Belfast Celtic 1891 - 1949

Paddy McIlroy

Paddy Mc Ilroy The Belfast Celtic Society as well as the greater Celtic family lost one of its most respected members last week when the society’s treasurer, Paddy McIlroy, passed away following a long illness. Paddy’s roots were set very firmly in the soil of West Belfast or to be more precise, the hallowed turf of Celtic Park. 

As a boy he spent many happy hours watching his beloved Belfast Celtic in action at Paradise. He loved to recount stories of the days when he would be lifted over the stile to get into the ground and watch his heroes in action. His father ran a butchery business  which was destroyed during  the German air raids on  Belfast  in 1941.  

After completing his education at St Malachy’s College, a young Paddy began a career in the Northern Ireland Civil Service where one of his first postings was to County Fermanagh. Away from work, Paddy’s passion for sport was shared between football and squash. He was one of the founding members of the Rosario Squash club and also served as president of the Ulster and Irish Squash Associations.


Paddy’s contribution to public service was recognised with the awarding of the Imperial Service Order in 1990.  On his retirement he continued to give his time to the voluntary sector and spent many years helping the Northern Ireland Housing Association Charitable Trust.

On the formation of the Belfast Celtic Society in 2003,  Paddy’s knowledge of  the workings of charitable and voluntary organisations proved invaluable as he took on the role of  the society’s secretary and treasurer.  The Belfast Celtic Society will forever value the benefit of his wisdom. At Paddy’s funeral mass in St Comgall’s Church, Bangor, many hundreds of people from across the business and sporting community  came to pay their respects to Paddy’s widow Moira, his sons Patrick, Justin, Rory and Michael, his sister Isobel and to the wider McIlroy family circle.

Michael, speaking for the whole family, paid tribute to his father for the love and protection that he had given them during his life time. “Daddy was never ashamed to say how much he loved mum and he was always so proud of us. While we were his sons, we were also four distinct people.  His life long love of Celtic was also known to everybody. When we would be watching a game and the team would go into the Celtic huddle, he would  always say to us to close our eyes and think of  any of our family members who were away.”

“One of my best memories of dad was when we went to an Old Firm match which Celtic won 6-2. We were to meet him afterwards outside the ground and when we spotted him he was standing in the middle of the road with his Celtic scarf over his head.  He was crying with delight. It wasn’t often than dad was lost for words.  This time he was.” The Belfast Celtic family,  too, has lost a dear friend. May he rest In peace.

You can read more about other Celtic legends here

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