50 years for JD dealer Johnston Gilpin

Johnston Gilpin & Co Ltd, one of the oldest John Deere dealers in the UK and the oldest in Ireland, celebrated its 50th anniversary recently with a two-day exhibition.

by Steven Vale

20 Dec 2018

Based near Lisburn in Northern Ireland, the 4,000+ visitors to the two-day anniversary event at the nearby Eikon Centre were able to see tractors of all shapes and sizes. These included the oldest, the 100-year-old Waterloo Boy, lent by local man Graham Crymble.

Another of the vintage and classic tractors on display was a 1951 John Deere Model B that belongs to the McConnell family and was restored around 15 years ago. The four-track 9RX was also on display as was the 9900i self-propelled forage harvester, a first for Northern Ireland.

Johnston Gilpin & Co was founded in 1968 by Donn McConnell (who also attended the show) on Waterloo Road, close to the location of the current dealership at Lisnoe Road. Donn’s son Randal McConnell is now managing director of the business, while Randal’s brother Neale runs the domestic groundscare division at another site just a few miles away.

“My father is still involved in the business and comes in every day,” said Randal. “He has taken a back seat over the last 10 years but still keeps an eye on things. He turned 80 this year, so it has been a big year for us all round.”

(Left to right) Randal, Donn and Neale McConnell at the Johnston Gilpin & Co Ltd 50th anniversary exhibition.