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First draft of Irish Record progressions published


The Athletics Ireland Technical Committee are pleased to publish the first draft of the Irish Record progressions from 1860-2016.

The task of developing a table of the Progression of the Irish National Records, from before the birth of organised Athletics in the late 19th
Century up to the present day, inevitably presents a number of difficult problems.

First, of course, is the difficulty that arises from the existence of parallel governing organisations during significant periods of this history
and the practice of their maintaining non coordinated sets of records.

It is recognised that up until almost the last quarter of the 20th century performances achieved outside Ireland were not accorded status as Irish
National Records. Thus, most notoriously perhaps, the winning performances of Bob Tisdall and Ron Delany at the Olympics of 1932 and 1956 were never, in their day,
recognised as Irish Records.

But there were many others, perhaps less prominent, which because they were achieved outside Ireland were never subjected to those levels of appropriate
scrutiny which are customarily accorded to Irish record performances.

A further problem arises from the fact that until sometime in the early-1930s the National  Record was deemed to be the best authenticated
performance made in Ireland whether by a local athlete or by an overseas visitor. Thus an Official List of  Records  published, for example, in 1924 credited
Irish Records to Wyndham Halswelle (SCO., 440y), Hugh Welsh (SCO.,1 Mile), Alvin Kraenzlein (USA, 120yH), and Ralph Rose (USA, Shot Putt).

The particular significance of this in the context of this project is that, therefore, a performance by an Irish athlete superior to an earlier Irish Record but inferior to that achieved by an overseas athlete, was not
considered for ratification and so, not subjected to the higher levels of scrutiny customarily applied when considering whether to award the accolade of "Irish Record" to a particular performance.
The problems were compounded by the absence or loss of archival material on the subject of Records forcing a dependence on contemporary newspaper reports with all the potentials for fallibility that such dependence entails.

For these reasons, amongst others, this compilation is to be best considered, at least as concerns marks made up to the early 1970s, as an honest attempt to define an Evolution based on the principle of the Best
Authentic Performance. One further observation is appropriate to rationalise the presence in these progressions of Performances achieved by Irish athletes who are better remembered for their exploits under a different flag - that of the U.S.A.

The position taken is that where an athlete was active in the sport prior to emigrating it is appropriate to take into consideration performances achieved in the period prior to his becoming a U.S. citizen.

It will thus be noted that these considerations apply to the cases of James Mitchell, John Flanagan, Paddy Ryan and Con Walsh in the Hammer Throw and to Dan Ahearn in the Triple Jump.The hope is that this compilation of the achievements of Irish athletes over the past one-and-a half centuries will be of interest to followers of our sport.

It is presented fully cognisant of its imperfections and in the hope that visitors to the site will be able to identify and draw attention to errors of commission or omission for which is offered, in advance, sincere thanks.

Click HERE for the full list of the National record progression. 

Compiled by Pierce O'Callaghan, Tony O'Donoghue, Cyril Smyth, Killian
Lonergan, John Cronin, Liam Hennessy, AAI Technical Committee

Comments, corrections, amendments emailed to:,,

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