Anyone for tennis?

Wimbledon is upon us, which is very much associated with England, strawberries and cream of course. Tennis is not the first thought when it comes to Ireland, however Tennis Ireland formed in 1908 and there are 180 clubs and some 80,000 players across the island. In the meantime, as well as our tennis clubs and community courts, many of our fabulous hotels have tennis courts on the grounds. 

We also have our own share of Wimbledon winners! That’s right, Wimbledon champions! So read on to discover more and find out where you can enjoy a spot of tennis on your Ireland vacation.

Willoughby Hamilton – County Kildare

Willoughby Hamilton from County Kildare was a world No. 1 ranked player and from 1889-90 he was considered the best tennis player in the world. In 1890, he won the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles Title, making Willoughby the first Irish player to win this prestigious event. 

If you want to enjoy a game of tennis in the home county of Willoughby Hamilton, The K Club, Kilkea Castle Estate and Carton House are just some of the locations you can shout ‘new balls please!’

Lena Rice – County Tipperary

Tipperary born Lena Rice began playing in her garden near the village of New Inn, close to the Rock of Cashel. She continued to hone her game at Cahir Lawn Tennis Club before moving on to national tournaments. Her mixed doubles partner was Willoughby Hamilton. 

In 1890, Lena went on to win Wimbledon the Ladies Singles title at the age of twenty-four. To this date, she is the only Irish female tennis player to win the event. Lena is credited with the invention of the Overhead Smash, using it for her groundbreaking victory. 

The Hidden Heartlands of Ireland host many fine hours of tennis with courts available at Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny, Kinnitty Castle Hotel in County Offaly and Hotel Minella in County Tipperary.

Dr Joshua Pim – County Wicklow

Although qualified as a medical doctor, Joshua Pim’s first love was tennis. Starting at the age of eleven, he became a prolific player and a member of the All Ireland Lawn Tennis Club by the time he was nineteen. 

Pim began racking up tournament wins in Ireland and England, before winning the Wimbledon Men’s Doubles in 1890 with Frank Stoker. The pair managed to retain their title in 1891, despite Joshua Pim playing with a crushed right hand and broken finger, following a motoring incident on the eve of the match!

In 1893, Pim finally won his sought after Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles and won the Men’s Doubles again with Frank Stoker. Joshua went on to retain his crown for the second time in 1894.

Tulfarris Hotel & Spa near Blessington Lake is one of County Wicklow locations for tennis fun during your stay! 

Harold Mahony – County Kerry

Although born in Scotland, Harold Mahony was of Irish parentage and spent the majority of his life at the family home – Dromore Castle in County Kerry. The family had a purpose built tennis court added to the estate so that Harold could develop his tennis game. 

Despite winning major tournaments in Ireland, England and Germany, a Wimbledon win eluded Mahony. Finally, at the age of 29, Harold won the coveted Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Singles title in 1896.

This win spurred on the late blooming champion, who went on to win the silver medal for men’s singles and bronze in doubles for Great Britain and Ireland in the 1900 Summer Olympics. Sadly, Harold Mahony died tragically at the age of just thirty-eight following a cycling accident in County Kerry. 

In County Kerry you are spoiled for choice when it comes to ‘service’ with some of the best hotels having tennis courts available. These include The Brehon Hotel & Spa, Aghadoe Heights Hotel & Spa and The Europe Hotel in Killarney, as well as Parknasilla Resort in Sneem and Sheen Falls in Kenmare to name a few.

Of course our fabulous hotels with tennis courts do not stop here – from 

Our glory days may have peaked at the start of the twentieth century; however, that doesn’t stop our love of tennis. Who knows? More Ireland Wimbledon champions may be just around the corner! From the iconic Dromoland Castle and Ashford Castle to Fota Island Resort in County Cork, there is a tennis court to enjoy. 

Our Tours

Look at our tennis friendly itineraries or allow us to customise your own package for an Ireland vacation that really is a game, set and match winner! 

If you’re interested in exploring Ireland’s rich history and beautiful landscapes, consider our Wild Atlantic Way 7 Nights vacation package.

For those looking to experience the authentic charm of Ireland, our Pub & Folk 8 Nights tour offers a perfect blend of culture and entertainment.

For couples seeking a memorable getaway, our Irish Romance 8 Nights package combines luxury accommodations with scenic tours.

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