Special magazine to mark 75 years of history at county Limerick golf club

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

A COMMEMORATIVE magazine full of pictures, yarns and titbits from Newcastle West Golf Club’s 75 year history is almost complete, the committee tasked with piecing it together have confirmed.

A COMMEMORATIVE magazine full of pictures, yarns and titbits from Newcastle West Golf Club’s 75 year history is almost complete, the committee tasked with piecing it together have confirmed.

2013 marks the golf club’s 75th anniversary, and over the last year past and present members have been contributing snippets of information for a special anthology, which will reflect on the people and places that have become synonymous with a club drenched in history.

Pat McLoughlin, chairman of the committee tasked with putting together the magazine, said that trawling through the club’s archives has been a tough but rewarding task.

“We’re about 50% of the way there. A lot of the heavy lifting has been done at this stage. We’ve been going through 75 years of club records, which is a bit of a daunting task! But we’ve extracted a lot of information, and most of it will be going into the magazine.”

Among the litany of historical landmarks that will be featured in the magazine include the official opening of its clubhouse at Rathgonan House, Ardagh by then-Tanaiste Dick Spring in August 1994.

On the day, hundreds of locals watched a special exhibition by another guest of honour, Christy O’Connor Snr. Pictures from the event were captured by the Limerick Leader and will be included in the magazine.

Newcastle West Golf Club traces its roots back to April 14, 1938, when eight men held a meeting at the old central hotel and decided to set up a local club for a sport which had been played in the Castle Demesne informally since 1920.

The club’s ancestral home was a 40-acre plot at Killeline, on the Dromcollogher road, which was originally leased for £77 a year.

The first shot was hit on the old nine-hole course by the parish priest, Canon Hannan, on September 14 1938.

Through the decades that followed the club became synonymous with Killeline, purchasing the property outright for £1,100 in 1943.

The annual golf club dance, first held in 1940, became a the highlight of the local social calendar for over 25 years.

By the time of its golden jubilee in 1988, the club had outgrown its roots at Killeline and a new home was sought.

The following year Rathgonan House and its surrounding lands, which had once formed part of the 2,775 acre Cahermoyle estate owned by the family of patriot William Smith O’Brien, came back on the market.

The estate was bought by the club and Rathgonan House was re-developed as a clubhouse.

Since then it has benefited from €1.2 million in investment, and the club stands today as one of the finest in Limerick.

Mr McLoughlin said that one of the main features of the commemorative magazine will be a picture of every club captain from 1938 to 2013, coupled with bits of history and developments in the club in each year.

However he added that they are missing a picture of one captain - Jim Phelan, who was captain in the early 1940s who used to own a hardware store in the town.

To contribute pictures or other information to the anniversary magazine, please contact Newcastle West Golf Club on 069 76500, or else e-mail them at info@newcastlewestgolf.com.