Civil Service Cricket Club was first conceived in the
Spring of 1863. One George Howard, or to give him his full title, His
Excellency Mr George William Frederick Howard, Earl of Carlisle, K.G.,
P.C., Lord Lieutenant-General and General Governor of Ireland, donated
to the Club the ground which it occupies to this day, and as such he must
be regarded as one of the prime movers in the founding and establishment
of the Civil Service Club.
The Earl of Carlisle, ensconsed as he was in the Vice
Regal Lodge, (now of course Aras an Uachtarain), must have been thrilled
to get a break from interminable Court Banquets (the Misses Belmont in
particular seemingly never missed a function in Dublin Castle), tedious
inspections of military installations, and above all the endless attempts
at placating the wild Irish. Howard was clearly something out of the ordinary
for a man of his rank, being notable for introducing the first Womens'
Suffrage Bill in 1851.
The Earl's donation of the ground was a generous
act, though in fairness he could well afford the gesture - he already had
his own cricket ground in the Vice-Regal Lodge. It was there, suitably
enough, that Civil Service Cricket Club fulfilled its first ever fixture,
turning out a team of twenty two against an eleven of the Vice-Regal's,
as Howard's team was called, on Saturday 25th April 1863.
Under the grandiose heading "Sporting Intelligence"
the Dublin Evening Post of Tuesday 28th April 1863 noted that "the
first match of the season on the Vice-Regal grounds was played .... between
eleven of the Vice-Regal and twenty two of the Civil Service Cricket Club.
The Civil Service is but recently formed but it includes some very good
members, and the Lord Lieutenant, in order to encourage games of this
kind, graciously gave his permission that the match be played on the Vice-Regal
ground. In the evening a vast number of carriages passed the ground containing
the rank and beauty of the metropolis. His Excellency Himself, in order
to acknowledge the interest which he feels in athletic games of this kind,
kept the score."
The Vice Regal XI. Courtesy National Library
crica 1880 on the front lawn of the Vice Regal Lodge (now Aras an Uachtarain)
The scores were - Vice-Regal's 104, CSCC XXII
59 and 44. Civil Service were always a little rusty at the start of a
new season, but given that the Lord Lieutenant was responsible for The
Army and the Public Service perhaps the Civil Service Twenty two, in not
wishing to trouble the scorer, did not quite play to their abilities.
Arthur Samuels, in his 'Early Cricket in Ireland'
published in 1888, had reported that in 1855, during a match at Phoenix,
"we observed an officer riding in great haste to the Pavilion where
his Excellency, Earl Carlisle, was sitting, as usual, keeping the score."
The Earl brought the message he received straight out to the middle and
"taking off his hat, asked us to give three cheers, as he held in
his hand the announcement of the fall of Sebastopol I never witnessed
such excitement before...."
Cricket in general at this time, and Leinster cricket
in particular, was very much in its infancy. Sport in those days revolved
around the racecourses and the regattas, and the serious cricket fixture
was the annual Gentlemen of Ireland Vs I.Zingari match. I Zingari were
and are a famous and well established English side, and this match was
usually played at the Vice-Regal's, sometimes commanding crowds