Celtic Club

Celtic Club

The Celtic Club is Australia's first Irish Club and has a reputation for providing a warm and hearty welcome since 1887.

Melbourne's Celtic Club has a proud and turbulent history that reflects in many ways the history of Australia during the second half of its period of European settlement.

To do justice to the Club's history, it is necessary to include the long and bloody struggle for Irish Home Rule but that is not the purpose of this overview.

At the time the Celtic Club was established in 1887, the Home Rule Campaign in Ireland was at an all time low. There was every indication for Home Rule sympathisers that ideal would remain unrealised for many generations to come.

On September 20th, 1887, at the Imperial Hotel, Bourke Street in a rather more colourful Melbourne of top hats and morning suits, of gas lamps and hansom cabs, and hotels that did not clear their bars before midnight, the Celtic Club was born. It was the year of Queen Victoria's Jubilee and the first Colonial Conference in London of delegates from each of the self-governing British Colonies.

Club Rooms

Celtic at Metropolitan

While our Queen St site is being redeveloped we are operating at the Metropolitan, which is part of the larger Arts Precinct in North Melbourne as the Celtic at Metropolitan.

The address is 42 Courtney St North Melbourne on the corner of Blackwood St.

For all enquires please call 03 8535 4500.

June 2021

Limerick Arms Hotel

The Limerick Arms Hotel was founded by an Irishman in 1855, so there's poetry in the fact it has been bought by Melbourne's 134-year-old Irish social and cultural group, the Celtic Club.

The $5.3 million transaction gives the club a solid base and a stable income after years of members being "unmoored" , says club president Patrick McGorry.

But debate over the future of the club - which has been in turmoil since it sold its Queen Street building in 2016 - continues, because the Limerick Arms in Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, may not be its permanent home.

While the club will hold music and literature sessions, meetings and functions at the venue, Professor McGorry says it is "a stepping stone" to getting it back on a firmer financial footing after recent struggles.

As well as any capital gain, it is estimated the Limerick Arms will earn the club $230,000 a year from its tenant, who runs the bar.

"At least we've got a landing place, for now," Professor McGorry said.

Professor McGorry, who was born in Dublin and is executive director of youth mental health institute Orygen, joined the Celtic Club in 2019 amid a crisis for the organisation.

In 2016 it had sold its Victorianera home of 58 years in Queen Street to a Malaysian developer for $25.6 million. The developer kept the facade and built a 48-storey apartment tower on the site.

But plans for the Celtic Club to move back in, buying back its own space, disintegrated over a disagreement about a members' entrance to the building.

The club has since spent millions paying debts and tax on the Queen Street sale, and on renting a William Street office and the Metropolitan Hotel in North Melbourne.

Professor McGorry said the club was not allowed to operate poker machines at the Metropolitan pub, which had also been losing money due to low patronage. The Celtic Club has recently held events at other city pubs.

He said the issues had "unmoored" supporters, with membership falling to 540.

The Limerick Arms, whose sale was handled by agent Colliers in tandem with Cropley Commercial, is in a central location and close to young Irish people in South Melbourne.

One option the Celtic Club is now considering is to own a pub for income while operating poker machines at a separate venue, and owning a third venue for cultural and formal activities.

Some members are opposed to pokies. Others believe the club would not be viable without them.

Professor McGorry said the club needed younger members and more women: currently about 75 per cent of members are aged over 50 and about 75 per cent are male.

He said the club was a "precious institution" that he hoped would be reinvented with input from members.

This article by Carolyn Webb and Simon Johanson is from the June 30, 2021 issue of The Age Digital Edition. To subscribe, visit "https://www.theage.com.au".

❊ Address ❊

 ℅ Naarm
 ⊜  320 Queen Street Melbourne 3001 View Map
 ✆ Telephone: (03) 9691 7444
320 Queen StreetMelbourneVictoria(03) 9691 7444

❊ Web Links ❊

Celtic Club 


❊ Also See.. ❊

Shamrock Restaurant

Celtic Club at Metropolitan

Paragon | Melbourne

Disclaimer: Check with the venue (web links) before making plans, travelling or buying tickets.

Accessibility: Contact the venue for accessibility information.

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Celtic Club