Second largest bridge club celebrates 40th anniversary

By Aideen O'Flaherty 

THE SECOND largest bridge club in the country celebrated its 40th anniversary on Saturday in the Maldron Hotel in Tallaght, with a game of bridge followed by dinner and entertainment.

St Jude’s Bridge Club, which is based in Templeogue, has over 320 members who all enjoy playing the game which is well-known as a popular way for people to keep their brains active.

St Judes Bridge Club 10

Maureen Kelly, Jack Downing, Anne Howard and Barbara Reynolds, founder members of St Jude's Bridge Club 

Explaining the appeal of the game, club president Frances Heffernan said: “Bridge is a fascinating and addictive card game. It is open to all ages, standards of ability and is cheap to play.

“It is supposed to help keep brains active – we can vouch for that with all the deliberating and possible methods to play our cards that are possible, and having to select and play on the spur of the moment.”

St Jude’s Bridge Club started in early 1979, in order to help to raise funds for the local national schools, Bishop Shanahan and Bishop Galvin, with 13 people turning up for the initial meeting, four of whom are still in the club to this day, namely Jack Downing, Maureen Kelly, Barbara Reynolds and Anne Howard.

The club continued to grow throughout the 80s and 90s, and players were never deterred from participating – whatever the conditions were.

Ms Heffernan told The Echo: “Tuesday night was club night and neither rain, hail, snow or power cuts deterred us.

“Power cuts were very prevalent in the 80s and 90s and we had candles at the ready as soon as the power went off. 

“Heat was provided by superser heaters. On occasion we kept our coats on all night and in time we purchased our own heaters.”

The club has had a number of different homes in the past 40 years, including local schools Bishop Shanahan, Bishop Galvin and St MacDara’s Community College.

In 1999 the club moved into the newly developed Templeogue Castle Community Bridge Club, and it has remained there ever since and has seen its membership swell to the extent that it is now the second largest bridge club in the country.

St Jude’s Bridge Club’s club night is held in the Templeogue Castle Community Bridge Club every Wednesday at 7pm.                    

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