The Early Years
Birr RFC was first founded in 1887, the local newspaper reports on a rugby match in Chesterfield School (on the Banagher Road) between a Birr XV and a team from Galway Grammer School.
The club grew, disbanded and reformed in its early years, mainly as a result of both world wars.
The club purchased our Moorpark Grounds, comprising of 4.5 acres in the centre of Birr Town in 1963 after reforming and proceeded to win the Midland League in 1963-64 and has been in continuous existence since then.
The 1970’s provided a significant chapter to rugby in Birr. During this era Birr became one of the pioneers of youth rugby in the province. A thriving underage rugby culture has evolved in Birr RFRC under the guidance of a continuous stream of volunteer coaches and mentors over the intervening years and the club purchased a further 7.5 acres of land in 1975 approx 4km south of Birr off the N52 road in Ballyeigan.. Leinster Provincial honors followed at Under 15 level in 1976-77 and at Under 17 level in ‘77-78.
For many years Dooley’s Hotel provided facilities for Birr RFC. In the early ‘70s the County Arms Hotel provided facilities until 1983. and in 1983, after a merger with the Ormond Lawn Tennis Club. A new clubhouse with meeting, changing and entertaining facilities was built, at a cost of over £150,000 with significant local fundraising, bank loans and the assistance of a Department of Education Sports Capital Grant and a Department of Labour Youth Employment Grant. Following the demise of The Ormond Lawn Tennis Club the club reverted to the Birr Rugby Club.
The Club in the Nineties
In 1996/97 Birr 1st.XV team gained promotion from Division 4. Birr 2nd.XV won their section also in Division 4.
In 1997/98, Birr maintained Division 3 status, narrowly failing to gain promotion to Division 2. Having secured a bye in the first round of the Smithwicks Provincial Towns Cup, Birr accounted for New Ross, and Mullingar to be beaten in the semi-final by Naas, the eventual winners of the Cup.
In 1998/99, Birr for the 2nd time in its history reached the semi-finals of the Provincial Town’s Cup. Again, the club was beaten, this time by Naas to a scoreline of 15 - 3. Our youths section embarked on their very first international tour when 39 players and eleven accompaning coaches /adults were hosted by Ellon RFC, near Aberdeen, in Scotland. The travelling party won the locally arranged tournament at both under 10’s and under 12’s.
Losing many of our players to retirement, the 1999/2000 season was very disappointing as the club was demoted to Division 4 of the Leinster League. The disappointment of the season was lifted when the club embarked on a very ambitious and successful tour to Argentina. The youth section hosted Ellon RFC at mini level. Ellon RFC won the specially commissioned CARA Cup and both club twinned at Youth level.
The New Millenium
In 2000, following negotiations with the then Birr Town Council, and including an exchange of freehold and leasehold properties, Birr RFC acquired a long term lease on Council lands at Riverside. This site contains 2 state of the art full-size rugby pitches in the centre of Birr town.
Fortunes again changed as the 2000/2001 season again saw the club gaining promotion by winning Division 4. Due to the Foot & Mouth epidemic in both the UK and here travel restrictions forced the cancellation of many tours including the return tour to Scotland by the mini section.
2010 - 2020's
The 2015-16 season saw the 1st introduction of Women’s Rugby in Birr and we currently field 2 Women’s teams at Under 15 and Under 18 level. We plan for Senior Women’s Rugby soon. We have a very strong community based philosophy and our training, playing and meeting facilities are regularly shared with other, often competing, local and national sports bodies.
A significant number of former Birr underage rugby players have progressed to play at Senior and Schoolboy International, Inter-Provincial and Professional Club Level, Ireland Under 20’s, Under 19’s and various different successful School Cup Teams in recent years. Birr currently fields male teams at Senior (1 Team), Youths (5 Teams), Minis( 4 Teams) and Leprechauns (3 Teams).
Club assets now comprises of a clubhouse with full changing, catering and entertaining facilities, 4 full-size recently upgraded playing pitches, 1 floodlit for training purposes in Ballyeigan and another floodlit training area strategically located in the centre of Birr town.
The club prides itself on its rugby ethos of community involvement, respect for ourselves and all players, referees, coaches, visitors, neighbours and sportspeople of all codes. We particularly lay serious emphasis on and adhere to strict codes of conduct for all involved in our sport.
We are a proud club, we look back on our achievements with pride, and we look forward with a vision as to where we can go. Come, give Birr RFC a try, and be a part of our future together.