Shuttlecocks at the Ready


Epworth Badminton Club has a history of welcoming people. A local club, born in Sandymount, it welcomes inexperience, diversity and people of all ages. The only thing is, not many people have heard of it. Until now!

“Based in Sandymount since 1921, we have 32 members and one court hall. The age would be from 16 to 60 – maybe even slightly older,” says David Bowles the Match Secretary for Epworth Badminton club.

Epworth’s practices take place in a renovated part of Christ Church Hall, a vanilla-like building nestled next to Christ Church. Every week, players take up practice, sweating it out in mixed and single sex teams. David started at Epworth at the novice age of 18. He learned quickly and became somewhat of a go-to-guy for club history.

“Epworth was a parish club at the time. Originally you had to be a member of the parish to join, and as the years went on, the age profile of the parish increased. Right now, there are no parishioners at the club. Back in the 80s one guy – who is still a member of the club – was the first Roman Catholic,” says Bowles.

It wasn’t that Epworth didn’t like Catholics, or that they had a problem with them. It’s that they had never been in a position to welcome one.

“I came down from Dundrum, Co. Down, in 1983 and looked for a place to play badminton. I contacted Epworth and they asked me to come down. In my naiveté, I came down to the club and played, I sorta said ‘is that ok?’ and they said ‘oh no, this has to go through the church committee.’ It was only then I thought there was an issue,” says Eoin Flynn, the first Catholic to join.

“It was a bit different to what I was used to. I seemed to open the flood gates with all sorts of religions coming to join,” says Flynn.

Flynn played with David’s father – the late Philip Bowles – who was also club champion. It wasn’t until the 90s that the club and church got a modern revamp, making it a more social club.

Welcoming people from all parts of Dublin, it’s not the biggest club in the world, but it still attracts a strong following and has a team of dedicated players – most of whom come from outside Sandymount.

“There’s a mixture of people who play at Epworth. There’s a lot of Malaysians who would be Muslims. We also had a couple of Catholic nuns play in the club so, obviously things have changed a lot. There are a few younger people who have shown an interest,” says Bowles.

From June to September people can participate in Epworth’s Summer club, which costs a small fee.

Email: for more information.

By Liam Cahill