Friday, 5 November 2010

Club Luncheon

I lunched with a few chums today, as a guest, at the Ulster Reform Club in central Belfast. The Club obviously maintains its proud standards of excellent service and tradition; and luncheon on this occasion was no exception.

We were seated in the very large dining-room, quiet at about twelve-fifty (though it became busier shortly thereafter). This room has a particularly lofty ceiling and overlooks Royal Avenue.

We all had soft drinks. For hors d'Ĺ“uvre I ordered Walter's Smoked Salmon, accompanied by a mousse, wheaten bread, butter and salad garnish; then a delicious, rich 125th Anniversary steak and oxtail pudding with winter vegetables, mashed potato and carrots. We skipped the pudding today.

We retired to the rather opulent Reading Room for coffee and, at about one forty-five, we were invited to attend the dining-room again for a toast to the Club and its 125th anniversary. We received complimentary glasses of champagne for the Toast given by the Club's President.

I must say it was all a most civilized experience and I cannot think of anywhere else like this Club, in Belfast at least.

The then Reform Club and the Ulster Club merged in 1982 to become the Ulster Reform Club.

The Ulster Club, which once had grand Victorian premises at Castle Place, was founded in 1857, by landed gentlemen desiring a place to meet, converse and dine when they were in Belfast.

Early Ulster Club members included the Earl of Antrim, the Viscount Bangor, the Marquess of Donegall and the Marquess of Downshire, and something of that aura remained with the Ulster Club over the next hundred or so years.

Presumably Lord Enniskillen was also a member, because he received the dreadful news of the Florence Court fire whilst at the Ulster Club and was said to have replied to Lady Enniskillen at the time "what the hell do you expect me to do?" or words to that effect.

It is believed that the Duke of Abercorn owned a town-house, Hamilton House, at Hamilton Street in Belfast.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could become their patron?

Timothy Belmont said...


Bearing in mind I'm not a member, the prospect is highly unlikely!

Anonymous said...

Well, you are Northern Ireland's leading aristocratic blogger, I'm sure they would be delighted to have you.

Anonymous said...

A photo of Hamilton House, Belfast would be interesting!


Timothy Belmont said...

Well, if I had one! It was demolished a long time ago, sadly, to make way for the widening etc of Cromac St and Square. I think it was no. 1 or 2.

I wonder if the present Duke has anything?

Anonymous said...

It probably isn't gone over one hundred years (at a guess!), Belfast isn't a very old town, as they go.


Irishlad said...

I assume Lord Enniskillen was staying overnight at the Club?

Timothy Belmont said...

That's what I don't know. Perhaps it's in the Club records!

He may have returned immediately to Florence Ct when he heard the news.