Dublin Wheelers 75th Anniversary Celebrations
On a weekend away cycling in Rostrevor, six friends, Eric Mason, David Perkins, Jim Doogue, Joe Walsh, Tommy and Leo McManmon decided to form a cycling club and called it the Dublin Wheelers Cycling Club. The year was 1933 at a time when the bicycle was very popular.
Not many people had access to cars and the bicycle was an easy form of escape to the countryside. There were many cycling clubs in Dublin at this time, but it was not long before over a hundred members would meet every Sunday morning outside the Irish Press Offices on Burgh Quay.
Tours would head off for the day, sometimes in two groups and quite often finish with tea and a dance in one of number of venues such as The Springfield, Butlers, Skerries, Dalkey, Bray and the White Heather Tea Rooms. In summer, evenings spins were organised on Wednesdays.
Racing – 1939
It wasn’t long before a racing section developed in the club, and much success was achieved with riders like Johnny Downs, Matt Hegarty and Ned Dunphy. In 1939 Johnny Downs, who was one of seven family members, had a famous victory in an interclub race between Cork, Co Dublin and Dublin Wheelers cycling clubs.
During the war years, due to a lack of spare parts coming into the country, cycling numbers declined but in the late forties and early fifties, the numbers swelled again.
Mid Century – 1950
With Matt and Paddy Marlow, Jack Ryan and Martin Hannsey more success soon followed at races. Noel Tully also won many open races including the famous Hercules Cup 1952 (which was an event organised by Dublin Wheelers).
Donal O’Connell also had wins in the Hercules cup 1953, C.R.E. Road Championship and held a number of Place to Place Records. Willie Long won the National 25 mile Time Trial in 1952 and the 100mile TT in the same year. More success came in 1952 when the Dublin Wheelers went to the Isle Of Man Cycle Week and won an amazing total of 18 prizes. Included in this list of wins was Noel Tully with the Viking Trophy and Shay Elliott winning the Mannin Veg.
Shay Elliot – Irish Road Champion
First Irish rider to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
Elliott had joined the Dublin Wheelers in 1952 and went on to win the Irish National Road Championship for the next two years and many other domestic events. In 1956 Shay was awarded honorary life membership of Dublin Wheelers before he embarked on a professional career on the continent. He won stages in all of the three big tours, France, Italy and Spain. In the 1963 Tour De France he wore the yellow jersey for three days, the first Irish rider to do so.
The Touring Section also went on hostelling and camping trips. Willie Marks, Pascal Brogan and Eddy Kennedy were the main leaders. New destinations in the UK and on the continent were visited. The touring section would regularly have 50 to 60 riders on club runs.
For a number of years the club had a makeshift clubhouse in Ashtown, Dublin – it was an old tram carriage left in a field. This remained the clubhouse for a number of years until the vandals found out about it. The club doesn’t have a clubhouse anymore and with property prices the way they are in Dublin, it is unlikely we’ll have one in the near future.
On into the sixties and seventies, the club produced riders who continued to win top honours on the domestic calendar. Christy Kimmage, Séan and Jimmy Lally, Paddy and Christy Fitzsimons and John Flanegan among others, were regularly topping the result sheets and Mick Manly won a 12 hour time trial National Championship
In 1969 Ian Gallaher and Paddy McInerney promoted a five-day stage race which was later to be called the Tour of Fingal. This five day evening race proved very popular and continued for many years. Following from this start, the club ran the very successful Ladies International 2 Day Race. The first stage of the inaugural Junior Tour saw the yellow jersey go to Gerry Smith who was competing in one of two Dublin Wheelers teams that were entered that year.
National TT championships were been won again by Brendan Madden and the 1980’s saw the emergence of some very successful ladies riders. Susan O’Mara and Helene Kinsella both won Road National Championships and had overall wins in the Ladies 2 Day International Event. Julie O’Hagan added another win in the National Road Race in 2004. All three went on to represent their country at international level.
Rás Victory for Eamon Byrne in 1993
Eamon Byrne, Andrew Donnellan and Brian Keane were, at various times selected to ride for the Irish team in the Rás and Eamon topped the GC to win the Rás in1993. In the veteran category, there has been plenty of competition in the I.V.C.A. events. Over the last number of years Jimmy Lally, Sé Weston and Greg Bourke have all won the highly competitive road race leagues.
The The success continued with Wheelers rider Julie O’Hagan, past National Road Race Champion in 2004 and unbeaten National League Winner; 2004 through 2006 signed a contract with the new UCI pro squad Rapha/Condor in 2007.
Over the 75 year span the clubs members have picked up National Championships at all levels, broken national records, won countless trophies and seen its member’s race abroad for Ireland and for pro teams. Its members have won the Rás, worn yellow in the Tour de France, raced in the Olympics and World Championships.
“With all this history and experience behind the club, the future is very bright and no doubt further success awaits us! We hope to have continued success for the next 75 years”, said Wes Murphy the club secretary.
The club does not have a main sponsor this year so it will be going with its distinct colorful jerseys with the original crest design in place of a sponsor’s logo. If you would like to sponsor the club and racing team contact them through the links below.
Special Anniversary Events in 2008:
The main event is the Gala Dinner on February 1, 2008 in Springfield House in Leixlip, a gala evening of fun and fond memories for all club members past and present.
All cycling fans, clubs, ex members are invited to attend, if you want to book a spot or a table contact John Heery at 0876409192.
John is also putting together a presentation of club and cycling memorabilia from 1933 through to present day, if you have anything you could add to the collection, please contact John.
The evening will include:
A drinks reception
A delicious dinner – come hungry
A band – so you can dance the night away
A bar extension – for those not training on Saturday morning
A collection of DWCC photos and memorabilia
The presentation of trophies
Special gifts on the night
The prize draw for the €4,000 bike (tickets are still available)
Tickets are €50 a head for the Gala Evening
For those staying overnight a special rate of €100 per room has been arranged. Book this yourself and book early. Hotel Ph No: 4581100
Friends and Family are more than welcome to join the celebrations
On Feb 16th, we hope to re-enact the weekend the club was formed by 6 friends on a cycling weekend away to Rostrevor and follow the same route they did in 1933.
On July 20th we plan on having a special road race open to all categories of riders and will be raced in and around Dublin
On March 8th we will have our annual Mick Lally Memorial and DWCC Grand Prix races in Batterstown Co. Meath.
The club is still going strong with 50 plus members out training and racing every weekend come rain or shine. Originally the club would meet outside the Irish Press offices in Dublin and hundreds would go for training spins and weekends away. The meeting place has changed but a lot of the spins are exactly the same.
Further Club Details can be found at