Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Ireland's Saturday Night

The newspaper Ireland's Saturday Night was launched on Saturday 17 November 1894 as the Ulster Saturday Night and it described itself as a 'journal of general reading, football, cycling [and] athletics.'  It was published as a sister paper to the Belfast Telegraph because readers of the Telegraph regularly complained that the Saturday edition of the newspaper contained too much sport.

In January 1896 it was renamed Ireland's Saturday Night, because it also circulated in Dublin, but it continued to be popularly known as the Ulster or the Pink because it was originally printed on coloured paper.

The paper covered a wide range of sports and not just the most popular ones.  On 27 August 1898 the front page had a headline Aquatic Sports and it reported an International Acquatic Festival at the Waterworks in North Belfast.  This included a water polo international between Ireland and Wales and the Ladies Swimming Championship of Ulster.

In 2004 the paper became a tabloid but the it ceased publication on 26 July 2008 and part of Ulster's sporting heritage had gone. 

The Newspaper Library in the Belfast Central Library has a compelete set of the newspaper from 1896 to 2008 and this provides a unique record of 112 years of Ulster sporting history.  The library holds a wide range of Ulster and Irish newspapers, with copies of the NewsLetter back to the 18th century, and it is a marvellous resource for anyone interested in or researching in any aspect of local history.

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