In 1921 in the midst of communal violence that the recent ‘troubles’ only occasionally surpassed, a time of curfews, unemployment and depression, a sporting organisation was founded in the west of the city that was to become the leading light in Irish swimming and water polo.
It was fortunate for the future of Irish swimming that on a summers evening in 1921 a group of young men, from the Clonard area of Belfast, who had set out to play a football match were left at a loose end when their opposition failed to show. They, perhaps wishing to cool off after the heat of the day, went for a swim in the nearby dam, between the Whiterock and Beechmount. The Springfield dam served as a swimming pool on a lovely sunny day but more permanent premises were needed.
The friends which included Charles Lavery, Tommy Keenan, Bap Doyle and Jack Kennedy used the fact that Joe Goss had at the time held a Government Ministerial position, to their advantage. After some influence the Falls Baths was opened. Life long member of Clonard Noel Devine pointed out that, “after 12 O’clock mass every Sunday the boys met at Doyle’s Bakery on the Falls Road, more like unofficial committee meetings as they discussed the way foreword”. They agreed to form a swimming and water polo club and so Clonard Amateur Swimming Club was born.
If you wish to read more on the history of the club, have a read through this.
Clonard 90th Anniversary