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Portadown County Armagh.



(Landing place of the small fortress.)

Read about Portadown from: SLATER'S Royal National Commercial Directory of Ireland 1818

The bustling town of Portadown sits astride the river Bann, it is sometimes called The 'hub of the north', referring to its geographical position in the center of Ulster. In the past the town was a center of engineering with two Iron Foundries, there were also several factories connected with the linen industry, there are now industrial estates on the outskirts of the town, catering for the diverse requirements of the local area and Beyond

Portadown's name comes from Port-ne-doon or Port an Dúnáin "Port of the fortified eminence," from a castle of the M'Cann's, who occupied this important Station, commanding the pass of the river Bann, it is thought the Mac Cana occupied this area since the 13th century, they were a sept of the Uí Néil who were the overlords of Ulster

From 1594 until 1603, the Uí Néill and an alliance of other clans fought a 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 confiscated land was distributed between English and Scottish undertakers who were loyal to the crown. They became known as undertakers because they undertook to plant their land within a specified time with a number of English settlers and to build a fortified house.

In 1610, the lands of Portadown were granted to a William Powell. In the following year he sold his grant of land to a Reverend Richard Rolleston, who in turn sold it in two portions to Richard Cope and Michael Obins.

Obins built a large tower house and bawn and settled about twenty English tenants on the land around it. This was in the area of the present day People's Park. Today this park is bounded on either side by Obins Street and Castle Street, both of which are reminders of "Obins' Castle". Cope had his estate at Loughgall not far from Portadown

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.

For over two hundred years from 1742 the town witnessed the passage of barges along the river Bann, carrying coal from the mines at Coalisland to Dublin, the river and the canal met a little to the south of Portadown. In 1842 the railway from Belfast reached Portadown, this was the precursor to the slow decline of the canal system.

In the late 1950's an unusual sight sometimes seen about the town was Mary Ann McCartan. Mary was a lady of advanced years, and would appear in town, with her donkey and cart to do her shopping, accompanied by a collie. One story relates that once while Mary was in a shop the donkey got bored and decided to go home, on its own. The donkey duly arrived home and was spotted by some local lads who decided to play a prank, they unhitched the donkey and cart, put the shafts of the cart through the gate and harnessed the donkey to the cart. No doubt Mary was perplexed and probably not amused, after her long walk when she arrived back to her little farm at Bluestone.

A railway line from Lisburn reached the town in 1841.

Youtube videos of Portadown

Lots more information here

River Bann.

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