Belfast Bowling Club

Ireland’s Oldest Bowling Club

About our club

Located in the heart of leafy South Belfast, our club provides a welcome for players of all standards and social members alike.

We offer lawn green bowls for experienced players and novices in a friendly club that has great facilities.

There is a comfortable Clubhouse, with bar, where social events are often held, and during the Winter months the members remain active with indoor bowls at the fantastic Belfast Indoor Bowls Club facilities at Shaw’s Bridge.

Get a Flavour For Our Club…

Belfast Bowling Club / Belfast Harlequins RFC

45a Deramore Park, Belfast BT9 5JX


Lots of Social Events

Healthy Social Life

There’s A Lot More to the Club Than Just Playing Bowls!

175+ Years of Bowling

our Early Days

Our History at a Glance

Just some of the key milestones from the early days in our long history.

  • First green laid

The first green was laid in 1842 at Nelson Street at the corner of Henry Street and Trafalgar Street. 

Shortly after, when the original site was required for building purposes, a second green was constructed in nearby York Street on part of the ground to the rear of what was to be the developing major spinning mill for York Street Flax Spinning Company

  • Third Green Laid

In the 1850’s the club was again forced to move. The club’s third green was situated at the rear of the Belfast Charitable Society’s Clifton House in Clifton Street. 

  • fourth Green

With the continuing urgent need for sites during the rapid expansion of Belfast in the late 19th century, developers claimed the Clifton Street site.

The club then moved to its fourth green which was located at the back of Cromac Park House bordering on the present day Agincourt Avenue and Botanic Avenue.. 

  • Ormeau Park Tournament

Tournament Ormeau Park – Saturday, 12th August 1893

The grand tournament was described as “Undoubtedly the bowling item of the season”.

The tournament featured the Belfast Bowling Club, the Belmontonians, the Ormeauites and Ulster.

Belfast won the day with a total of 106. Ulster came in second, Belmont in third, with Ormeau bringing up the rear.

  • Third Green Laid

In the 1850’s the club was again forced to move. The club’s third green was situated at the rear of the Belfast Charitable Society’s Clifton House in Clifton Street. 

  • The First International

The first inter country match (and forerunner of today’s internationals) was held in 1903.

The historic meeting was attended by the famous English cricketer Dr WG Grace. Dr Grace attended at the invitation of the President of the Belfast Bowling Club, JC Hunter representing Ireland.

At the time, only eight clubs existed in Ireland. The Belfast Bowling Club was one of the prime movers in calling for the formation of an Irish Bowling Association.

Elected on Wednesday, 2nd December 1903, the first President of the Irish Bowling Association was the aforementioned JC Hunter of Belfast Bowling Club.

  • Home Countries Tour Of Canada

Following the success of the 1903 international, a representative team comprising Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales toured Canada.

The representative team vice captain was JC Hunter of Belfast Bowling Club.

  • JC Hunter Beats WG Grace

In 1908 the home countries met in Edinburgh. Although Ireland only won one match (against Wales) celebrations were to the fore when JC Hunter scored a victory over WG Grace – a victory which was seen as a great win by the Irish team.

  • Bowling in Troubled Times

In September 1916 just after the Easter Rising, Belfast Bowling Club braved the new situation and played the traditional annual match against Kenilworth – the premier club in Dublin.

  • Belfast Win Junior & Senior Cups

1938 proved to be an outstanding year of success for Belfast Bowling Club.

The club made history by winning both the Senior and Junior Irish Bowling Association Cups simultaneously.

  • Ladies’ Section Established

The establishment of a Ladies’ Section was agreed at the January 1961 Annual Meeting.

The minutes recorded that membership of the Ladies’ Section “Shall be confined to wives, widows, unmarried daughters or sisters of members and associate members.”

Thankfully, times have move on considerably from 1961.

  • Belfast Bowling Club Celebrates 125 Years

A key milestone for the club. The major driving force within the club at this key point was Jim Stirling.

Jim, who had joined the club in 1944 was elected President for the celebratory year.

Jim, together with Caryll McQueen, were instrumental in the planning and execution of a new clubhouse which was inaugurated in 1967 in time for the celebratory year.

  • Belfast Bowling Club Celebrates 150 Years

Ivor Cargill was called upon again (he had been President in 1977) to preside over events in this important anniversary year.

A key event during this year was the retirement of the aforementioned Jim Stirling who had been President in 1967 during the club’s 125th year.

Jim Stirling’s retirement was marked with a presentation event hosted Ivor Cargill as part of the official 150 year celebrations.

  • Belfast Bowling Club Leaves College Park East

In 2001 the club left its home of 100 years in College Park East following the sale of the long leasehold interest to freeholders, Queen’s University.

A new era beckoned for the club as it moved into our present facilities then under construction at the Belfast Harlequins rugby, cricket and hockey complex at Deramore Park South.

  • Belfast Bowling Club Celebrates 175 Years

Hugo Johnston was elected President for the prestigious 175th year of Belfast Bowling Club.

The club receive congratulatory letters from Alderman Brian Kingston (Lord mayor of Belfast), Michael Nutt (President NI Private Greens Bowling League) and Derek Forsythe (President Irish Bowling Association).

The club produced a full colour booklet detailing the history of the club and containing hundreds of photos, records and images from the club’s annals.