Looking for Tennis in Ireland

A limerick is a form of poetry in five-lines, predominantly anapestic meter with a strict rhyme scheme, with a  sometimes salacious and humorous intent. One would surmise an association with the city of the same name in the County Limerick located in the Mid-West Region of Ireland, in the Province of Munster. However the lesson learned at this historic city on the River Shannon, isn’t  one of  literary rhymes, but of friendships made on the tennis court.

From Victoria Canada to Limerick Ireland

I first met Kevin Ryan at the Sunday morning men’s match with the Victoria Virtual Tennis Club. He was in town visiting friends at the University, and getting a game in while here. He had a wicked slice on his backhand, but it was his University of Limerick t-shirt and Irish accent that caught my interest. I was planning on travelling to Ireland in a few months. As customary I was taking my racket with me. Always hoping to find a tennis game. This was the perfect opportunity to get the inside track for a match in Ireland.

An Old and Venerable Tennis Club

Turns out that Kevin is retired from a Professorship at the University of Limerick and was visiting some colleagues here in Canada. The most intriguing aspect of our meeting was that he is also  the Past President of the Limerick Lawn Tennis Club. This venerable Club has the distinction of being formed in 1877. I also learned the club boasts the longest running championship tennis tournament, following Wimbledon.

Following our Sunday morning matches, I had a chance to talk to Kevin and find out a bit about his club. We exchanged emails, and he offered to show me around his club when I got over there. It was still a few months before my flight to Dublin and I hadn’t finalized my itinerary yet. I had a rough idea of some of the places I wanted to visit. Limerick was now on the must sees. What could be better than getting an invite to one of the oldest tennis clubs in the world? We kept in touch over the next few months and arranged to meet up.

On the Emerald Isle

I rented a car at the Dublin airport on my arrival to the Emerald Isle. After a couple of weeks of nail biting driving on what to me is the opposite side of the road, on some of the narrowest, windy,  sheep trails disguised as motorways in the world, I rolled into Limerick. With the help of Google Maps Id arranged an Airbnb just a few blocks for the tennis club. It was perfect as  I could walk there the next morning.

I arrived a wee bit early, so took the opportunity to wander around get an idea of the clubs layout and a take a few pictures. A foursome of  local ladies  was on one of the courts locked in  intense play. They were a little suspicious of this stranger, sleuthing  around their club taking a some photos. I assured them of my honorable intentions. Kevin arrived shortly and bailed me out.

It was great to see him again. Having been in Ireland for a couple of weeks, I was starting to get a sense of this amazing country and it’s friendly people. I was eager to learn more about Tennis here in Limerick. Kevin was the perfect teacher and gentlemen to enlighten me. After exchanging greetings he showed me around the grounds.

They have everything you’d want :

  •  12 flood lit synthetic grass courts,
  • Club house Bar & Lounge with pool table and table tennis
  • Lounge (this evidently is a fixture of many Irish Tennis Clubs)
  • Gym
  • 3 squash courts all individually heated
  • Sauna and
  • Modern changing rooms with lockers and showers

After the tour it was time to get in to our gear and head out to the courts. I’d learned that one doesn’t go to Ireland for the weather, although I was assured, by the ladies group, that I had just missed the heat wave they had suffered through a few weeks ago. A little shower wasn’t going to slow us down, and I was amazed at how playable the game is on the synthetic grass during a light rain .


We had an outstanding match that took us to the limit, I’ll fill you in on the details in part II of Lessons Learned in Limerick!


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