Dromore and District Local Historical Group Journal

Volume 2-1992




Days of the Silver Screen in Dromore

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 community.

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 young persons.

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 published.

Long 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.

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 build.
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 God.

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 fields.

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.

The approximate 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 our hedgerows.

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 accommodated.

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.




Spirit Dealers in 1865

  Wm. Black, Market Sq.
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
James 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

Spirit Retailers
D. Allen, J. Clarke, Wm. Clarke, Mrs. M. Dawson, J. Ireland, J. McDade, J. McMurray, J. Russell, Mrs. C. Smyth.

Spirit Grocers
P. Brown, James Chambers, J. (Mrs. M.) Jardine, P. McGrady, Mrs. M. O'Neil.

Hotel Keepers
Wm. Miller (Wellington), Wm. J. Napier.


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.

William Magee 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 current owners.

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 BRIDGE BAR.

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 1991.

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.

Josiah Ward 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 name.

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 time.

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 1988.

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 children's wear.



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.
John Lynch
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
I do!

Curiosity aroused, I climbed loftwards and unearthed an ancient Table Book - Property of the County Down Education Committee no less! Yes, there it was.


4 gills or naggins = 1 pint
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 barrel.

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 barrels.
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.

Things 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 been obtained.

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 cubic inches.

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
The Gallon

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 Ireland.

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.

What 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.

The 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.

Some help 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).

I 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.

I 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 wishes,
Yours sincerely
Clive Howard-Luck, Institute Librarian.


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  
  1st  Gemma Hogg St. Colman's Primary School
  2nd  Geraldine Wilson St. Colman's Primary School
  Age Group 9 to 12  
  1st  Andrew Bailie Tullymacarette Primary School
  2nd  Ruth Aitkin Central Primary School
  Age Group 13 to 17  
  1st Francis Rice Dromore High School
  2nd  Jan Magee Dromore High School
  Special Commendation
  Catherine Osbourne 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 competition. Some appreciation of the high standard reached can be gained by the following winners entries.

The Chairman meets Gemma Hogg. and her mother Dear Mary,
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.

The 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. Colman's PS)

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.

Other 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 soon.
Love Andrew Bailie,
Tullymacarette P.S. (age 10)

Dear Auntie Madge,
How are things down in Dublin? Are you still running the local Historical society?

Things are fine here in Dromore. I am just back from a long walk, I must have walked a couple of miles.

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 era.

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 bell.

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 about it.

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.

I 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 and overwork.

I had a swing, then returned home to baked beans on toast, my favourite.

Yours Sincerely,
Jan Magee, Dromore High School.
(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 below.

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.

In 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. eggs.

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.

So if you are feeling down or bored why don't you come to Dromore and it will cheer you up.

Best Wishes,
Ruth Aiken (age 11)
Dromore Central Primary School

Dear Aunt Bertha,
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 it.

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 Hall.

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 Square.

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.

Harry 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.

The last 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.

I 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,
Francis Rice.
(Class 3c Dromore High School, age 14).

Dear Marie Claire,
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)

Dear Musuki,
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 historical too.

The town 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 estate.

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.

Dromore 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.

Dromore 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 modern facilities.

Dromore 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 year.

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 cheese.

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 visit Dromore?

Yours Sincerely,
Catherine Osborne,
(aged 12 Dromore High School).