Belfast Celtic 1891 - 1949

All Aboard for Belfast Celtic!

East Belfast man Oliver Loughnan blew a mythical whistle at the Belfast Celtic Museum during it's latest opening but it wasn't of the refereeing kind!

It was more a platform conductor's whistle, for he brought with him an enormous railway poster from 1940, advertising the Football Special trains for a match between Celtic and Portadown at Shamrock Park.

Such was the draw of the Grand Old Team, special train stops had been arranged across the country - from as far south as Dundalk, from the west at Dungannon and the north from Belfast and Lisburn to allow the Stripes fans to get to the game. Prices ranged from 2 shillings and sixpence from Dundalk, to just seven pence from nearby Lurgan.

And such was the expected crowd for the game, played on Saturday March 9 at 3.00pm, that no luggage was allowed on board to clutter the carriages and children travelling still had to pay half fares!

Oliver has provided the cracking piece of memorabillia to the Museum on loan and it now takes pride of place at the entrance to the Park Centre unit.


Also visiting the museum was Brenda Bruce, daughter of Celtic star from the 1930s, Walter Bruce. Brenda brought a clutch of her father's career medals, spanning from his time in the Boys Brigade, right through to his league title winning medal from 1938, which were a fantastic talking point for gathering football entusiasts. She has also loaned her father's scrapbook to the Society to be copied and preserved for posterity.

Society Chairman Padraig Coyle brought along special recording equipment to capture the memories of many of the visitors on the day and these will be put to good use in the future. Legendary Belfast Celtic fan Jimmy Overend, who is looking forward to his 87th birthday in July, emptied his memory banks with details of Belfast Celtic and also on the magical Charles Patrick Tully, whose 40th anniersary will occur on July 27th this year.

The Belfast Celtic Society have special plans in the pipeline to remember Charles Patrick and these will be revealed shortly. Jimmy's recollections will form part of the celebration of Charlie's life!

Visitors from Glasgow were also made welcome and were fascinated to learn of the links between the 'Two Celtics', from their earliest days, right through to the Fergus McCann era, when the shares fo Belfast Celtic Director Tom Colgan, inherited from the Celtic-founding Grant family, were key to the takeover of Glasgow Celtic from the old White, Kelly and Grant family dynasties.

Father and son football memorabillia collectors Gary and Bernard Spain also dropped by, as did Stevie O'Reilly, Celtic correspondent for the Irish News.

If you would like to visit the Belfast Celtic Museum to share the magic of the Grand Old Team, the next opening at the Park Centre is on Saturday June 25 and Saturday July 9 from 12-5pm.