IRTA Update – May, 2005
The 3rd Annual Irish Real Tennis Championships were held in Holyport on May 28-29, 2005. The winners were Tim Church (Open) and Roland Budd (Closed).
The University College Dublin (UCD) continues to operate in the Guinness real tennis court located in Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin, as per a pre-WWII bequest by the Guinness family. UCD holds the lease from the Irish Government Office of Public Works. UCD plans to relinquish when it moves to its new campus in Clonskeagh in the next year or two.
The building is on real estate just off St. Stephen’s Green in downtown Dublin and is worth millions of Euros. The National Concert Hall (NCH), which formerly had designs on the Tennis court building, has abandoned that plan in face of the opposition IRTA and its supporters mounted up to High Court level in 2000, opposition funded in part by American donors.
Once the building is vacated, the IRTA believes the Irish government should fund the restoration of the court as a public heritage-listed building, but the Irish government will need evidence that the Irish Real Tennis Association is a legitimate organization, serious about bringing the game back to Ireland, and ready and able to raise the funds (estimated at about 750,000 in today’s Euros, or roughly $940,000) to restore the facility. Thus, these championships are important to establish the credentials of the organization. Another important factor will be the size and scope of the IRTA membership.
At present, IRTA membership costs 15 Euros ($20 US) and US citizens/residents who pay prior to UCD vacating will have a life membership for this sum. This arrangement is available only UNTIL the court opens, when there will be a new membership system. (Alternatively, those people could have life membership of the IRTA, but not of the Dublin Real Tennis Club, or Guinness Real Tennis Club, or whatever it may be called.)
If you haven’t yet, I encourage those of you who support the game of tennis, who would like to see the fabled Black Marble court, the only private court in the world ever to host a World Championship, brought back to service, to send in your $20 US to Sheila Reilly, c/o Friends of Irish Real Tennis, 15 Old Beach Road, Newport RI 02840. We intend to provide detailed updates to members as events occur. Make your check payable to Friends of Irish Real Tennis.
Aren’t sure if you’re already a member? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll let you know! Even if you are, consider a modest donation to the cause.