What is the Cultra- Motoring with panache about?

By the early 1900s Belfast was booming. Between 1851and 1901 the population had grown from 87,000 to just over 349,000. Much of this was driven by the growth of industry including linen, shipbuilding and distilling. Many of the owners and managers of these businesses, living nearby and with Belfast Lough on their doorstep, were members of the fashionable yacht clubs. Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club (RNIYC) members included Sir Otto Jaffé, twice Lord Mayor of Belfast and Ireland’s largest linen exporter, Frank Workman (of the ship builders Workman & Clark) and several brothers of James Craig (later Viscount Craigavon and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland).

In 1905 the RNIYC came up with a new and innovative way to start the yachting season - they decided to hold a motor meet and hill climb at their clubhouse in the small village of Cultra. At a time when few owned cars, club members alone owned enough to hold what grew to become the biggest motor meeting in Ulster and one of the biggest in Ireland. 

The cars were displayed on the seafront road outside the clubhouse for all to admire. Many also took part in the hill climb but the rules included one important caveat - the owner, not their chauffeur, had to drive! 

Cultra - Motoring with panache is not just about cars - it is about Edwardian era society in Ireland and the prestige of owning the latest technology - the motor car.

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Discover the Thrilling World of Early Irish Motoring: Get in Touch With Robinson Books

Interested in learning more about motorsport in Northern Ireland? My first book, Cultra - Motoring with panache, covers the period 1905 to 1911. The next book, From Ballybannon Hill to Magilligan Strand, will be available from 6th December and covers the hill climbs at Ballybannon, Craigantlet, Croft, Red Brae , the sand races at Magilligan and the cancelled 1924 Ulster MotorGrand Prix.