2018 Irish National Pickleball Championships

The luck of the Irish was in full swing at the National Pickleball Championships of Ireland which were held at Multyfarnham in County Westmeath. While pickleball in the country is still in its infancy, its popularity is mirroring what is happening in the United States – it’s growing rapidly.

Affectionately called Mr Pickleball of Ireland, Michael McDaid is a serious pickleball enthusiast who handled tournament operations. Two years ago, he was a tennis coach frustrated by the constant rainy weather limiting outdoor play. A friend of his who visits Florida regularly suggested he try pickleball – accommodating to both indoor and outdoor venues. Michael tried it and like so many others realize, was immediately hooked—he got pickleball fever. After countless hours researching his new sport through Google and You Tube, and having acquired the equipment necessary to start a club, he opened up his first facility in Donegal. Michael then connected with retirement groups, secondary schools and trade shows and provided pickleball demonstrations. From there, the sport took off in Ireland. There are now five clubs playing regularly — Lisburn, Donegal, Ardrahan, Multyfarnham and Portmarnock, along with numerous small venues.

The 2018 Irish National Championships was the culmination of Michael’s determination and the wonderful team of volunteers headed up by Marian Moody, the general coordinator of the active retirement community in Multyfarnham. Not only was a high level of pickleball played, but everyone enjoyed a group dinner at Weir’s Restaurant and Pub in Multyfarnham. There, attendees were treated to the music of Sean Coffey, who happens to be an up and coming pickleball star and was playing in his first ever tournament.

If you are interested in vacationing and playing pickleball in Ireland, Multyfarnham is in the central part of the country, and not a long drive from Dublin, Galway, Mayo, Donegal, Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry. The 2019 tournament is scheduled for April 26-28. For more information about pickleball in Ireland, contact Michael McDaid at mhmcdaid@eircom.net.

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