Welcome To The Irish Mini Owners Club History

Established in 1989 to celebrate 30 years of the Mini being produced, a group of Irish enthusiasts got together and shared their passion, fun and love for the car. Since then the Club has matured into the focal point for Irish Mini fans, with regular meetings and a Calendar of events, and a quarterly magazine. The IMOC has become respected within the Irish Motor culture and has a great reputation on the International Mini scene.

The History of the Club

From talking to some members during the recent 40th anniversary celebrations I was asked about the clubs early history and it was suggested that it would be a good idea to put something in writing for posterity. Not a bad idea I thought, but where do you start.

The club was set up on Sunday, 22nd April 1989 in the Crofton Airport Hotel (now the Regency Airport Hotel) on the Swords Road, Dublin. Paul Kelly, having been involved with the Jaguar Club for a short time, kept saying that he was going to have a go at setting up a MINI club. Normally what happens in our house is that Paul is the ideas man and I then set the wheels in motion, but this time I decided if it was going to happen, Paul would do it himself, so I sat back and waited.

Eventually an ad was drafted and placed in the Evening Press saying that a meeting would be held on April 22nd to set up an Irish Mini Owners Club anyone interested in attending please come along to the hotel or if you couldn’t make the day, please call 01 837′. for further information. A few people phoned and chatted but not too many.

The Sunday dawned and Paul, my Dad (Dad was invited as he had served on many committees and was a fully paid up member of the Jag Club, he knew what it was all about!) and myself set off to the hotel not really sure what to expect. We set up the room and I remember the 3 of us sitting there wondering if anybody would show up. About 30 people did! The meeting went very well, with lots of ideas thrown around but not much protocol. Eventually we decided that there was enough interest to set up a club and the IRISH MINI OWNERS CLUB was born. A committee was formed and we adjourned to the car park which had approx. 6 MINIs – not a great showing for the inaugural photo (now displayed on the IMOC board that we take along to shows).

During that first year, we attended shows, were invited by the MG Car Club to participate in a Treasure Hunt, and we were invited to do a lap of honour around the Phoenix Park Race
Course and had our first ever trip to what we thought was an IMM in Silverstone. We had left it too late to put in an entry and went with the Epsom Mini Centre to Mini 30. Two Irish cars were displayed in the central arena on their stand, John F Golden’s Cooper replica and our Wolseley Hornet PZU 524.

Realising that we were not at the official party we made contact with the Cooper Register who organised MINI Thirty and made enquires about IMM 1990. All the details arrived and a trip to Rodenkirchen, Germany was organised by Killian for anybody who wished to go. Killian, Ronan, Paul and Neil Kilbane organised themselves and headed off, Ro and Killian in the Riley Elf and Paul and Neil in Neil’s Mini Sprite. Disaster struck near Manchester, when the Riley broke down. A call to the AA and a very understanding Aunt and Uncle of the O’Carroll’s in Manchester were left with a broken down Riley as all 4 lads continued the trip in Neil’s Sprite. Trekking across England they spotted 5 Mini Mokes in a service area, and the longstanding friendship/association between our two clubs was started. They took the lads under their wing and the IMOC and the Moke Club arrived in Rodenkirchen together. If you ever have the pleasure of talking to Ian Hodgson, ask him what it was like in the back of the ambulance having partied till dawn with the IMOC!

Ten years has a lot of memories, individual to everyone that was involved. My most memorable ones are:

  • Red Cross Camping Weekend in August 1990 with the Moke Club;
  • Sitting at an AGM in 1991 wondering how I could retire gracefully without having to let everyone know that James was on the way;
  • Picnics in Glendalough ‘the sun always shone and everybody seemed to mix really well;
  • The biggie, being involved with IMM 97 – spending lots of time in Adrian’s bedroom – going through bookings – helping put a programme together – arriving down for 5 minutes to drop something off and staying for 4 hours putting together a word search – Sitting in the pre-fab hut with Julie Maloney all day on the Friday of IMM putting wristbands on people and processing their arrival – hearing Paul make bids for the last raffle ticket at the prize draw. Feeling extremely emotional on reaching Malin Head in Donegal at the inaugural Mizen to Malin run
  • Presenting our club gift to Ian in the Moke Club at IMM 99. But most of all making friends.

It is really amazing in all this talk about a car club that hardly any mention has been made about specific cars. Clubs are not really about cars but about people and I am really glad to say that I have met and made many friends during our first ten years.

Jocelyn Kelly
President, IMOC

MINI History https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini