Sunday’s Well Boating & Tennis Club was founded in 1899, shortly after a successful July “Sunday’s Well Regatta and Water Carnival” had been held on the Lee. It was formed by some of the regatta committee organisers, who were boating and tennis enthusiasts from the locality. The aforementioned committee then leased a plot of ground off the Mardyke Walk alongside the river and that is the ground, which the Club occupies today.
As a club, Sunday’s Well is fortunate in that it can boast of having a comprehensive range of annals dating from its foundation right up to present times. These records give us an eyewitness account of the Club’s activities from its earliest times. For instance, it was uniquely linked with the Cork International Exhibition of 1902/03, principally because it lent its grounds to the Exhibition, and the present clubhouse was built by the Exhibition Committee for visiting dignitaries, which included King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
In 1904, the Club took possession of the clubhouse, and according to records, a firm of architects employed by the Sunday’s Well committee reported inter alia that: “the estimated useful life of the clubhouse was less than 30 years”. It’s interesting to note that in 1984, another firm of architects estimated the life of the same building to be – yes, you’ve guessed it – not less than 30 years.
After that Cork Exhibition, Sunday’s Well had, in addition to its magnificent new clubhouse, 5 excellently laid out and perfectly manicured grass courts. These set in peaceful and beautiful surroundings thus became the pride of the country. Throughout the summer, the courts were constantly used from morning to night, except on band promenade days, which were held regularly during the summer months in front of the clubhouse.
In the 1950’s, courts 4 and 5 were converted to “en tout cas” surface (sand with red stripes – later plastic – as lines). In the 1960’s, the sand was replaced with tarmacadam and further improved some years later. In 1995, the Club incorporated the Cork & County Club, thus insuring a unique place in the business and sporting history of Cork City stretching back 150 years.
The improvements to court surfaces and playing conditions has been ongoing throughout the years since and today, Sunday’s Well has eight “Tiger Turf" all weather, floodlit courts. Squash is catered for with two squash courts. A Bar River Room extension to the Clubhouse was completed in 2001, a Gym, new ladies and gents changing rooms, multi–purpose room and viewing deck were added in 2003. Improvements to the Clubhouse, car park and entrance were completed in 2006.
There is a snooker room and of course, full bar facilities in comfortable surroundings, all of which convey a wonderful tennis atmosphere, especially when one looks at the walls of pictures and name boards on which proudly boast of the Club’s achievements in the game down through the years to the present day.