The Royal Dublin Golf Club was instituted at a meeting held in No. 19 Grafton Street in May 1885. The formation of Ireland's second oldest golf club was pioneered by a Scot - John Lumsden, a banker. Originally called Dublin Golf Club, (it received its Royal designation in 1891 - when there were 250 members paying £2 annual subscription - the entrance fee was 8 guineas), it was located near the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park. After a year the Club moved to Sutton and finally in 1889 moved to its present home here on the Bull Island, (the name is derived from Clontarf Cluain Tairbh - Bull's Meadow).|
Captain William Bligh of "Mutiny on the Bounty" fame was, in the early 1800's, one of those invited to solve the long standing problems of providing shipping with a safe, straight and deep approach into Dublin and as a result it was decided to build a sea wall 1.75 miles out from the shore. The timber bridge was built in the Autumn of 1819 and the Great North Wall more popularly known as the Bull Wall itself was completed by 1823. The resulting sand bank, "Bull Island" still continues to grow
The Royal Dublin Golf Club owns the entire Links which covers some 160 acres (64.75 hectares). The Bull Island which is approximately 5km long is a bird sanctuary and a special amenity area with major scientific importance because of its variety of plant and wildlife (particularly 'hares').
During the first World War the course was taken over by the military and used as a rifle and artillery range. After the 'Great' War the Clubhouse was in a very dilapidated condition and the course devastated. With £10,000 compensation, the Clubhouse was re-constructed and the Links re-designed by H.S. Colt, the world famous Golf Course Architect from Sunningdale, in 1920.
On the night of August 2nd 1943 the Clubhouse was totally destroyed by fire. Because of delays in finalising development plans for the entire Island, it was not until ten years later that the new Clubhouse opened (2nd October 1954). Major extensions were carried out in 1962, 1983 and 1993 and a new Professionalís Shop, Administration Wing and Private Dining Room have just been completed.
Royal Dublin has staged numerous Championship events including the Irish Open, Irish Amateur Opens and Irish Close - also the Carrolls Irish Open won by Seve Ballesteros in 1983 and 1985 and by Bernhard Langer in 1984.
Royal Dublin hosted the Toyota Challenge of Champions in 1986 between Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros. In 1992 the Forte P.G.A. Seniors was also held in Royal Dublin with Tommy Horton the winner and "himself" Christy O'Connor runner up.
In 1959, Christy O'Connor was appointed Club Professional and immediately made his name winning nine Irish Open Championships - the 1966 Open played over his own Royal Dublin links was certainly the most exciting. "Himself" standing on the 16th Tee needing birdies on the last three holes to tie with Eric Browne finished Eagle, Birdie, Eagle (the 18th was then a par 5). Christy O'Connor was the first player to win a five figure cheque £25,000 which was first prize in the John Player Classic in 1970. He has represented Ireland on fifteen occasions in the World Cup and made ten consecutive Ryder Cup Teams between 1955 and 1973. Christy continues to be an excellent Ambassador for Royal Dublin and Irish Golf.