Grant redevelops 'Herc' before anniversary

Lindie Naughton

WITH its 75th anniversary coming up next year, the Hercules club in Dublin's Lurgan Street has completely refurbished its premises thanks to the first capital grant of its long history.

The 'Herc', as it is affectionately known to the weightlifting, powerlifting and wrestling community of Ireland, is a sporting institution.

When it first started in 1935 using a rented premises on Ormond Quay, the use of weights had become recognised as an excellent method of building strength and fitness.

"Members were joining from other sports to improve their fitness as the benefits of weight training became known," says club chairman Peter Foley.

Among those who came along was Tommy Hayden, a weightlifter who competed for Ireland at the 1960 Olympics and later helped coach athletes such as Phil Conway, Paul Quirke, Terry McHugh, Pat McGrath and Nick Sweeney -- all of them distinguished Olympians.

Tommy, aged 83, is now the Hercules club president.


In 1985, the club, which is non-profit making and run by members for members, found enough money in the kitty to buy a disused former factory on Lurgan Street. Over the years it has needed a lot of work.

"With this grant we were able to repair the roof, damp proof and sound proof the entire building and add women's dressings rooms on a small second floor extension," explains staunch member Patsy Conboy.

The heavy weights and barbells remain on the ground floor for obvious reasons.

A wrestling area and weights machines share space on the second floor, while on the third, members can use any number of cycling machines and other aerobic training equipment.

There's also an office, stuffed with the many trophies won by successful club members down the years.

Everyone is welcome in the Herc -- from world powerlifting champion Bernard Delaney to local youngsters, both boys and girls.

These are the backbone of the club's junior wrestling section, which is promoted tirelessly by Mick McAuley and a band of dedicated coaches.

Want to join? Drop in any weekday from 10am to 9pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm or Sunday 11m to 2pm.

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