New surfing exhibition makes waves

National Museum NI’s Ulster Transport Museum has introduced a new exhibition exploring the origins of surfing as a sport in Ireland.

‘Celtic Wave’ dives into this island’s connection to surfing and how this began in the 1960s through a group of determined men and women.

Celtic Wave includes exclusive films and interviews with some of the most talented surfers and shapers from the Irish surf scene such as Al Mennie, Andrew Hill and Gemma Gillespie as they share their stories and their passion for the sport. Other objects related to surfing featured in the exhibition include examples of sustainable approaches to surf clothing, surfboards designed by local shapers, posters created by legendary surfer Barry Britton and a 1970 Morris Traveller car, which has become symbolic of surfing in its heyday

Ulster Transport Museum tells the story of innovation and social change in this part of the world over decades across land, sea and sky, and Celtic Wave reinforces that connection to the sea by championing the local innovators and growing sub-community of surf enthusiasts through the the range of objects in the exhibition while also driving home a sustainability mission with elements of the exhibition build made from recycled and sustainable materials.

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    (L-R) Clare Ablett, Curator of History at National Museums NI and Al Mennie, local big wave surfer.

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    Clare Ablett, Curator of History at National Museums NI, said: “We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new Celtic Wave exhibition.

    “The surfing community across the island is a vibrant movement and at Ulster Transport Museum their story has been largely untold, until now. Celtic Wave represents the people and passion that catapulted the popularity of surfing here, from the early pioneers in the 1960s up to the present day - and that’s why it has a place at the Ulster Transport Museum.”

    Admission to Celtic Wave is included in general admission to the museum.

    For more information visit