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…
Lots of Social Events
Healthy Social Life
There’s A Lot More to the Club Than Just Playing Bowls!
175+ Years of Bowling
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
With the continuing urgent need for sites during the rapid expansion of Belfast in the late 19th century, developers claimed the Clifton Street site.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.