The original Irish flag, and not the Union flag is the one that privileged nationalist John Pius Boland from Dublin, defiantly insisted be raised, at the first Olympics medal ceremony in 1896. He won gold medals for singles and doubles while representing the British Isles.
On the 26th April 1916, British reinforcements were sent to Dublin to quash the Nationalist Easter Rising. As they crossed Mount Street Bridge, an infant in a pram with his parents were going in the opposite direction. Irish rebels ambushed the troops on the bridge inflicting hundreds of casualties in the bloodiest battle of the uprising. Irish independence was soon to follow.
The infant in the pram was Cyril Kemp. He miraculously escaped injury in the crossfire and went on to be Irelands finest tennis player of his generation. Kemp was the County Dublin Champion of 1941 and had many great wins including one against the American Tom Brown, a three-time Grand Slam champion and runner up at Wimbledon a week earlier.
Cyril’s only child, Michael Kemp is set to become the President of Fitzwilliam LTC in 2022.
Alice Marble and Cyril Kemp in Fitzwilliam
Californian Alice Marple won 18 Grand Slams including five singles titles (four US and a Wimbledon). When her playing days were over, she worked for US intelligence spying on the Nazis and their ill-gotten deposits in Swiss bank accounts. Her husband was killed in action earlier in the war. While fleeing a Nazi agent she was shot in the back but survived.
Alice later became a tennis coach. One of her pupils was Billie Jean King!
John F Stokes
William Wilson captained the Irish rugby team against Scotland in 1877. Later that year the first lawn tennis tournament was hosted by the All-England Club, “The Championships”.
In 1908 Wilson, along with John F Stokes on grounds owned by Wilson, founded Carrickmines C<C with the purpose of re-establishing the defunct County Dublin Championships. They’ve been held ever since.
Joshua Pim a two-time Wimbledon singles 1893 & 1894.
Joshua Pim also won the doubles titles with Frank Stoker in 1891 & 1893. Both men, along with Willoughby Hamilton, joined Stokes on the Carrickmines tournament committee, re-establishing the Championships after a thirteen-year gap. They all remained on the Club Committee up to the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914.
Willoughby Hamilton, first County Dublin Championships Singles Champion in 1887. He was also the first Irishman to win Wimbledon Singles in 1890. His grandnephew, Hugh Hamilton was the County Dublin Championships Referee in the 1950’s.
Lena Rice, Ireland’s only Wimbledon Ladies Champion in 1890. She won the County Dublin Championships later that year. There is no record of her playing subsequently.
Louisa Mollie Martin
Louisa won the Irish Championships an incredible nine times and was perhaps the outstanding player of her day. She defeated Lena Rice in the Irish Championships final of 1890. That same year Lena won both Wimbledon and the County Dublin Championships.
Louisa lost in the Wimbledon final in 1898 and Carrickmines was one of her last tournaments in 1912. Many of Louisa’s relatives played in Carrickmines including Clive Martin, the Honorary Secretary in the 1990s.
Manliffe Goodbody was the County Dublin Champion 1893 and the U.S. Championship Finalist 1894. He was a civilian casualty in WW1.
Mabel Cahill is Irelands only US Champion. She won the singles, doubles and mixed titles in both 1891 & 1892 and became the first non-American to win. She died tragically in 1905 having contracted tuberculosis.
Ruth Durlacher was runner-up to Edith Boucher in 1908 in the County Dublin Championships. Ruth reached the final of the All Comer’s Singles at Wimbledon and won the All-England Ladies Doubles on two occasions.
Some of the best British players came to Dublin. It was worth their while to travel for two tournaments which offered generous prize money in those “strictly amateur” days.
John Stokes and his great friend James C. Parke won the Irish Championship Doubles on four occasions.
James Parke on top left playing with Alfred Beamish in the Davis Cup final in Melbourne. Parke defeated Beamish in the Australian Champioships final in 1912.
James Parke, a regular visitor to Carrickmines played the leading role in the British Isles Davis Cup victory in 1912. He also won the Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon in 1912 and reached the Men’s Doubles final in 1920. Parke, like Wilson before him also captained the Irish rugby team.
Parke wore a Shamrock during every Davis Cup match he played and may well have helped Ireland to Davis Cup triumph had independence been achieved a decade earlier.
The players on the left standing and sitting are from India. Back row; Cecil Campbell (centre) and Ben Haughton. Front row: Louis Meldon (centre) and Jack Miley.
Jack Miley was the first Club Champion in Carrickmines when he won the Perpetual Cup presented by Ruth Durlacher. He was seriously injured at Ypres in Belgium in WW1.
Jack Miley’s grandson, David Miley had a major influence in the development of tennis globally.
Neale Fraser and David Miley at the Australian Open 2019.
In his position as Head of Development at the International Tennis Federation (ITF), David introduced many initiatives including the Tennis 10s and the ITN (International Tennis Number). David is a regular visitor to Carrickmines where Jack Miley and his brother Val played. Both also competed in the Championships at Wimbledon. They won the County Dublin Championships doubles together; an achievement David repeated some eighty years later. Val Miley was the first County Dublin champion when the tournament recommenced in Carrickmines in 1908.
Neale Fraser is one of the all-time tennis greats and has strong Irish roots. He won 14 grand slams including singles titles at Wimbledon 1960 and the US Championships in 1959 & 1960. He represented Australia with distinction as a Davis Cup player and then as the Captain for 24 years. He has the record of eight Davis Cup wins (four as a player and four as captain).
His mother emigrated from Kilkenny to Australia. Neale is the last Irish citizen to win a Grand Slam.
Ireland’s first Davis Cup tie after independence was against India in 1923. After a dispute amongst the team members, it was decided not to fly the new national flag, the tricolour. Instead, the Fitzwilliam flag was flown. For every subsequent tie the national flag has been on display.
No flag issues for James McGee as he is wrapped in the tricolour after his heroic five-hour Davis Cup victory in Egypt in the decisive rubber in Cairo in 2012.
1950 Davis Cup Ireland V Poland in Warsaw. Poland won the tie 3/2. Ireland on the left: Joe Hackett, Cyril Kemp, Matt Murphy & George McVeagh.