Victory in Europe: VE Day celebrations in Tandragee, Co. Armagh

VE Day celebrations in Tandragee, Co. Armagh included church services, street parties, and bonfires as locals gathered to mark the end of the war in Europe.

News broke on Monday 7th May 1945 that Prime Minister Winston Churchill would address the nation the following day. That day would go down in history as Victory in Europe Day or VE Day. In Tandragee, Co. Armagh, residents began to prepare the town for the festivities. By the time Churchill announced the German surrender and and end to hostilities in Europe, the town was ready.

Decorations went up throughout the town on the night of the 7th May 1945. On VE Day, locals filled churches for thanksgiving services before taking to the streets. In the Manchester Hall and other venues, dances took place. The people were in a celebratory mood.

A total of 3 bonfires blazed late into the night at Mill Row, The Square, and Church Street. In The Square, Belgian Infantry troops raised an effigy of Hitler onto the bonfire much to the delight of the gathered crowd. One local woman remarked:

He came to a warm end.

Among the crowd, someone dressed as Churchill waved victory signs as they puffed on the trademark cigar. Others joined in the fancy dress fun on Wednesday 9th May 1945 when Portadown Pipe Band led a procession through the town. On the same day, local children gathered at the Temperance Hall where the local council laid out a feast of lemonade and pastries.

The VE Day celebrations in Tandragee, Co. Armagh lasted throughout both days and fired burned well into Wednesday night as crowds danced the night away.