Cultural and Sporting History


St. Malachy’s G.A.C.

St Malachy’s G.A.C. was set up as a hurling and football club in 1936 but it was committed to wider cultural activities too. St Malachy’s then formed a camogie section in 1937. In 1938, a dancing group was set up. They also held story-telling, poetry readings and ballad sessions. The club was deeply involved in wider cultural activities. On the 15th April 1941, they held a large ceili in the Ulster Hall, attended by Delia Murphy – a star in Irish ballads at the time. On this night, Belfast was blitzed by the Germans with the G.A.C. members kept on lockdown inside. The club is one of the few remaining sports teams to survive until this day.

Football (Soccer)

Football (soccer) was also popular in the area. Stewartsville F.C. gained success since its establishment in the 1930s. St Malachy’s Youth team was later set up in the 1960s. In the 1940s, Cromac Star was set up. They remained a team until the 1960’s, when they were replaced by Cromac Albion. However, the team went downhill by the 1990s, but were soon replaced by Cromac A.F.C. Nowadays, two football clubs remain in the area: Albion Star and Réalta na Cromoige. Albion Star was set up in the early 2000s and Réalta more recently in 2013.


St George’s boxing club is the oldest amateur club in the city of Belfast, founded in 1929. The club soon began producing many amateur champions including Ulster, All Ireland and Commonwealth Champions. The Clubs reputation for consistently producing champion boxers earned it the name the “Cradle of Champions”. Among some of the famous names are Tommy Madine, Paddy Graham (1950 60’s), Paul Ireland, Jimmy Clinton and Jack Robinson. The club continues to produce amateur champions until this day. The Market was also renowned in the 1930s for Ma Copley’s boxing bouts and fairground in the Chapel fields, by St Malachy’s Church. This end of the Market was mainly greenspace at the time.

Church Groups

St. Malachy’s Church was crucial in establishing cultural groups. Since the 1920s, it was renowned for its choir which remained until the 1970s when numbers began to dwindle due to what was going on in the city. In the 1940s, the Operatic Society was set up and went on to produce a ballad opera. The church also had a folk choir, a bowls club, a scouts troop and a pipe band. The Market had another a famous pipe band, also called St Malachy’s, particularly well-known during the 1920s. At the same time, there was also a cycling club in Catherine Street, various billiard halls, among many other groups.