Civil Service Harriers

Welcome to the
Civil Service Harriers
Athletic Club
Finding the runner in all of us
AKA Phoenix Park Runners
Estd. 1867


Club History: Civil Service Harriers Athletic Club

Civil Service Harriers Athletic Club was officially founded in 1867, making it Ireland’s oldest athletic club. Membership of the club was originally confined to civil servants. Membership was opened up to all athletes in later years.

The first recorded meeting of the club took place in 1867 at the Leinster Cricket Club in Rathmines.


The first Civil Service A.C. sports was held in May 1878. This proved to be a hugely popular athletics event and remained a prominent part of the Irish Athletics calendar until the 1960s.


The 1880s proved to be a golden decade for CSH. Blessed with the emergence of several star athletes in their ranks the club embarked upon a period of success that raised its profile in the Irish Athletics scene at the time.

Photos below depicting a foot race and an athlete performing the long jump at College Park. The long jump was performed over grass and not over sand as today.














Among the athletes to compete for CSH during this time were John Purcell, Hugh Hart and Michael Hart.

The below is a photo from the period with Hugh Hart believed to be the athlete lying on the ground.








1890 – 1925

More research needs to be carried out on this period. Similar to many other clubs Civil Service Harriers struggled to keep going in the aftermath of the famine and the mass emigration that followed. The early twentieth century was also a period of struggle for the club due to the First World War, 1916 Easter Rising, War of Independence and The Civil War.

Frank Duffy and Stephen Hutton reformed Civil Service Harriers and Athletic Club, in 1925.


After the Civil War the club was reformed by the late Frank Duffy and Stephen Hutton. More info to follow

Post-war period

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1990s & 2000s

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The club has continued to feature strongly on both the Dublin and National athletic scene over the last number of years. The women’s o35 team won team gold in the AAI National 10k as recently as 2016. There has also been individual success in recent years with Neil O’Rourke winning Dublin Intermediate Cross Country gold in 2015 and even more impressively Anna Sadowska triumphing in the National Masters Cross Country in 2016. Ashley Ryan has continued the club’s strong cross country tradition with victories in both the Dublin Novice and Leinster Novice in 2017.


Famous Athletes:

Bram Stoker

The author of Dracula competed with the club in the 1870s while working as a civil servant in Dublin.

John Purcell

Between 1880 and 1887 Purcell competed for three athletic clubs in the Dublin area, Metropolitan Hurling Club’, ‘Civil Service Harriers Athletic Club’ and latterly ‘Haddington Harriers Athletic Club’. He emigrated to the USA in 1888.

Originally from Barefield, Co, Clare Purcell was considered to be one of the finest all round Irish athletes of the 1880s.

While the hop, step and jump was his premier event he also competed in the hurdles, sprints, and both the long jump and steeplechase among others.

Frank Duffy

Duffy famously coached two Civil Service Harriers athletes to become Olympian, Des McGann in 1972 and Noel Carroll in 1968. The legendary coach also practiced what he preached and he famously ran 60 miles in the Phoenix Park to celebrate his 60th birthday.

John Lawlor

Lawlor competed in the 1960 Olympics in Rome in the Hammer.

Paddy Lowry

Paddy Lowry also competed in Rome over both 100 and 200 metres.

Noel Carroll

Carroll represented Ireland in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico in both the 400 and 800 metres. He also won 14 National Championships over both distances in the 1960s in addition to two European Indoor titles over 800 metres. Carroll was also hugely instrumental in establishing the Dublin Marathon in1980.

Des McGann

McGann represented Ireland at the 1972 Olympics in Munich in the Marathon.

Declan Hegarty

Hegarty represented Ireland in the Hammer 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Kingston Mills

Mills competed in the marathon at the World Championships in 1987 in Rome and has a best time of 2:13.55 for the distance which remains a club record. Mills holds the club record over 10 miles, half marathon and marathon. His father, Frank Mills also competed for Ireland internationally at a cross country event in Baldoyle, Dublin in 1931 and 1932.

Gerry Healy

Healy just missed out on qualification for the marathon 2000 Olympics in Sydney.






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