Club History

The Castleknock Lawn Tennis Club was founded in 1927 by Mrs. Ellen Molloy and the Sweeney brothers, James and Owen. A tent was erected to accommodate the ladies for changing facilities and a grass court ruled out. And so the tennis began. The need for a pavilion was tackled by the members themselves. Materials came from the Guinness private airfield at Clonsilla, which was no longer in use. According to the National Library, the club was first registered with the I.L.T.A. (now Tennis Ireland) in 1934. The Honorary Secretary is given as Mr. T.J. Browne, Ennis House, Castleknock.
References to tennis were of a gentle nature. In 1939, a men’s team was entered in the league, and the report of the Honorary Secretary said that the team gave “creditable performances”. During the early forties, an extension was added to the pavilion, again constructed by the members themselves, to accommodate the growing membership playing on the seven grass courts. In the late forties and fifties, tennis was still played socially rather than competitively. The first motor mower was purchased from Dunsink Observatory, and Jim Pemberton recalls pushing it all the way from Dunsink to the club, with Bearney and Paddy Gilsenan helping it on its way. In 1962, a pitch and putt course was formally opened by the then Minister for Social Welfare, Kevin Boland. The membership fee in 1962 was £1.50 senior and £2.00 for “golf” and tennis. In 1968, a team of men was entered in Class IV of the league, captained by Noel Garvey. In the same year, the club was closed for a period of three months due to restrictions imposed by an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease!

In the early seventies, a committee chaired by Bill Fitzgerald acquired a one hundred year sporting lease for the club after a long legal battle, thereby ensuring its future. Had the efforts been unsuccessful, the trustees (Bill Fitzgerald, Tommy Stafford and Paul Masterson) would have been personally responsible for the legal fees, as the club had very limited financial resources. In 1971, the first Junior Open tournament was held in Castleknock. In 1974, the pavilion was totally destroyed by fire, and a new clubhouse was subsequently built.

1975 saw the completion of the first two hard courts. In 1978, four extra hard courts were added on the site of the pitch and putt course. In 1982 the original two hard courts were replaced by four hard courts, and two extra courts were added, bring the total complement to ten.

In 1988, the arrival of the Western Parkway motorway led to the provision of twelve championship floodlit courts, six sand carpet courts and six hardcourts, officially opened on July 14th, 1990 by An Tanaiste, Mr. Brian Lenihan, TD. The new pavilion was opened in December, 1991 by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. Clubhouse facilities include bar, function room, snooker room, changing rooms, committee room and junior room. The playing facilities have since been upgraded to twelve sand carpet courts, with the provision of a new enclosed practice wall in 1999.

The completion of the clubhouse saw the Club make significant progress in all areas throughout the nineties as reflected in the following:

  • Membership increased dramatically both at senior and junior level
  • Increased activity in junior development resulted in the Club consistently winning National titles at all levels
  • The Club increased the number of teams participating in the Dublin Leagues with success at all levels.
  • The increase in membership created a very active social scene
  • Continued upgrading of both the courts and the lighting system.

 

In 1995 the Club purchased an additional 2.5 acres adjacent to the existing site and this purchase was to allow the provision of additional courts, increased car parking and cater for the Club’s long term plan to provide indoor courts for its members.

In 2002 a study was undertaken to assess the feasibility of building indoor courts on the southern end of the Club’s site. This study concluded that the provision of such courts was viable from a financial point of view and in June 2003 an EGM, by a majority of 97%, approved the Executive Committee’s recommendation for the provision of indoor courts.

The complex was estimated to cost €1.6 million and would include the following;

  • 3 individually lit courts
  • Special surface to cater for junior coaching
  • Large viewing area
  • Changing rooms and a large exercise hall

 

As plans for the upgrading of the M50-N3 junctions were known at the time, the location and orientation of the structure was chosen to facilitate the provision of an additional 3 indoor courts without impacting on existing outdoor courts.

In September 2005 the complex was officially opened by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and it is now recognised as one of the most impressive and practical indoor sports facilities in Ireland.

The total cost of the complex was €1.6m and was funded by means of bank borrowings (€1.2m), members’ levies (€0.35m) and Lottery Funds (€0.05m).

During 2005 the Club also won the Eagle Star Leinster Large Club and All Ireland Supreme Club of the Year awards. The Club also won the Men’s and Ladies Class 1 Floodlight League titles, with the Ladies going on to complete the hat- trick by winning in 2006 and 2007. Our U/14 boys and U/14 & U/16 girls won the Dublin Junior leagues that year, while in addition 10 individual Club members competed in 13 of the 22 finals of the All Ireland Junior Championships in Fitzwilliam.

While 2005 was possibly the most successful year in the history of the Club it was also the most eventful as the Compulsory Purchase Order for the M50/N3 Interchange was confirmed, although it was flagged in 2004.This expansion would require the National Roads Authority (NRA) to compulsory acquire approximately 1.6 acres of the Club’s grounds and severely limit the Club’s ability to add more outdoor courts and, more importantly, prohibit the Club’s indoor courts expansion plans.

The planning permission to Fingal County Council was to build an extensive walkway and bridge on the acquired lands. In January 2010 the contractors began to extend the existing tunnel and the Club’s solicitors objected and threatened an injunction against the contractors. After a number of meetings between all interested parties an undertaking was provided to the Club that the tunnel was a temporary structure to facilitate the building of the link road and the M50 and the N3 and would be removed on completion of this link. The Club accepted this undertaking.

In the summer of 2010, Fingal County Council advised the Club that in the interests of public safety they were abandoning plans for the walkway and bridge on the acquired lands. Legal advice suggested strongly that the Club would have no case in law to have this decision changed.

While there was recognition by all parties as to the dramatic impact the land take would have on the Club, the NRA and Fingal County Council were not in a position to go back on this decision. This situation will result in the Club not been in a position to extend the indoor courts complex and further indoor court development will have to be stand alone structure which will greatly add to the cost and could result in having to utilise existing outdoor courts. Since the completion of the works there has been a dramatic increase in noise levels around the Club, but particularly in the area close to land take, and this factor will effectively sterilise the area for future court development.

Construction commenced on the Interchange in 2008 and was completed in late 2010. During this period there was a significant disruption to the Club and its members. The construction activity impacted negatively on the playability of the outdoor courts and any remedial action was pointless until the construction programme was completed. Our car parking was severely restricted with members forced to park on local roads with a number of break-ins reported. This restriction on car parking also limited the Club’s ability to hold social functions and impacted on the Club’s finances. In addition, the land take on the Northern side of the Club’s boundary has impacted negatively on the Club’s main entrance and a relocation of this entrance will be required.

The completion of the construction work will allow the current Executive Committee to finally draw up a long term plan for the development of the Club. The very noticeable increase in noise levels as a result of the new road layout has severely impacted on members’ enjoyment in playing the outdoor courts and there is a strong desire from members to enclose a number of these courts. However, the option of extending the existing courts in now not available adding significantly to the overall cost of such a development.

The Club has a membership of 1285 members of which 570 are juniors.

Design by Joomla 1.6 templates