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Valentia Island Golf Club, County Kerry. (1905 - WW2)

The club was founded in 1906.

It’s possible that golf could have been played much earlier than the above date at Valentia Island.

The Waterville Golf Club state on their website that “Golf came first to nearby Valentia Island in the 1860s.” Golf at that time would have been played in a haphazard fashion with no organised club or course.

It seems that there were two courses on Valentia Island. The first was at Glenleam on the Knight of Kerry's Estate and appeared prior to WW1 when the club went into abeyance. The later course appears in the 1920s and was laid out on Daly's Fields near the Cable and Wireless Station.

The club first appeared in the Golfing Annual in 1906/7 which gives a foundation date of November 1906. The club had a membership of 60 and the annual subscription was 10 shillings. It gives a brief description as follows “The course of nine-holes is two and a half miles by boat and car from Valentia Harbour Station.”

Below is the result of a one-sided club match played at Valentia against Waterville in April 1908.

Valentia Golf Club   Waterville Golf Club  
C Spring-Rice 1 W Riley 0
J Condon 0 T Bennett 1
W Jolley 0 T H Anderson 1
Capt. The Hon. F Spring Rice (captain) 0 Rev. Can. Fahy 1
D Huggins 0 W Jones (captain) 1
B Hardy 0 J Wood 1
M Shanahan 0 T A McMullen 1
  1   6

The following report, accompanying the above match result, is from the Cork Examiner Saturday 25th April 1908. “The return match between teams representing the above clubs was played at Valentia on Wednesday. The beautiful links were seen at their best, and the weather was charming. Indeed the day was quite an ideal one for a golf match, and the view from the first tee was delightful and brilliant, especially seaward, where a big contingent of fishing smacks under full sail was beating out past the Lighthouse, practically within hail of the golfers. A big number of spectators assembled to witness the match – the fair sex, who appeared to be in the majority of the followers of the different teams, making the assemblage a radiant one with their tasteful and gay early summer dresses.”  

From the Irish Golfers Guide 1910 “Instituted 1907; Hon. Secretary, Francis Spring Rice. Eighteen tees have been made so as to vary the second nine. Summer play has been restricted due to the long grass. No sheep are on the land at present which is what is required to keep it playable through the year. The course is situated on the property of the Knight of Kerry.”

Following is from The Irish Field February 5th 1927. “Valentia Island is one of the most ungetatable places in the South and yet the game flourishes there. Indeed no later than last week Bernard Daly of the Tralee club went out there on invitation to lay out a new course to take the place of the old one, which had existed for many years.”

The secretary during the 1930s was M G O’Sullivan, 5 Cable Terrace, Valentia Island the green-keeper was D O’Connor. A 9-hole course with a SSS of 66 and membership of 50. Visitors’ fees were 1/- a day and 5/- a week rising to 2/- a day and 10/- a week by 1940. Sunday play allowed and the local hotel was the Royal.

In the Irish Tourist Directory 1937 Valentia is mentioned as having a nine-hole course.

The Thoms Directory lists the club in 1940. It also appears in the Directory in the 1946 edition when the secretary was listed as G H Edmond  at the Cable and Wireless Station.

There are no further records of the club.

The Google Maps below show the location of the former courses; The top one shows the early course at Glenleam. The lower one shows the later course at Daly's Fields.