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.
According to the National Library, the club was first registered with the I.L.T.A. (now Tennis Ireland) in 1934. During the early forties, an extension was added to the pavilion, 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.
Records show the following changes over the years since the early forties. A detailed history follows below.
|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.|
|1970’s||CLTC acquired a 100 year lease. Two hard courts were built.|
|1982||Two hard courts replaced by four courts.|
|1988||Twelve floodlit courts built due to sale of lands to Western Parkway.|
|1990||Courts officially opened by An Tanaiste, Brian Lenihan.|
|1991||New Clubhouse opened by President Mary Robinson.|
|1995||Purchase of land for indoor courts and parking facilities.|
|2005||Indoor complex of 3 indoor courts and viewing area (cost €1.6m) opened by An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.|
|Compulsory purchase of approx 1.6 acres of Club grounds by the National Roads Authority (NRA).|
|2011||Payment of Compulsory Purchase fee by the NRA allowed planning for redevelopment of the Clubhouse and and extension of the Indoor courts complex to commence.|
|2017||Plans are underway for refurbishment and extension of the clubhouse and for the provision of additional indoor courts in 2018 / 2019|
|2019||Refurbished and expanded clubhouse is opened by Michael D. Higgins, an tUachtarán|
|2020||Redevelopment is underway to increase from three to five indoor courts, new carpark and external plaza is underway. Expected completion June 2021.|
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!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.Detailed History
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 cost €1.6 million and included the following;
- 3 individually lit courts
- Special surface to cater for junior coaching
- Large viewing area
- Changing rooms and a large exercise hall
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.
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. This expansion would require the National Roads Authority (NRA) to compulsory acquire approximately 1.6 acres of the Club’s grounds.
Plans are underway for refurbishment and extension of the clubhouse and for the provision of additional indoor courts in 2018 / 2019.
Work for extension of the indoor courts commenced in 2020. This is due to be completed in mid 2021.