Clonturk Park – venue for the All Ireland Finals

Photograph of a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating Clonturk Park as the venue for All Ireland Finals, at Richmond Road, Dublin 3.

This plaque, at the Drumcondra AFC clubhouse on Richmond Road, Dublin 3, commemorates Clonturk Park as the venue for the GAA All Ireland finals in both hurling and football for 1890, 1891, 1892, and 1894.

The matches played at Clonturk Park included landmark occasions such as Cork’s first All Ireland championship in hurling, and Dublin’s first in football; the first football final between Dublin and Kerry, and the only win by a Kerry team in the hurling championship.

The 1893 final was transferred to the Phoenix Park because the grass at Clonturk had not been cut for the occasion.

After Clonturk Park’s era as the preferred GAA venue in the city came to an end, the All Ireland final of 1895 was the first to be played on Mr Butterly’s amusement grounds on Jones’s Road, the venue now better known as Croke Park.

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste, and Uachtarán Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Jarlath Burns, on 23 March 2024.

Elliott, Shay – professional cyclist and wearer of the Yellow Jersey

This plaque commemorates Shay Elliott, the first Irishman to win a stage in the Tour de France and to wear the Yellow Jersey.

Locate this plaque on Google maps.

Dubliner Shay Elliott made history on 25 June 1963 when he won the third stage of the Tour de France, taking the overall lead and wearing the ‘maillot jaune’ for three days. 

The stage-win also made Elliott the first English-speaking rider to win a stage in each of the Grand Tours, adding to his victories in the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. 

It would be another 15 years before an Irishman won a stage and a further five years before an Irishman wore the Yellow Jersey in Le Tour, when Sean Kelly took it with a victory in stage 9 in 1983.

Shay Elliott was born at 96 Old County Road, Crumlin, Dublin, in 1934, and having served an apprenticeship as a panel beater, became a professional cyclist in 1956, following success in the amateur ranks. In 1955 he became the first foreigner to be ranked top amateur in France.

In 1958 he narrowly failed to win the Paris–Roubaix and Paris–Brussels classics due to mechanical faults and lost a sprint stage in the Tour de France by being blocked. Professional cycling could be ruthless.

Elliott rode as a super-domestique for nearly ten years with the five-time Tour de France winner, Jacques Anquetil, as his team leader. The team was widely regarded as the Galaciticos of professional cycling such was the quality of its riders. 

In 1962 Shay competed in Salò, Italy for the World Road Race Championship. He won the silver medal, losing out to Jean ‘Stab’ Stablinksi, a teammate, best friend and godfather to his son, Pascal. Shay later claimed that Stablinski paid other riders to chase him down when he attacked on the penultimate lap thus denying him victory. The consensus among his peers was that he was cheated out of gold.

Deprived of certain victory in the 1965 Paris–Luxembourg stage race by one more betrayal by Stablinski, a devastated Shay left the team and joined Jacques Anquetil’s greatest rival, Raymond Poulidor at Mercier. Sadly the move proved to be a disaster. Looking to the future Shay invested his life savings in opening a hotel in Brittany. It haemorrhaged money and his marriage failed as a result. Faced with bankruptcy he returned to Ireland leaving his wife and son behind. 

In the years that followed Shay rebuilt his life, setting up a garage on South Princes Street, Dublin, where he also lived. He regularly tuned into French radio to listen to the cycling coverage. He even dreamed of one more victory on the bike. With the near miss at Salò never far from his mind, he looked to competing in the World Road Race Championship in Leicester in 1970. Sadly, he never got to the starting line. Less than a year later and within weeks of the death of his beloved father Jim, Shay was found dead in his home. He had suffered a shotgun wound to the chest.

60 years on from taking the Yellow Jersey as race leader of the Tour de France, Shat Elliott should be remembered as a pioneer, a man who set many firsts in his cycling career, and achieved 50 race victories. His legacy is one that inspired future Irish legends to conquer the roads and the mountains of Europe. 

The plaque was unveiled on 23 June 2023.

Ladies’ National Tennis Championship – world’s first

This plaque commemorates the world’s first national tennis championship for women, which took place in Dublin on 9 and 10 June 1879.

The Dublin tournament was held on the courts of Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, at 24-25 Upper Pembroke Street, and preceded the Wimbledon Ladies’ Championship by five years. It wasn’t until 1884 that the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles were first held.

The first Irish tennis clubs were founded in 1877 with tennis quickly becoming a popular sport. Writing about the 1879 Irish championships, the Freeman’s Journal called tennis the “monarch of amusements”, noting that “no properly brought up young lady or gentleman … would dare to express herself or himself unacquainted with … the fashionable game”.

The championships were organised by the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, which was founded in 1877, and another plaque, commemorating the founding of the club, was also unveiled.

The Club’s first home was at 24-25 Upper Pembroke Street. Although the men’s competition took place in public on the courts in nearby Fitzwilliam Square, the ladies’ matches were held in the grounds of the club, to keep them “as private as possible”, and entry was restricted to club members.

In the final Miss May Langrishe, from County Kilkenny, defeated Miss D. Meldon in three sets, becoming the first Irish national ladies’ champion.

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor on 10 June 2023.

Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club

This plaque commemorates the founding of the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. The club was founded in 1877 and its first home was at 24-25 Upper Pembroke Street, on premises leased to the club by Sir Francis Brady.

Find this plaque on Google maps.

The club quickly outgrew the premises and in 1880 moved to its current grounds on Appian Way, Dublin 6.

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor on 10 June 2023.

In 1879 the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club organised a national ladies’ championship, the first of its kind in the word.

The tournament was held at the club courts on Upper Pembroke Street, and is also marked by a Dublin City Council commemorative plaque.

O’Connell, Patrick – footballer

Photograph of Dublin City Council plaque honouring Patrick O'Connell

On the morning of Friday, 5th June 2015, a Dublin City Council commemorative plaque honouring footballer and football manager Patrick O’Connell was unveiled in Drumcondra. The plaque is located at 87 Fitzroy Avenue, where O’Connell lived during his youth, and was unveiled by his grandson Mike O’Connell and Dublin Central T.D. Maureen O’Sullivan.

Patrick O’Connell led a remarkable footballing life. Beginning his professional career with Belfast Celtic, he moved to England in 1909 and played for Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City and Manchester United over the next decade. O’Connell emigrated to Spain in 1922 and coached Racing Santander for seven years, before leading Real Betis to their sole La Liga championship in 1935 and helping to save FC Barcelona from bankruptcy during the Spanish Civil War by bringing them on a tour of Mexico and New York.

Thereafter, O’Connell returned to England and spent his final years living destitute in London, where he passed away in February 1959.

In attendance at the Drumcondra plaque unveiling were former players of Manchester United (Jimmy Nicholl), Glasgow Celtic (Bertie Auld and John Clark) and FC Barcelona (Steve Archibald), as well as Martin Buchan of the Professional Footballer’s Association.

Those wishing to learn more about “Don Patricio O’Connell” can consult the 2016 book The Man Who Saved FC Barcelona: The Remarkable Life of Patrick O’Connell, written by Sue O’Connell (wife of Patrick’s grandson Mike) and issued by Amberley Publishing.

You can also watch the presentation below by Dr James Curry, Dublin City Council historian in residence, which is part of a Plaques of Dublin online lecture series.

Submitted by Historian in Residence, James Curry. 

Shelbourne Football Club

On Friday, 4th September 2015, a Dublin City Council plaque commemorating the founding of Shelbourne Football Club was unveiled in Dublin 4.

The plaque is located outside Slattery’s Public House (at the junction of Shelbourne Road and Bath Avenue) and was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, and Chairman of Shelbourne Football Club, Joe Casey, with the ceremony hosted by broadcaster Ray Kennedy. Also in attendance were Kevin Humphreys T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, local councillor Paddy McCartan, and members and supporters of Shelbourne Football Club.

It is widely believed that it was in Slattery’s (then known as Nolan’s) that a group of young men who lived in the Bath Avenue area of southeast inner-city Dublin founded Shelbourne F.C in 1895. Spurred on by successful local performances during the next two years, Shelbourne joined the senior ranks of Irish football in 1897, and in 1905 became professional.

Based at Drumcondra’s Tolka Park since 1989, Shelbourne have won the League of Ireland (of which they were a founding member in 1921) championship thirteen times and are one of only three teams to have won both the Irish Football Association Cup and the Football Association of Ireland Cup.

Those wishing to learn more about the history of one of Ireland’s oldest football teams should consult Christopher Sands’s book Shels. A Grand Old Team to Know. A History of Shelbourne Football Club since 1895 (Dublin, 2016).

You can also watch the presentation below by Dr James Curry, Dublin City Council historian in residence, which is part of a Plaques of Dublin online lecture series.

Submitted by Historian in Residence, James Curry.