History of Bray Golf Club

Bray Golf Club has a long and distinguished history since its founding in 1897 at Ravenswell Road. Golf has an even longer association with the town of Bray. In 1997 a book was published called “A History of Golf in Bray”. This book was researched and compiled by Cyril Dunne, past Captain and past President of Bray Golf Club, and it was edited by Miranda Moriarty. Excerpts from the book are set out below and we hope that you enjoy reading about the history of golf in Bray and the history of Bray Golf Club.

 

The title of each of the excerpts are listed below and if you click on the particular title you will be brought to the relevant section of the page so that you can read the excerpt.

 

 

Forward.

The town of Bray has a pre-eminent place in the history of golf. The oldest club in the world was founded in 1744 when a group of Edinburgh gentlemen decided to inaugurate the Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (HCEG). One of these golfers was Hew Dalrymple, Captain of the club in 1752 and father of Lt. Colonel Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone. This officer was the Battalion Commander the Royal Scots, which had a company, based in Bray in 1762, the year in which there was an active golf club in the town. There is little doubt that officers of Elphinstones regiment were active participants in the activities of the 18th century golf club in Bray.

Elias Butts chaired the meeting of the 'goff' club at Bray in October 1762 and therein lies the connection between the story of the 'new' Bray golf club and my own researches in to the history of the military golfers who may have played over the common famous for that manly exercise called 'Goff'. Bray Golf clubs current home at Ravenswell was the residence of Elias De Butts until 1769 and he had extensive property rights in the Bray area.

The foundation of the new Bray Golf Club at Ravenswell in July 1897 coincided with a boom in golf development at the end of the 19th century, when a group of local gentlemen persuaded the Rt. Honorable Lord Plunkett act as President and "spared no pains in arousing the inhabitants of Bray and surrounding district". Within two years the cub could boast of a membership of 325, which was a tremendous response for the new venture. The historic victory of Bray Golf Club in the inaugural Barton Cup competition in 1905 will always stand out as a major first in Irish golf. From an early date the club has played its part in the furtherance of the game in Ireland, as evidenced by the election in 1913 of Mr. George Price as first Honorable Secretary of the Leinster Branch, Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI). Price's subsequent appointment as Honorable Secretary of the GUI, in 1922 was a great honour for the club.

Long may the club prosper and continue to enjoy the game of 'goff' in the town, which was home to the first golf club in Ireland.

William H. Gibson, Lt. Colonel.
Author, Early Irish Golf.

 

Human Settlement in Bray.


The first human settlers arrived in the area during the Mesolithic period (8000 BC to2, 700BC) ) and settlement has been continues ever since. Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age sites are as numerous as early Christian ones. Notwithstanding this continuity of settlement, it is not until Norman times that we have proof of a permanent settlement on the site of the present day Bray. This small settlement was created around 1170; by the Norman Lord Guy De Riddlesford who could be called the founder of modern day Bray.

This settlement consisted of a castle and small mill located on high ground (behind St. Paul's Church) Main Street overlooking the river ford where Bray bridge now stands. The settlement was of strategic importance protecting the river crossing and the newly conquered lands. Sir Walter De Riddlesford distinguished himself by combating the Vikings unsuccessful counter attack on Dublin in 1171, when Askulu Mac Turchil, the former Danish Governor of Dublin was killed. De Riddlesford was credited with killing the Viking John the Mad or John the Wood in the battle and with having saved the life of Sir Milo De Cogan. Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, who was then the Lord Deputy, granted the manor or lordship of Bre to de Riddlesford in 1173. He also received several carrucates (the area which eight oxen could plough in a year) covering approximately the area from the Pound House (present day Town Hall) to Sunnybank and from the sea to Crow Bank (opposite the end of the People's park). Milo De Cogan's son Richard later married Basilia, a daughter of De Riddlesford.

The town of Bray, lying 12 miles south of Dublin and 19 miles north of Wicklow has undergone many name changes down through the centuries. It is strongly believed that the name of Bray evolved from the name Ui Briuin Cualann,. Old church records however refer to the town as Bri (hill or rising ground) a reference to Bray Head and the many steep inclines surrounding the town. When Sir Walter De Riddlesford built a castle in 1174 he names it the castle of Bre and the area surrounding it the Barony of Bre.

The Landlord and other Landowners.


The manor of Bray was held by various families but by the end of the sixteenth century it had been, for a long period, in the hands of Archbolds. This family also had large tracts of surrounding area in the nearby Manor of Killruddery with its castle, the forerunner to the present Killruddery House (the house of the Earl of Meath). In the early days of the seventeenth century, however the Archbolds failed to maintain their title to these properties. In 1618 Sir William Brabazon, later created the first Earl of Meath in 1627, was granted the lands of Killruddery by King James 1.

Some years later, in 1636, the first Earl of Meath gained possession of Bray itself and also extended his holding to the South by the addition of Delgany, Coolgad and Kindlestown. For almost four and a half centuries since, the Brabazons have been one of the most powerful families in Bray, residing in the stately Killruddery House, a mile south of Bray on the Greystones Road. In 1545 Sir William Brabazon received a grant from Henry VIII of the monastery of St. Thomas in Dublin. A section of the property consisted of the lands of Kilrotheric (Killruddery) comprising of Little Sugerloaf, Bray Head and the intermediate valley in the Centrex on which the monks some centuries before, had built a large rural retreat to which was attached a chapel and burial ground. Lord Brabazon was granted the patient of Killruddery at the yearly rent of £8.6.8 (£8.33) along with two-foot soldiers for the defense of the property.

The Brabazon family takes its name from the province of Brabant in Belgium. Jacque le Brabazon accompanied William the Conqueror as his standard bearer in to England in the 11th Century. His son William was created first earl of Meath in 1627.


Golf in Bray 1762.


By this time Bray had attracted a number of other distinguished residents to live on the outskirts of the town. in addition to the Brabazon, Fitzwilliam and Putland families. During this period the game of golf was growing in popularity amongst the aristocrats and senior members of the army and Navy in Scotland. The term 'golf' was not the original name. History books record the earliest pronunciation as 'gauff' or 'goff'.

It is recorded that one of the oldest regiments in the British army, the Royal Scots, had their first battalion based in Ireland from 1726 to 1768. This is the time that the existence of a golf club in Bray was noted in Faulkner's Dublin Journal. A Colonel of the Royal Scots (later promoted to General) and Governor of Cork was James St. Clair. He was a founder member of the Royal and Ancient, which was instituted in 1754. A first battalion commander of the Royal Scots was Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone, who was a member of the Honorable company of Edinburgh golfers (founded 1744) and who sat on the sub-committee which helped the R & A organize their first competition at St. Andrews.

The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, 1744 - Captains.
1744 - 1747 John Rattray
1748 Hon. James Leslie
1749 *David Dalryample
1750 Hon. Francis Charteris
1751 John Rattray
1752 *Lord Drumore (Hew Dalryample)
1753 Sir Henry Seton BT
1754 - 1755 W. Cross
1756 Sir Henry Seton BT
1757 Robert Clerk
1758 Thomas Boswell
1759 Andrew Hamilton
1760 William Hogg
1761 William St. Clair of Roslin
1762 Sir R. Henderson BT
1763 *Col. Horn Elphinstone
1764 Colin Cambell
1765 William St. Clair of Roslin
1766 William Hogg
1767 Alexander Keith
1768 Thomas Stoddart


The list of Captains in the early years shows that the third Captain, in 1749, was David Dalrymple, brother of Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone. Lord Drumore (captain in 1752) was the father of David Dalrymple and Robert Horn. This Dalrymple family played a prominent part in the formation and development of Scotland's premier club. How could David Dalrymple and Elphinstone be brothers? At that time, if a man's wife was of wealthy stock, an only daughter and a heiress, the family name was kept alive by the agreement of the new husband to take the wife's maiden name. If the wife died, the husband reverted to his mother's maiden name. In Robert's case this was Elphinstone, hence Robert Dalrymple Horn, on the death of his wife, became Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone.

In due course a golf club of gentlemen was formed in Bray. One of these gentlemen was named Elias De Butts who at the time lived in Ravenswell, by an amazing coincidence the present location of Bray Golf Club at Ravenswell. Elias was President of this golf club, evident from the notice inserted in Faulkner's Dublin Journal inviting the members to a club dinner at Charles Moran's House on Thursday October 28th. 1762 at half an hour after three o clock.


Golfing Cargo.


Dermot Gilleece in his 'Golfing log' in The Irish Times 10th. December 1988 writes: "that Royal Belfast is acknowledged officially as the oldest club in Ireland, having been founded in 1881, through William Gibson in Early Irish Golf claims to have documented proof that a golf club existed in Bray as far back as 1762”. Bray Golf Club, through their own research, were first to unearth this information in a booklet which was published in 1972. Further evidence of active participation in golf in this country more than 220 years ago, is available through the good offices of Joseph Murdoch of Lafayette Hill,Pennsylvania. This information came to light in a letter from Murdoch to William Gibson, during the course of which Murdoch wrote:

”My son lives in Edinburgh, where he works as a researcher of old Scottish records. When he started his job a few years ago, I asked him to make a note of any reference to golf”.

As it happened, the dutiful son sent the following extracts from the customs accounts, Irvine, Scotland
Scottish record Office, Exchequer Records, E504/18/7, quarter ended 5 July (Ladyday) 1771 - Outwards, Entry 39, June 12. In the 'Diamond' for Dublin. Geo Allan for Wm. Allen (merchants names). Textiles and 2 dozen of golf clubs and six dozen of golf balls, all of Brit. Manu. E504/18/5, quarter ended 10 Oct. (Michaelmas) 1763. Outwards, entry four, July 6th. In the 'Willingmind' predict (i.e. previously entered) for Matthew Willock (merchant or private individual) 4 boxes golf balls. Quarter ended, 5 July (Midsummer) 1763. General goods. Entries 34 and 36. July 4. In the 'Willingmind' Jn. Gillies, Mer. From Dublin.

"As these entries indicate, there was in fact, a regular trade between Scotland andIreland in golf equipment at around the time when a golf club was reported to be in existence in Bray. The correspondence, which Gibson received from the United States, is , hopefully the first of several such letters which will be prompted by the publications of Gibson's new early military golfers( from Fontenoy to Waterloo) book.

Indeed in his capacity as a member of the Museum Committee of the US Golf Association, the Golf Writers' Association of America and the Golf Collectors Society, it is likely that Murdoch will add further valuable in formation about the birth of golf in this country.


Ireland's First Golf Club 1762.


The reader might ask why a discussion on the relative age of Scottish clubs is relevant to clubs in Ireland in the 18th. Century. Modern golf club records show that the oldest club in Ireland is the Royal Belfast Golf Club, which came in to existence in 1881. There is little doubt now that it was not the first Irish Golf club. Faulkner's Dublin Journal No. 3704 of 23rd October 1762 carries the following intriguing notice:
" The Golf Club meet to dine at the house of Mr. Charles Moran on Thursday the 28th. October at half an hour after three o clock Elias de Butts Esq. In the chair".

This then is the first known mention of the existence of "gauff/goff" or a "golf club" in Ireland. The date 1762 is also quite significant as the club (which may have had an earlier foundation date would be at least fifth in the seniority of golf clubs. We may never know who Mr. Charles Moran was or the location of his house, (the house of Charles Moran was the White Lyon(sic) Inn, 3. Main Street East, Meath estate Lease, 17th April 1693) but Elias de Butts was the only son of Rev. Elias de Butts of Castlemaine, Co. Kerry, descendant of a Huguenot family. He had been born in 1726, educated in Trinity College and married three times. There were no children of the first marriage, five sons resulted from the second marriage to Anne Cromie and there was one daughter from the third marriage to Martha Bennet. Sadly no other record of his golfing days was left but he is the first known and named golf club member in Ireland. The oldest living relative of Elias de Butts is Frederick De Butts, a senior army officer who now lives in England.

The location of the actual golfing terrain in Bray is no longer a mystery due to the availability of some further evidence. In Saunders News letter of 3rd. May 1773 the letting of a house at Seafield, Bray is advertised. The auctioneer dutifully extols the fine property of Seafield, near Bray. To be let for a term of years, and entered upon immediately, being a genteel country sear in complete repair within 9 miles of Dublin. The house in convenient for a large family and has locks, grates, kitchen. One of the parlors is large with a bow window to the sea; there is 31 acres of choice land well divided and quickened with a large garden, walled around and planted with fruit trees. Offices of all kinds strongly built and slated; it is near the church, market and yearly fairs at Bray. Well situated for the goats whey, for bathing, boating and fishing. Bounded on the east by a common, famous for the manly exercise called Goff. Inquire Thomas Cusack, Auctioneer, in Montague Kevin's A-Port, who can show a map of the premises.

From this we can see that the Bray Golfers were playing on a common, which sadly, no longer exists in its original form. From a second documentary source the location of this area can be pin pointed as being the present seafront promenade area of Bray.


The Royal Scots.


When one looks at the facts the presence of the Royal Scots officers with the essential knowledge, expertise, golf equipment and the invaluable facility of providing army personnel to layout and maintain a golf course, one could easily conclude the Scots had a overwhelming influence on the development of a golf club in Bray in 1762 or maybe at an even earlier date.

There is no documentary evidence to indicate how many more years Elias De Butts and friends played golf on the links land on Bray seafront. It was a peaceful and tranquil period in Irish history.

And so Elias De Butts, Charles Moran, General Robert Dalrymple Horn Elphinstone, General St Clair and the White Lyon (sic) Tavern, all passed in to history. We in Bray are fortunate that Elias De Butts and the estate agent, Mr. Cusack, by inserting newspaper notices 11 years apart, and though unaware of it at the time, were putting on record the fact that a golf club existed in Bray, where golf was played regularly and on an organized basis for the first time in Ireland.

The Founding of Bray Golf Club at Ravenswell in 1897.


Bray Golf Club is unique because of its proximity to the town center, which is not more than a couple of hundred yards from the third tee box. Surrounded by the sea, Bray Head, the two Sugar Loafs, Carrickoona, the Wicklow Hills, Ballycorus, and Killiney Bay, one can easily understand the phrase, The Gateway to the Garden of Ireland, as Wicklow is considered one of the most beautiful counties in these islands.

It is known from the minutes of the earliest meetings (1897/98 period) that many of the founder members, both ladies and gentlemen were solicitors, doctors, titled people etc., so most of them would have been of a relatively mature age.

From its foundation Bray Golf Clubs membership comprised - more by accident than design - three categories of members and Lady Associates. For those who had resided in Bray all their lives; those who resided in the area south and west of the city suburbs, extending southwards as far as Delgany-Greystones, and then there were the adopted sons and daughters of Bray who had come to live there in ever increasing numbers up to the present day. Indeed the two gentlemen who were instrumental in setting up Bray Golf Club were in the last category. David Stewart was a Scotsman and James Smiley Robson was from Ulster.

One can only surmise the exact time James Smiley Robson and David J. Stewart conceived the idea of a golf club in Bray. and its location. When they convened the first meeting on the 16th July 1897, at the International Hotel, Quinsborough Road, Bray, it is clear they had arranged an option with Lord Meath on the availability of the Ravenswell land. We know from subsequent AGM minutes, that they looked at other sites but they were not considered as suitable as Ravenswell, primarily it would appear because of the proximity of Bray railway Station. One hundred years ago that was the first essential as the train was the main means of transport.

We can see from the earliest picture of the course that it was a farm, with hedges, ditches, gorse and blackberry bushes, not to mention cattle grazing and countless weeds. Nevertheless they pursued the dream of a golf course in Bray. On 11th November 1898 the newly elected officers and council sought estimates for the building of a pavilion and choose Mr. Heatley's as the most satisfactory. Work commenced on the building and in the meantime club meetings continued to be held in the International Hotel, Quinsborough Road.

A Greens Committee meeting was held on the grounds of Ravenswell on 27th. November 1897. In attendance were Lord Plunkett, W.G. Syme, P. Barrington, S.J. Shannon and D.J. Stewart. The positions of the greens were decided and the trees it would be necessary to cut down were pointed out to the club professional, James Paxton. A decision was made to purchase two rollers, one mowing machine, 18 buckets, two shovels, one slash hook, and one garden barrow, all to be obtained from Parkes of the Coombe Dublin. The necessary hole tins, flags and tee markers were to be obtained from Elverys, O'Connell Street, Dublin.The positions of the greens are as shown on Philip Baringtons hand sketch ( note the location of the Gas Works). One keeper's hut measuring 10ft X 7ft, complete with a bench vice, was to be purchased from F. J. Walker of Meersbrook Bank, Sheffield at the cost of £4-5-0. Work commenced on the course.

The original pavilion was a galvanized iron structure painted red with a terraced roof. The road stopped abruptly at the car park, an adjacent area to the left. One approached the pavilion up the slope to the present kitchen area; on the right the first door led to the steward's quarters, the second door was the entrance to the gent's locker room. This had a furnace with a mesh grid around it in the Centrex of the room. There were wooden lockers standing on the floor with another row on top, double decker fashion. Toilet facilities faced the roadway (there was no upper car park then). A door from this locker room gave entrance to the common room, a spacious area with a fireplace and captain's name board above it. The walls were covered with pictures of players from Lord Plunkett to the photos of past captains. On the left hand side was the secretary's office. Close by was the ladies lounge/secretary's office.

The front window looked out on to the 9th Hole and the putting green. A door on the right led to the entrance hall and in to the bar, off, which was the card room. The card room was not part of the original pavilion. It had been a cricket/ tennis pavilion of a distinguished Wicklow family and cost £250. It had a stove and pipe extending to the roof, similar to what one would see in an old western movie. It was used only for cards.

At the time the club was formed, exhaustive inquiries were made for suitable grounds. After considering several sites, it was unanimously decided that lands at Ravenswell, owned by lord Meath, were the only grounds, which were suitable. There were certain terms attached to this offer with which the council did not altogether agree. Attempts to have these terms altered met with no success, so the choice then lay between abandoning the idea of a club altogether, or taking the lands at Ravenswell on the terms offered. After due consideration it was decided to accept the offer.

In 1813 Mr. Isaac Weld bought Ravenswell. He was not a wealthy man, but he was a man of great culture. Both he and his wife were very popular in the district for the forty years that they lived there. He died in Ravenswell in 1856. The property was then bought by Mrs. O'Reilly-Dease who lived with her son Matthew, who was a deputy Lieutenant at one time for Louth. It is beautifully situated looking south towards Bray Head. Some of the Ilex trees mentioned in accounts of the place over a hundred years ago still flourish.
In Liam Price's Place Names of Wicklow there is the following entry regarding Ravenswell :

I think this is a corruption of a name, which is recorded in an extract taken from a patent in 1684 and presented to the Meath Estate Office. This grant names several parcels of land in Little Bray one of which is called the Tobbergan's acre alias 'Ravenswell'. The grantee is Jeremy Donovan. Regan is the name of one of King Lear's daughters in Shakespeare's play. Regina "queen (Irish Rioghan) was sometimes used as a woman's name.

A map of the area was produced and on 6th. August it was stated that the lands of Ravenswell were available at a yearly rent of £100. This was accepted. A letter was sent to Lord Meath requesting abatement of £20-0-0 rent for the first two years because of the heavy initial expense involved in laying out the links. This request was refused. On 11th August a draft agreement was made and in September a draft lease was considered and amended, subject to all rates - including poor rate, town rates and income tax payable out of the lands at Ravenswell taken by the club - not exceeding £6-0-0 per annum, and subject to a clause concerning the drains being struck out.
It was noted on 10th. November 1897 that Lord Meath's agent, Mr. Knight, would credit the club with rents for cattle still on the course. An agreement was also reached with James Fisher on terms for allowing sheep to graze on the course as soon as the cattle were removed. During the same month, November 1897, Lord Plunkett and Phillip Barrington walked the land and marked out the course. Subscriptions of one guinea (£1.05) were set for club members with no entrance fee to be charged for the first 150 members. Thereafter the council would determine fees, as they deemed proper.

First Professional.

James Paxton of 20 Byrnes Road, South Croyden was the club's first professional. He was born in Musselburgh, Scotland in 1874 and in 1897 at the age of 23, joined Bray Golf Club, coming from Purley Downs where he was apparently assistant professional. He was the nephew of Peter Paxton, the Paxton's being a family prominent in club making.


1898.


On the 19th March 1898 the club decided to issue 400 debentures of £1-0-0 each redeemable by such drawings as council might determine bearing interest at 4% per annum from the date of issue until paid off out of the funds of Bray Golf Club the purpose being to erect a clubhouse or pavilion upon the grounds of Bray Golf Club.

In 1902 Bray Golf Club would have been amongst the first clubs ever to host a professional tournament with, for that time, a large field of competitors. This tournament was one of a series of professional competitions open to Irish players. The weather was extremely fine and the pretty Bray links was visited by a large member of spectators. Played on a Monday, 13 players accepted the invitation from the club and between them the competition was keenly contested. George Coburn of Portmarnock (who was penalized for a previous win in the series) proved too good for the other competitors, and set a new course record. His figures were as follows :

First 9: 534 444 643 = 37
Second 9: 533 445 663 = 39
Third 9: 444 443 544 = 36
Fourth 9: 643 344 453 = 36 Total 148 + 3 = 151


W. Clay from Foxrock was runner up with 158.


System of handicapping: winner of each event to be penalized three strokes and the runner up to be penalized two strokes. All the arrangements were made by Mr. I.R. Oswald-Sealy and were most satisfactory. Considering the heavy rain, which had fallen some time before the competition, the course showed the careful attention being paid to it by the Bray Golf Club professional Richard (Dick) Larkin and his staff.

The results were as follows :


Name Club Nett Gross
G. Coburn Portmarknock 148 plus 3 151
W. Clay Foxrock 158 scr 158
J. Hood Dollymount 161 scr 161
E. Martin Bray 163 scr 163
R. Larkin Bray 165 scr 165
J. McKenna Carrickmines 164 plus 2 166
C. Cahill Portmarknock 166 scr 166
J.J. McKenna Malahide 170 scr 170
J. Barrett Greystones 172 scr 172
H. Magee Greenore 175 scr 174
E. McDonald Foxrock 176 scr 176
P. McKenna Carrickmines 179 scr 179
E. McGowran Dublin 184 scr 186

These results indicate there were two professionals representing Bray Golf Club yet according to the records Bray had only one professional - Dick Larkin. So who was E.Martin? Subsequent enquiries solved the mystery. Eddie Martin was a young man from the Greystones area who, it would seem, was an unpaid ( by the club) assistant to Dick Larkin. Later, Eddie Martin was to become a most accomplished golfer at the neighboring Greystones Golf Club and later again his son, Jimmy Martin, was to reach the height of this profession by representing his country on the British and Ryder Cup teams. There is an interesting link from Bray Golf Club's point of view - Dick Larkin was to become an uncle to Jimmy Martin.


The Early Years.


Bray Inaugural Barton Cup Winners Team 1905.
N.A. Anderson; Dr. J. Bogan; S.R. Dillion; E.K. Figgis; F.A. Kennedy; M.cD. Bodkin; F. McCormack; H. Mason; R. Rice; L.R. Oswald-Sealy; C. Triscott; Hon. Mr. Justice Wright.
Barton Cup Winners Team 1907.
R. Drew; C. Burnell; W. Devereaux; E.K. Figgis; A. Fox; F.A. Kennedy; F. McCormack; H.J. Maher; P. Merier; R.Rice; W.Scott; L.R. Oswald-Sealy.
First Open Week.
The first Open Week was introduced in 1908. In those days there were not as many neighboring golf Clubs as there are now. Invitations were sent to Delgany, Greystones, Foxrock, Killiney, Rathfarnham, and Skerries.


The Changing of the Course.


In 1911 the most important event of this time occurred and one which had far reaching implications, came about when, due to land erosion, it became necessary for the railway company to relocate the railway line inland at Bray to its present location. A sub committee was formed in 1911 to consider the claim to be made for the portion of the links, which was to be acquired for the purpose of building this new railway line from Killiney to Bray. In 1912 the council agreed to accept the sum of £125.0.0 compensation from the Railway Company, and a vote of thanks was passed to the sub-committee for their work. It was decided to use this money to carry out course alterations and Cecil Barcroft was employed for this task.
Cecil Barcroft (1871 - 1924) had been called to the bar in 1898 and was one of its leading members. He was Captain of Dublin University Club in 1897 and also of Dungannon in the same year. In 1905 he was appointed secretary to Royal Dublin, a post he held until his death in December 1924.

He was one of the great pioneers. He wrote articles in the Daily Express and The Evening Mail and also contributed to the Irish Golfer. He designed Carlow Golf Course. (one of the most attractive and demanding inland courses in the country) Tullamore and Naas, two other fine courses were laid out by him in 1922. The Irish Times of 17th May 1922 reported that he had laid out about 20 courses in all, and reconstructed about 30 others.

Fortunately for Bray members, council of the day had the foresight to engage him to redesign the course in 1914. We have his to thank for the present layout of the course and the location of the greens.


The War Years.


The 40th. AGM of Bray Golf Club was held on the 18th. December 1937. Captain for 1938 E. Myerscough; Council to consist of E. Cussen; J.j. Byrne; H.J. Byrne; J.F. Byrne; A.T.M. Dalton; C.J. Elliot; P.H. Harwood; A.P. Huet; C.R. Lurring; P.J. McCarthy; A.M. Mcmullen and A.M. Murphy. President J.L. Murphy and Vice President P.H. McCarthy and V. Brew-Mulhallen.
Sadly by the end of 1938 war clouds were again gathering and when on the 3rd September 1939, war was declared by Britain on Germany, the members of Bray Golf Club were among the many millions whose lives were changed irrevocably by the events of the following six years.

There was complete disruption in normal living, and severe shortages to be faced in the years ahead. There was great unemployment in the country at that time, Bray especially was a depressed area, and consequently there was huge exodus of men and women to England., seeking employment. Sadly many never returned.. Others remained at home and joined the L.D.F. (Local Defense Force), L.S.F. ( Local Security Force), the A.R.P. (Air Raid Protection Services) and the Red Cross.


When I Came to Bray (Jim Brophy).


When I Came to Bray
When I came to Bray in the year '51
I saw on the Dargle a beautiful swan
She swam down the river along by the walk
And nigh overhead was a big hungry hawk


The castle was there in Old Little Bray
And across in Palermo I saw cocks of hay
I remember the Courthouse near to the Royal
And a shop on the Seapoint, I think it was Doyle


I gazed on the Head,it sparkled in green
But there wasn't a house on the place called Raheen
Then I went to Wolfe Tone, they call it the square
It led to the country, so peaceful and bare


I tripped through Boghall - lonely and quite
No factory or hall anywhere in sight
Down through Kilbride - a similar scene
The cows and sheep picking bits from the green


The Herbert was country - just a house here and there
To see half a dozen was something quite rare
You were out on the farms at outer Kilbride
A tree covered country where a fellow could hide


There was no Clover Hill and no Herbert Park
You could walk through the fields from daylight to dark
There was no rectory Slopes and no Silverpine
Of places like Ardmore there wasn't a sign


I remember Novara where football was played
A place of great spills where history was made


They called it the "Boycott" in days gone before
Where Emmets played football that thrilled to the core


That's a look back to Bray 46 years ago
Washed by the Dargle - still in the flow
Changes were ten fold in years in between
But it's still quite a picture in it's mantle of green.


Jim Brophy.


The Bray Golf Club Rabbits.


Most older Rabbits claim early association with the Founder members: Ossy Sherwin. George O'Sullivan, Leo Fortune, Harry Ging and Sean Gaughran. They arranged to play for a prize of two dozen bottles of Guinness; the date was 22nd. August 1951.

The following week seven other "Scrubbers" joined and paid Five shillings each entry. The prize was a club tie and sandwiches for all.

The first Rabbit Captain was the club solicitor J.P. Tyrell, a one-arm golfer. Subsequently he became the first President of the Rabbits.

Bray rabbits proposed the formation of the then Inter Club Rabbits Cup. Eight teams competed in the first year. Four from the south and four from North of the Liffey.

The Rabbits have met each Thursday of the golfing season, weather permitting, ever since and it was only in 2002 that they finally changed this old tradition to Tuesday evenings. Any member of the club is eligible providing his handicap is 18 or over. Down through the years many great friendships have flourished thanks to their association with the Bray Rabbits and quite a number of our low handicap golfers graduated to Tiger category from their numbers.
With the introduction of the reduced drinking regulations, alas, the regular Thursday night sing-a-long is no more.
 

 

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