Irish Real Tennis Association

Irish Real Tennis Association

Irish Real Tennis Association

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The Irish Real Tennis Association (Cumann Lead√≥ige na h-√Čireann) encourages the preservation and development of the game and facilities of real tennis in the Republic of Ireland.


Tennis is first recorded in Ireland in 1609 with a court in Thomas Street, Dublin. Today there are no courts in Northern Ireland and two courts in the Republic of Ireland, neither in playable condition. One is a peculiar open-air court on Lambay Island, part of an Edwin Lutyens designed estate for the Baring family. It is private property, in a fairly inaccessible location, and the lack of a roof is a practical problem given Ireland's climate.

The other court was built by Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1885 at his Earlsfort Terrace house (), located a few minutes' walk from St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Constructed of a brick exterior with a black marble interior, the court saw Tom Pettitt successfully defend his world championship against challenger Charles Saunders in 1890. Pettitt resigned the title later that year. In 1939, Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh presented his famed court to the nation as a gift. Despite his written wishes (not legally part of the bequest) that the court remain in use, it was immediately shut down, and internal playing features dismantled. The court has since been used by University College Dublin, first as a gymnasium and more recently as a laboratory and offices.

Saving the Dublin court

Since the late 1980s Michael...
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