Do any of you remember 'the Lurgan Players'? They were a cast of stage players produced by the late Mr. Sam Monroe whose brother, the late Fred Monroe, was for a time Mayor of Lurgan. They practised initially at the Haymarket which was down Castle Lane on the right near Douglas 'Smithy'. The group included Messrs. Vincent Lavery, Aloysius Lavery, Harry McKeown, Jimmy Loughran and a lady named Leathem and another named Bell.
He had wonderful scenery, three sets to suit a large, middle sized and small stage. One of the plays which was produced was called the 'Hills of Ballyhoe' and it packed the town hall for nights. Other plays included 'The poor of New York' and 'Charlie Peace'
The Skits of Billie Gille
Do you remember Billie Gillie? Seemingly he lived at May's Court, which was off Market Street, near ILnary's. Among other things he was known as a regular attender at furniture marts and downed his way through the bidding causing a lot of merriment. Because he constituted a sort of side-show, the auctioneers apparently put up with all his antics, and people went specially to enjoy his performance.
One of his hobbies was writing poems or ballads parodying local personalities. Some of these compositions were anything but complimentary, and he roused the ire of various victims but none sued him.
A Ditty by Billie Gillie
"I remember, I remember the time when I was young. They split the town of Lurgan, and by Honest men was run. There's Grat McGeagh the premier, who charges us for skating: and Blow-Hard Hopps of Hill Street, who's second on the nod. And Pickie Joey X the alien foreign fraud. The 12 toed man, the chemist who couldn't cure a cough (A.W. MANN?). And Mr. Page the byre man, the King of Ballyblough. And 'Trundley' Waite of Derry Lodge who is only there for honour. And Geordie Russell, who cannot much attend: He has a lot of nursing, and ideal tea to blend.. And Neddy at the cinema, collecting in the tanners: Pedlow who would set you up a Whiskey, or even a motor car."
- Pedlow - owned the Royal Oak Bar
- Russell - owned Russell's Grocery Store
- Ned Lunn - lifted money at the Cinema
- Mr Waite - "trundled" around on a pushbike
- Mr Page - seems to have been a dairy man
- The Alien Foreigner - is said to have told Gillie he would give anyone £1,000 if they would tell him who wrote the ditty, to which Gillie allegedly retorted 'I did and I will have the £1,000 now!' Seemingly, 'the target' decided to let the matter drop.
When the lake was frozen over, skaters -had to pay a charge to use the rink - By order of the Town Council. Mr. Russell had no children.