The story of Irish judo began in 1952. It began in a mews building at the back of 12 Infirmary Road, just beside the Phoenix Park in Dublin. A few men, who had done a little judo in England came home, got together and decided to set up a judo club. Easier said than done! In reality all these men wanted to do was to continue to practice the judo that they had started to learn in England. Their first problem was to find premises and this they did. After much searching, they set up the first dojo in an attic at the rear of number 12 Infirmary Road, Dublin.
And so judo began, but not without a struggle, next they needed a mat, bearing in mind, this was a long time before modern tatami were available. Even if tatami had been available, there was no money to purchase them, so they settled for a length of carpet laid down in an attic room measuring 12 feet by 15 feet. In modern terms, this is a smaller space than would be covered by 20 tatami today. When you consider that today the minimum contest area is 8 metres by 8 metres plus a 3 metre safety area, which measures 132 square metres, the attic room was 20 square yards, needless to say, the facilities were woeful, no showers or any heating system.
Judo in the attic was for adults only. Christy Fagan tried to join as a 12 year old. He was told to come back when he was in long trousers. At that time boys wore short trousers until they reached their 14th birthday. At fourteen boys and girls could go to work, so the presumption in some quarters was that at fourteen you could be considered an adult