Ulster Folk & Transport Museum

Kelly’s Coal Yard

Ballycultra Town building 10

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This is a replica building. It represents a typical coal yard of the early 1900s. There is a coach house and stables for the horses under an open Belfast-trussed roof. It also has a small office with a weighbridge at the entrance and a large central yard for storage and stockpiling coal supplies.

The economic importance of coal cannot be overstated in Ulster in the early 1900s. Coal was imported into Belfast and the other major ports. It was then distributed throughout Ulster by rail.

Local depots such as Kelly’s were common. They played an important role in the distribution, by horse and cart of coal and other related products.

The coal yard was constructed with the support of John Kelly Ltd. John Kelly’s father, Samuel Kelly, established his business in Belfast in the 1840s. He started in business as a grocer and later also as a coal commission merchant. By the turn of the century the Kelly family firm had grown considerably with offices and yards in many towns. They had a workforce of around 10,000.

Look out for the stables which indicate that coal was sold by a vendor with a horse and cart