Col. Bill Gibson. Club Historian

Having served his country with distinction during a 42-year career with the Irish Defence Forces, retired colonel William H Gibson has continued his invaluable service to Irish golf.

Since retiring from the military in 2003, Gibson has maintained his passion for golf’s rich history. A prolific writer, Gibson is currently completing work on a book entitled: Early Military Golfers 1744 – 1815. He has also contributed to a work on the history of golf in India, his expertise much in demand beyond his native shores.

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Belligerent Internees 1940-1945

Group of German internee cyclists Paul Störmer
 2nd from right

With the outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 the Irish Government, led by Éamon DeValera, adopted a policy of neutrality and thereby refrained from joining the Allies or Axis powers. This was followed by a declaration of Emergency, which suspended the normal political life of the country. In the event of any of the ‘Belligerents’ landing by sea or air on the territory of the State, it was decided that the air or naval personnel would be interned in specially prepared accommodation at the Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare.

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Golf on The Curragh Since 1852


This article shows that the game of golf was revived at the Curragh Camp by the 91st (Argyllshire) Highlanders in September 1875.

The writer states that “”Many years have passed since the national Scottish game of golf has been played on the beautiful plain of the Curragh of Kildare.
Clearly, “The Caddy in Scarlet” had previous experience of the game being played on the short grass of the Curragh and he gives some vital clues that prove the existence of the game here in 1852.

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Granting of Royal Title 1910


On 21st September 1910 the new King George V approved of the Curragh Golf Club “being allowed to use the prefix of Royal “ just six weeks after the Home Office had received a request for this privilege from General Sir Neville Lyttelton, Commanding-in-Chief the Forces in Ireland. In his letter, Lyttelton gave some background on the Curragh Golf Club saying “ It has been impossible to ascertain definitely by whom, or how, the Club was formed,

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The Curragh Golf Club 1858


When I published my Early irish Golf in 1988 I presented the evidence for a ‘nascent’ golf club at the Curragh military camp Co. Kildare in 1858. The Earl of Eglinton, Lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1858-59, was a frequent visitor to the course on the Curragh, where he played with Major Robert Harrington and Lieutenant Andrew Smith (Maxwell) of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Lanarkshire Militia and others, including the Musselburgh professional John Gourlay

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GREENKEEPER 1894 – 1950

William (Bill) Tinsley began work as an assistant greenkeeper at the Curragh Golf Club in May 1894 and three years later he was appointed Head Keeper; he was to become a key figure in establishing the top class course as we know it today. During his fifty six years of service, until his retirement in August 1950, he would witness the transition of the Curragh Camp from an essentially British military establishment to becoming the great Defence Forces Training Centre of the modern Irish Republic.

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