Social Club History

The establishment of St Peter's GAC in 1941 was for the primary purpose of Gaelic football and a source of social interaction for the people living in the immediate vicinity of St Peter's Church in the North Street area of Lurgan known as "Freecrow". Membership grew steadily, and in 1958 a clubhouse in the form of a canteen hut was purchased from a local builder and was sited in Grattan Park behind Kilmaine Street. This was replaced in 1965 by a new wooden structure. In 1970 the wooden clubhouse was destroyed in a fire. As a temporary measure, the Club moved into St Patrick's Hall, also situated beside Grattan Park and owned by the Parish. When the claim to the authorities as a result of the loss of the clubhouse was settled, the Club applied for planning permission to rebuild the clubhouse on its original site but was refused.

In an alternative move Craigavon Borough Council offered to rent land to the Club in Oakleigh which was located on the other side of North Street, and this is Club's current home. The site, which was one and one third acres, was eventually purchased and a new clubhouse built in 1975. Drawing on direct labour and the generous goodwill of the many volunteers who had the necessary skills and experience, the Social Club was built in record time and to the required standard.

Comprising a function room, Club bar, kitchen, store, committee room and toilets (ground floor), and snooker room, games and TV rooms, store and toilet (upper floor), the Social Club provided a much needed modern and friendly focal point in the heartland of the "Freecrow" community. The Club was given a bar license in 1976, and in 1981 the clubhouse was further extended.

Also erected at the time were two port' cabins for the sole use of the Club's youth club (see Youth Club section for more details).

Following the successful battle in the late eighties with Craigavon Borough Council and the award of £225,719.05, arising out of the “willful misconduct” by some members of the Council (further details are in the Club History section), work got underway to develop the adjacent seven acre site, comprising an old factory and wasteland that had lay idle for years, and had once been a natural playground for the children of "Freecrow" and surrounding area. This led to the development of the playing field, an all-weather pitch, adjoining car parks, and the surrounding area landscaped to blend in with the unique setting.

In parallel to the significant field development programme, work was also continuing to maintain and develop the Social Club. Since it opened its doors, the Social Club has been refurbished on several occasions to meet the rising expectations of its members and the general public. The latest refurbishment took place early 2001 when the Club bar was upgraded to the highest standard.

The Club's function hall and kitchen are available for private bookings - many a wedding, christening and funeral reception has taken place in the Function Hall through the years - while other local cultural and charitable events have also used the premises. The Club has also witnessed some fantastic nights over the years and played host to some of the very best in the music industry, including outdoor festivals featuring the likes of - the Wolfe Tones, Paddy Reilly and other household names. A particularly special occasion was hosted recently, when Club president, Benedict Lavery took centre stage in celebration of receiving the prestigious Beni Merenti Papal Medal earlier in the day from the Most Reverend Bishop John McAreavey.

Some of the weekly events which currently take place in the Function Hall include - line dancing, Irish Dancing classes, scor practice, youth club activities, music, dancing, and the traditional Friday night bingo which has been running since the 1940s! In the early days when money was scarce the prize money depended on how many players there were. For example, thirty players each paid one penny for a single line. This meant that two and sixpence (twelve and a half pence) was lifted - the winner got one and sixpence and the Club took the remaining shilling (5 pence in today’s money). It’s humbling to think of the time and effort that went into making a profit of one shilling by so many hard working clubmen, at a time when one can become a multi-millionaire for a £1.00 stake!

In addition, the Function Hall is host to the annual Christmas party for members' children, nieces, nephews and grandchildren, as well as the Club's annual dinner. All of these events and more receive tremendous support from the Club's loyal, hard working and committed Ladies Committee who are always willing, sometimes at the last minute, to attend to Club functions. Over the years the Social Club has supported and continues to support other competitive activities, including golf, athletics, pool, snooker and darts.

The Club Bar is the place to be for craic, banter or simply to catch up with what is happening or has happened in the local Community. It is here you can expect to be given opinions on almost anything or have your most (usually your last) embarrassing moment broadcast just as you step out for a smoke or to use the toilet.

Club Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 7.00pm - midnight
Saturday: noon - midnight
Sunday: 12.30pm – 11.00pm

For further information on any of the Social Club events, or if you would be interested in using the Club premises for a function, please telephone the Club Bar any evening after 7.00pm telephone 028 38 326416.

Social Club Manager: Liam McConville

Social Club Committee 2009:
Chairman:
Martin Lavery
Secretary: Kevin McSherry
Treasurer: Tomas Byrne

Members:
Michael Carville, Emmet Derby, Gerald Jordan, Colm Keegan, Malachy Keegan, Martin Kilroy, Adrian McGrath, Kevin McGeown, John McStravick.