ABOUT OUR CLUB
On 23 May 1919, in Thompson’s Restaurant, Instonians was founded as the Old Boys rugby club of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Two teams were fielded in that inaugural year and they played in the yellow and black of the school with the addition of purple, which was a permanent memorial to the 132 old boys who had fallen during the war. The club was established on 5 acres of leased land, part of the former Malone Golf Club Links at Bladon.
The Ulster Branch refused the club automatic entry into the senior league, however under the captaincy of RJ “Scone” Sullivan, the 1st XV won the Ulster Junior League at the first attempt, gained promotion to senior status, were it has remained.
When the lease on Bladon expired, 14 acres of mud, rubble and swamp were purchased in the bend of Blackwater stream on the edge of Belfast. New grounds and club house were established and named “Shane Park”, in memory of Bertie Shane. This remained the home until 1999 when, with the costs of maintaining a large sports club spiralling upwards, the decision was made after careful negotiations to sell up and move the short distance to Shaws Bridge. A ground share arrangement was established with Cooke RFC which allowed both clubs to remain independent, with their identities intact, yet allowing the overall costs of running the complex to be shared. This has proved to be a very successful arrangement within what is arguably the best sports club complex in Ireland.