I will be traveling to Ireland in a few weeks, to County Clare. Since I had such a blast playing bridge in London, in New York and in Bangalore, I thought I'd see if I could continue the streak ... were there any bridge clubs near Shannon?
Oodles, it turns out. (17 actually). There's even, conveniently, a page that lists them.
However, they don't seem to care for visitors except during the summer months. "Members only," the clubs state quite baldly, although some add that "new members will be accommodated". What on earth does that mean? I have to play an annual membership fee to play one game? And some clubs claim to welcome "summer visitors". Why are people visiting on business in autumn considered minced meat?
I wish I could email and ask, but not one of the 17 clubs has an email address listed.
Pretty exclusive, these Irish bridge clubs!
p.s. I do not mean to be too hard on the Irish bridge clubs. They probably have more players than they can handle. Still, coming from America, where most clubs are open and prominently advertise the director's contact information, it is striking how closed the Irish bridge scene is. But then, in America, bridge is in pretty poor health whereas they have 17 bridge clubs in one small Irish county. So, maybe the air of exclusivity works.
p.p.s.: At least, in Ireland, they list their games on a public website. I've been to Delhi three times in three years and have yet to find a game.