Lurgan is characteristic of many Plantation of Ulster settlements, with its straight, wide planned streets and rows of cottages. Lurgan Park, located a few hundred yards from the main street is the largest urban park in Northern Ireland and includes a sizable lake, and an original Coalbrookdale fountain. The park is overlooked by Brownlow House, a magnificent 19th century Elizabethan-style manor house. Lurgan Park is home to annual summer events such as the Lurgan Agricultural Show, the Lurgan Park Rally, noted as the largest annual motor sport event in Northern Ireland and a stage in the Circuit of Ireland Rally.
Earlier names of Lurgan include "Lorgain Chlann Bhreasail" (Lurgan of Clanbrassil), "Lorgain Bhaile Mhic Cana" (Long low ridge of McCann's townland — Lurgan Bally McCann) and Lurgivallivacket (the long hill of the McCann's place). The McCann sept (clan) were Lords of Clanbrassil, prior to the Plantation of Ulster period in the early 17th century. The McCanns were septs of the O'Neills.
In around 1610, during the Plantation period, the lands of Lurgan were given to the English lord William Brownlow and his family. In 1641 William Brownlow, his wife and family were taken prisoner and brought to Armagh and then to Dungannon, in County Tyrone. The land was then passed to the McCanns, and also the O'Hanlons. In 1642 Brownlow and his family were released by the forces of Lord Conway, who was operating in the Dungannon area. The family built up the linen industry and it is said that the greatest manufacture of linen was carried on in the town in the late 17th century.
Lurgan and the associated towns of Portadown and Craigavon make up what is known as the "murder triangle". For more information see The Troubles in Lurgan, which includes a list of incidents in Lurgan during the Troubles that caused two or more fatalities.Outside of Belfast, Lurgan was considered a Provisional IRA stronghold. It surpassed all areas outside of Belfast for incidents during the troubles.
Lurgan has two 18-hole golf courses, an artificial ski slope and an equestrian centre for show jumping. Arguably the most famous sporting character from Lurgan is Master McGrath, a greyhound who was bought in Lurgan by the Brownlow family and won the Waterloo Cup three times in 1868, 1870 and 1871. He is remembered all over the town, including in its Coat of Arms. A statue of him was unveiled at Craigavon Civic Centre in 1993, over 120 years after his last glory in 1871. A festival is also held yearly in his honour. A well known pub was also named after Master McGrath, although it has been renamed in recent years.