Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran takes tour through the decades

by Chris Holt

Glentoran opened up their long and illustrious history to the masses this week by kicking off a series of bus tours recalling the sights and sounds that made the east Belfast club a central figure of the city as a whole.

The brainchild of Sam Robinson and the Glentoran Community Trust, the tour reflects on 128 years of triumph and tragedy, snaking its way around the streets, taking in surroundings linking the club to important historical figures.

Starting off from their base at the Oval, the home given to them by Belfast’s first Lord Mayor Sir Daniel Dixon at the turn of the 20th century, the tour takes patrons to all four corners of the capital, showing the impact that Glentoran has had on society and indeed how society impacted on Glentoran, as told by men and women in period costume.

“Essentially what we wanted was to open the doors of our club, showing the rich history and tradition that is associated with it and maybe even offer a bit of an education to some Glenmen who maybe don’t realise just how much of a role Glentoran had to play in the city,” said Sam Robinson.

“At the Glentoran Community Trust, we have prided ourselves on trying to change perceptions and doing things differently and this is just the latest example of that.

“We wanted to show everyone in our community in east Belfast, just what Glentoran has meant over the years and to people outside of east Belfast to, the part that it had to play.

“Obviously our locality plays an important role but the tour stretches to all parts of the city.”

Aside from east Belfast, which takes in, among other notable social and historical events and points of interest, Glentoran’s link to the Titanic and the Blitz — the two anniversaries of which prompted the tour’s inception — the bus moves along through the Short Strand, past the site of the old Glentoran bar.

It’s then on to the south of the city and the Ormeau Road, where the clubs distinctive red, green and black colours were decided upon, in the Hatfield House bar.

North Belfast tells the story of Owen McMahon, once a director at the Oval and owner of the Great Eastern bar, who with his family, was massacred in 1922 during one of the bloodiest events in Northern Ireland’s turbulent history.

And west Belfast gets a look in too, as they visit the site of the old Grosvenor Park, Glentoran’s home for seven years after the Oval had been decimated by German bombers.

It’s a fascinating insight into Glentoran and Belfast’s social history.

Tours take place at 7pm starting from the Oval on Thursday August 4; Monday August 8; Wednesday August 10; Tuesday August 16 and Thursday August 18. To book online go to www.gctni.com or for more information contact 07900013985 or 07789253600.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph