So, how do you sum up a Greystones club that’s officially 67 years old, and is, in reality, over 100 years old, in just a few short paragraphs…?
Well, the simple answer is, you don’t.
The Greystones Rowing Club has been around far too long, and has seen far too many great athletes, and organisers, and supporters, to be summarised in one easy-to-swallow article.
We’ll be adding to this beast as the years go by, and as the Greystones Rowing Club themselves pull together their own kick-ass archive of stories, images, anecdotes, heroes and trophies.
Right here, right now, we’re just starting to tell that story. And it helps when you have long-time member John Byrne to talk to.
When we called down to John at the Greystones Rowing Club’s pretty-darn-new clubhouse this afternoon, he laid out some great old shots and regatta programmes from way back on the table. More importantly, John has the history of the club deep in his family bloodline, with both his dad, Snowy Byrne, and his brother, Patrick, also dedicated, trophy-winning members.
Determined to make the Greystones Rowing Club website a living history of this long-standing and much-loved town institution, John is putting the shout-out to anyone who’s ever been a part of the club to go root in their drawers. If you’ve got any images, stories, memories, anything, from down through the decades, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. You can check out what’s there already on the Greystones Rowing Club website here.
In the meantime, there are quite a few people who have been a major part of the club down through the years, and we’re going to try and give a nod to just some of them here…
There’s the incredibleSenior crew of the 1950s – Paddy Redmond, Christy ‘The Boar’ Whiston, Jimmy Redmond, Ozzie Spurling and Michael ‘Beezy’ Whiston [right], along with the committee of the time; chairman J.E. McKenzie, secretary J. Duggan and treasurer Jim Hayden.
In the 1970s, you had the great Junior crew of Eamon Brosnan, John Redmond, Dessie Redmond and John Sweeney, the tragic early passing of the latter now commemorated annually with The John Sweeney Cup. The Minor crew at this time – Stan Galligan, Pat Mooney, Brian Wilson, Ciaran Demery and Snowy Byrne [left] – were unbeaten for two years, whilst the committee consisted of Joe Sweeney, John Kinsella, Shay Monahan, Albert Doyle, Leslie Spurling, Dessie Redmond, Denis Slattery, John Byrne, Bernard Byrne and Tony Killeen.
Thanks to emigration, the 1980s were a lean time for the club, the most notable moment being a 1985 charity row to the Kish lighthouse and back for Open Door, with Niall Hayden, John Byrne, Bernard Byrne, John Redmond and Pat Mooney fighting fatigue and dreadful weather conditions along the way. By the close of the decade, the club was no more…
It was brothers Willy and Anto Byrne who kicked the club back into life in 2000, along with some major help from Ciaran Hayden, Bernard Byrne and Alan Monahan. Since then, the Greystones Rowing Club has gone from strength to strength, and from win to win. The Junior and Senior Ladies picked up trophies in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the U16 girls in 2016, the U14s in 2014.
In 2015, the Junior crew of Willy Byrne, Anto Byrne, Patrick Byrne, John Byrne and Alan Monahan were the first Greystones crew to win the John Sweeney Cup since 1975, whilst in 2016, the Senior crew of John Byrne, Patrick Byrne, Alan Monahan and Tommy Hamill, along with cox, Sam Byrne, were the first Greystones crew to win a Senior men’s race since the 1950s.
That said, last year, there were no major wins. The lazy fecks.
We should also give thanks and praise to Alan Smullen, Ciaran Hayden, Bernard Byrne and Bob Gunning, for having adding the fine art of kayaking to the club in recent years.
We’ll be adding more to this archive over the coming years, but, more importantly, the Greystones Rowing Club will be finally able to tell their own story, and the stories of all those who have rowed in her over the decades. So, go check those old photo boxes. Now.
In the meantime, here’s the mighty John Byrne on just some of that glorious history…
You can check out the Greystones Rowing Club’s early history with Jago Hayden here, the opening of their new club in April 2017 here, and their upcoming Open Days on March 10th for adults here and March 24th for kids here. You can also check out their Facebook page here, or their main website here.