1 May 2013

The Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare (Curragh Squash Club)

The Curragh Camo Squash Club (1856 to 2013) Photographs and Information provided by K. Hurley, December 2012. A “Rackets Court and 2 Ball Courts” were built at the establishment of the Curragh Camp in 1855/56. In the first photo you will see the position of the original front façade of the building with the first handball court on the left. The 2nd photo shows the inside of that court/alley today. The second court is immediately behind the first (with the same front wall) and can be seen in photos 3 and 4. For info the current entrance to the squash club, via the 1984 building is shown in photo 5. The Rackets Court was used for handball as well as rackets until 1933. The handball courts were in use for handball until the 1960’s and were in use for hurling and tennis wall training (occasionally) until about 15 years ago. They are not in use and not maintained now but are still in good condition structurally after 157 years. Key Dates 1805: Temporary military training camp established at the Curragh 1855: Permanent military training barracks built. Started in March and could accommodate 5,000 men by early July 1855 and full 10,000 in 1856 1855/56: Racket Court and 2 ball courts built. Contract Price in March 1855 was £1631.15s.0d. Final account price £1700.0.0. Only two other buildings in the Curragh had full solid foundations – the Clock Tower and the Water Works 1856 to 1922: Racket Court used for rackets (similar to modern squash but with larger court, stone floor, similar racket and harder, white, ball) and Ball Courts for handball 1922 : Curragh Camp handed over to Irish Government including the Racket and Ball Courts and the Gymnasium (situated where the all weather pitch is now). The Gymnasium, consisting of full sized basketball pitch, fencing room and dressing rooms, toilets and showers was demolished in the 1950’s 1922 to 1933: Racket Court used for rackets and for indoor handball 1933: Converted from 1 racket court to 3 squash racquets courts by building two internal walls. Viewing gallery over Court 1 only. Rackets no longer played 1938: First Squash Club Championship – won by Capt. Sean Collins Powell in 1938 and six times subsequently until 1950. (Capt Collins Powell was appointed to every command post in the Irish Army including Chief of Staff and also had a distinguished sporting career in squash, hurling, rugby and swimming.) 1941:Wooden floors installed 1950: Curragh team started competing in Dublin Squash Leagues and led B division at the half way stage 1962 :First All Army Squash Championship – won by Comd’t Eamon Young in 1962 and five times subsequently. (Had earlier won two All Ireland Minor Hurling medals and an All Ireland Senior Football medal) 1968 : Sauna installed – believed to be the first sauna in Ireland 1975: Converted from 3 (narrow) squash racquets courts to 2 standard sized courts. Men’s and Ladies’ changing rooms, showers and saunas added 1984 : New building added with 2 additional courts, one being a glass backed court with tiered seating, new changing rooms, toilets and a bar 1984 to 2013 : Various changes to the changing rooms, saunas etc. 2013 : Understood to be the oldest indoor sports facility in use in Ireland

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