Few police forces in the world can claim to have a sports and social club to rival that of the Dublin Metropolitan Garda Recreation Club. Boasting ballroom and function facilities in the heart of Dublin city, two golf courses, superb playing fields for GAA, rugby and soccer, an ultramodern sports and leisure centre, and a clubhouse with fine banqueting and conference facilities, the club is second to none.
The extraordinary history of the Dublin Metropolitan Garda Recreation Club is unfolded in this book as a testament to the vision, industry and sheer grit and determination of its founding members and those charged with carrying on its legacy. Arising from the remnants of the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan police, the embryonic club existed for forty years before being radically reconstituted in 1961. This was largely through the efforts of one man, Edmund (Ned) Garvey.
From its Harrington Street premises, the Garda Club emerged as one of the top entertainment hotspots in Dublin in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The revenue generated from bingo, cabaret, Big Band dancing and disco, along with members’ subscriptions, made it possible for the club to embark on ambitious development plans. This culminated in the purchase of land in 1975 near Rathfarnham that would become Stackstown Golf Club. In time this club was open to civilian membership and spawned the Irish golfing legend Padraig Harrington.
Additional lands purchased in the mid and late-1980s in Westmanstown, Clonsilla gave rise to the jewel in the crown – the Westmanstown Sports and Conference Centre. From such prized premises, the club provided training facilities not only for Garda and civilian members but Irish athletes preparing for the Special Olympics in 2003 and international teams such as the All-Blacks in 2008.