Ulsterbus Exhibition is Just the Ticket
Steering through the Troubles into the new millennium, visitors are to be taken on a journey through the resilient transport service's 50 year history
The engines of nostalgia will be switched on at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Holywood, County Down with the opening of a special exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of Ulsterbus.
Entitled Barricades to Bus Passes– 50 Years of Ulsterbus, the exhibition which is in the museum's Dalchoolin gallery, will feature a series of photographs as well as the museum’s miniature double decker bus displayed in Ulsterbus livery. It is part of National Museums Northern Ireland’s ‘Collecting the Troubles and Beyond’ Initiative.
Mark Kennedy, Curator of Road and Rail Transport at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, said: 'We were very keen to mark half of century of Ulsterbus and also utilise the anniversary to show visitors the company’s unusual history and its achievements in the face of considerable adversity. Ulsterbus is one of the few success stories of the Troubles, providing continuity and ensuring the travelling public’s daily routines could be maintained.
'It should be fascinating for people who remember the period and also for younger people to learn about the company’s extraordinary history. The exhibition will no doubt create a real sense of nostalgia as well as showing the integral place Ulsterbus holds in local society.'
Photographs in the exhibition reflect the profound challenges Ulsterbus faced during the conflict in Northern Ireland. Over the thirty years of the Troubles, more than 800 Ulsterbus vehicles were destroyed. Many were hijacked and set on fire, creating barricades across public roads.
The exhibition also reflects major milestones for Ulsterbus, including how the company eventually returned to profitability in 1967 as well as its major rebrand in 1990.
The opening of the exhibition is followed with a major bus rally at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum on Saturday, April 22. Hosted by Irish Transport Heritage, it will be Ireland's largest gathering of buses with vehicles ranging from the 1940s to brand new. Visitors will have the opportunity to see these immaculately presented vintage buses in the grounds of the Transport Museum and watch professional bus drivers compete with amateur enthusiasts for a range of trophies.
Howard Cunningham of Irish Transport Heritage said: 'The Cultra Rally is the premiere event in Irish Transport Heritage’s annual calendar and this year there will be a twist to the normal format. As April marks 50 years since the formation of Ulsterbus, our Rally this year is set to reflect that. We will feature a special display of a dozen Ulsterbus vehicles in addition to the many other vehicles usually exhibited on the day. We have enjoyed working in partnership with the museum to produce the new exhibition in the transport galleries.'