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.