Dublin University Rifle Club

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Dublin University Rifle Club
Founded1840; 180 years ago (1840)
Reconstituted1962; 58 years ago (1962)
LocationDublin, Ireland, Republic of Ireland
PresidentRay Reilly
Coaching StaffDennis Hardman, Siobhan Scarlett
Club CaptainJoseph McDonnell
Vice-President(s)Larry T. D.
Club Colours  
AffiliationTarget Shooting Ireland (TSI); Dublin University Central Athletic Club (D.U.C.A.C)
Chief Range OfficerOisín Culhane

Dublin University Rifle Club (DURC) is the rifle club of the University of Dublin, Trinity College, located in Dublin, Ireland. The club competes in a number of Olympic shooting disciplines including air rifle and small bore[1]. It is the University's[clarification needed] third oldest sports club,[citation needed] and its members include students, alumni and staff from Trinity College.

Early history[edit]

While there are records of competitive shooting in Trinity College (beyond that of duelling) going back as far as 1840, the club in its present session was founded in January 1962 by P.G.L. Coulson (who went on to become its first Captain), M.C.C. Heaton (first Secretary) and C.R. Oakley (first Treasurer). In its first year the club had over 50 members yet no range and virtually no equipment. The first record of anyone shooting was as part of a team sent to Bisley in July 1962 competing in fullbore events. [2] The first Chief Range Officer (C.R.O.) was appointed in 1964, the post was held by M.C.C. Heaton, and with that the first Range was established and approved by the College Board for the Lincoln gate end of College in May 1964 and by October of that year the C.R.O. reported it operational. The initial annual membership fee was £5 p.a. and affiliation to Dublin University Central Athletics Committee was completed by November 1964 but at this point the club still sought Garda approval for the range. This was to be granted in January 1965 and so two years after the foundation the first shot was fired on Trinity soil. [3]

At the 1965 A.G.M. M.C.C. Heaton a founder member of the club and its first Pink[4], was made a Vice President of the club in honour of his services and achievements. By the end of 1966 the club had a membership of over one hundred people and a ladder system of the challenge type was introduced. By May 1967 a system akin to the present ladder was introduced with constantly revised averages being posted. The first recorded lady on committee was a Miss J Johnston who was elected at the 1969 A.G.M.[5] and in October 1970 Captain John Martin became a Vice President and the move to the new Park Lane range was completed. In January 1972 D.U.R.C. lost its main colours opponents as Queen's University Belfast were no longer permitted to shoot during the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, henceforth the club would have to look further a-field for Intervarsity matches.[2]

Present status[edit]

In recent years, membership of DURC typically reaches 500+ members in any given academic year, with the club becoming one of the largest clubs in the university. The club currently operates a range in the former biochemistry building, with a state of the art 10-lane range originally due to be completed in 2019 as part of the Printing House Hall development in Trinity College, but delayed to 2020 because of college closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notable members[edit]

Since the formation of the modern club a number of members have "contributed significantly to the mission of the club" and been honoured by DURC for said.[2] Some of these members are listed below:

  • M.C.C. Heaton (1965) was awarded the first Rifle Pink and is to this day, the holder of the Club Fullbore Record. He was also the first recipient of Club Colours and the first student Vice President of the Club. M.C.C. Heaton was the first Treasurer and Chief Range Officer of Dublin University Rifle Club.
  • Peter Gillespie (1978), the second recorded recipient of Rifle Pinks and was the first recorded member to be elected in to the Knights of the Campanile, the ‘secret’ society for the elite Sportsmen of Trinity College. Peter served as both Treasurer and Secretary.
  • Brian Nelson (1980) was a secretary of the club and was one of the main driving influences behind the introduction and success of Sporter Rifle. Brian’s restraining influence was also noted when he helped sort out difficulties within the committee which prevented the disintegration of the club. Brian served as Chief Range Officer and Match Secretary. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack in 1982.
  • Susan FitzSimon (1981) was mentioned as the most successful D.U.R.C. athlete to date in the British Top XX class (the International Class), where she put in a 589 and was ranked fifth.
  • Anthony Traill (1858) 33rd Provost of Trinity College Dublin. Honorary Treasurer of Dublin University Rifle Club
  • John Pentland Mahaffy (1869) 34th Provost of Trinity College Dublin. Honorary Treasurer of Dublin University Rifle Club. Described by Oscar Wilde as his "First and greatest teacher".


  1. ^ "Dublin University Rifle Club". www.durifleclub.com. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  2. ^ a b c A History of Dublin University Rifle Club. By Albert Jordan Johnston, edited by Iain G Nash 2006
  3. ^ IE/TCD/MUN/CLUB/DUCAC/50, Rifle Club Records, Trinity College Dublin Manuscripts Archives
  4. ^ Trinity College Dublin, D.U.C.A.C. Offices, Captains Committee Minute Books, passim.
  5. ^ Trinity College Dublin, D.U.C.A.C. Offices, Rifle Club Records, passim.

External links[edit]