climbing frames at one side
of the river and at the
other side there are lots of
picnic tables and nice
places to walk. At the side
of our estate there are lots
of fields full of cows and
when we go out to play we
stand and watch the cows and
their calfs. These are all
the reasons why I like
living in Dromore.
Hope to see you soon,
Love from Geraldine Wilson.
(age 7 St. Colman's PS)
I am writing to say how good
Dromore is, as a town and to
live in. Dromore is a
historical town with the
remains of Gill Hall, a
large estate on the Lurgan
Road outside Dromore and the
Viaduct that once carried
the train to Belfast and the
Mount which the Normans
built which used to have a
bailey, the stocks, the town
hall and the Celtic Cross in
the town centre are very
is usually quite clean and
the shopkeepers are quite
happy too. Dromore has an
annual Horse Fair in
September which sells all
kinds of horses and donkeys,
grooming equipment and
saddlery, carts and last of
all yellowman. This year the
fair is at the Gill Hall
Dromore has two
primary schools, Dromore
Central and St. Colman's and
one secondary school,
Dromore High. There are lots
of country schools like
Carnew, Gransha, Kinallen
and Tullymacarrete just
outside the town.
has had many changes over
the years. It has the new
steel factory at the edge of
the motorway, Graham's
Bakery has a new Bake House,
new housing estates like
Mourne View and Denfort
Lodge, new railings round
the town Hall and an access
lift for the elderly to get
to the library.
High School is the most
popular school because of
it's high standards of
teaching and discipline as
well as this the extension
is taking place at the back
and is huge. The reason they
have the extension is
because of the high number
of pupils and the school is
not big enough to cater for
them. In the extension there
will be new language rooms
and science laboratories,
English and maths rooms
which will have all the
is said to be getting a
leisure centre in the Holm
Park, Lurgan Road. In the
centre there will be sunbeds,
saunas, sports fields,
bowling and tennis areas.
The leisure centre will be
convenient for the schools
and the young people. The
one thing Dromore would need
is a swimming pool and will
save the schools going to
Banbridge to swimming
lessons. Dromore has also
got a rugby pitch at Barban
Hill which holds discos,
parties and Barbeques. The
rugby teams have won many
cups, they won a cup this
year and so did Dromore High
School's rugby team this
Every Thursday at
the Town Hall there is a
market which sells
everything from fruit to tin
foil. People from the
surrounding countryside and
town like to come to the
market to meet their friends
and to get bargains of
fruit, vegetable and
clothing. Dromore is a
farming town. It runs a
weekly livestock market, on
Monday they sell pigs and on
Thursday they sell cattle.
Most of the farms
surrounding Dromore are
dairy farms and the milk
they produce is sent to a
dairy to be pasteurised and
made into cream, yogurt or
I hope you would
be interested to come to
Dromore, if you do you will
get a warm and friendly
welcome. Would you like to
(aged 12 Dromore High