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Anyone for Tennis? Early Tennis in Dublin 6

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Presented by the Rathmines Library, as part of Dublin Festival of History 2021

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From Kenilworth to Grosvenor - the emergence of tennis in the Rathmines area during the late 19th Century

Rathmines Library are pleased to present a free Zoom talk by local historian, John O'Brien.

The second half of the nineteenth century saw considerable real estate development in the Dublin 6 area. With this came green space, and squares such as Kenilworth, Grosvenor, and Belgrave. Around the same time, a number of technological innovations led to the development in the UK of outdoor variations of sports such as tennis, bowls and croquet. Tennis had previously been played in other formats in Dublin, but the affluent and eastward-looking populations of the Rathmines, Ranelagh, and Rathgar areas were quick to embrace these new sports.

A dizzying number of clubs quickly emerged to fill the green space, each with their own social scene, and became the means through which people engaged with the sport. The healthy rivalry between the clubs led to a brief period when Ireland was on top of the international competitive landscape. However, the earliest references to tennis in the area do not relate to the clubs but rather an opportunistic marriage between tennis and another sporting craze of the time, skating.

This talk explores the development of tennis in the Dublin 6 area, focusing particularly on developments at Rathmines Park, Kenilworth Square, and Grosvenor Square from the 1870s into the early 20th century.

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Organiser Dublin Festival of History

Organiser of Anyone for Tennis? Early Tennis in Dublin 6

The Dublin Festival of History is an annual free festival, brought to you by Dublin City Council, and organised by Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with the Dublin City Council Culture Company.

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