Unbelievable. Out of this world. Amazing. Top Class. Perfect.
Each and every person found their own superlatives to describe one of
the great Wanderers nights – the 150th Gala Ball. For the
last 2 years it has been pencilled into all the members diaries but few
had imagined the night that Michael McLoughlin and his committee had planned for the club.
From 6pm a stream of well-dressed Chaps and their guest streamed into
the Clayton Burlington. They were welcomed to a bustling drinks
reception with a variety of whiskey and gin cocktails (courtesy of our
sponsors) in addition to wine. The buzz in the bar was palpable as old
friends reunited and current teams came together.
The dinner ball gradually dragged all the ball-goers to the main dining
room – and when they entered all were impressed. Wanderers colours were
everywhere. Each dinner table had Wanderers wine, a Wanderers Christmas
decoration for each guest and Blue, Black and White centrepiece
balloons with the Wanderers logo. On big screens, films showing some of
the rugby exploits of the Wanderers greats reminded us all of what we
were here for. The sheer scale took the breath away too – almost a
thousand here to celebrate the proud history of Ireland’s second oldest
Ahead of the dinner, introductions from Micheal McLoughlin and Club President John FitzPatrick set the tone for the evening and the introduction and presentation of gifts to former internationals,
international coaches and referees brought cheers from all corners of
After a superb dinner, complete with a Wanderers themed dessert naturally, our guest speaker took to the stage. Joe Schmidt has brought some of the best days to Leinster and Ireland and the crowd rose as one
to their feet to welcome him. He reminded us all of the strength in
An entertaining auction, notable for the exuberance of the bidding from
some tables, brought the last of the formal activities to close. The
Chaps had been wined & dined – now it was time to dance.
On came a 16 piece band (mini-orchestra?) to fill the dance floor with
tunes new and old. Everywhere you looked craic was being had. Group
photos being organised – old war stories being told.
When they eventually managed to clear the main ballroom a group
returned to the front bar where the singing had started. Some of the
songs were even recognisable! Apparently they closed the bar at 4 but
some irrepressible members had moved on into the city to keep the party
going. Why not – it was that kind of night.
A huge congratulations must go out to all the 150th anniversary
organising committee for their work. This night was special. We proudly
celebrated the past but there was a sense of a club on the move into
the future too and events like this could be the catalyst.
To the next big celebration in 2079!