Anne Tunney – An Appreciation

Made huge contribution to Irish golf

Anne Tunney, née Bacon, who died on January 10th, was the living demonstration of the power of positivity regardless of what trails, tribulation and challenges life threw at her during her 95 years on this earth. She was a thoroughly modern woman who embraced everything new – new people, new ways, new thinking, which coupled with her legendary multitasking skills made her a force to be reckoned with.

A fine sportswoman, she played golf off a three handicap and it was among the wide membership of the Irish Ladies Golf Union (ILGU), the oldest in the world, that she made her national mark – being its president in the centenary year of 1993-1994, having served earlier in many roles in her home club of Milltown Golf Club and the ILGU.

Anne was born on October 22nd, 1922, to Josie Dowley, who came from a prosperous Carrick on Suir merchant family, and Thomas Bacon, a Co Carlow-born but Dublin-based barrister. She grew up in Ballsbridge in Dublin, one of four children, and attended school at Sacred Heart Convent, Leeson Street. She wanted to do accountancy, but in an era when "father knew best" she was sent to Sion Hill to train as a teacher.

She married Dick Tunney, who served as an army captain in Burma in the second World War. Anne's father's wedding present to her was life membership of Milltown Gold Club, which she certainly made full use of. Dick was also a fine sportsman, representing Ireland in both tennis and squash in late 1940s. He worked in the family stockbroking business unless a serious accident ended his working life, prematurely. She cared for Dick at home while rearing her children until he died on Christmas Eve, 1978. She never complained about her lot or loss but got on with her many roles.


She was a council member of the ILGU from 1971 to 1975, when she took up the position of honorary treasurer, where at last she got the opportunity to test her accounting skills over a 20-year period, before being appointed president in 1993. She guided the ILGU thought its centenary celebrations with unerring diplomacy and composure. She was highly respected, frequently consulted on many topics and for years a significant voice in Irish golf. A highlight was the first Irish hosting of the European Women’s Championship at the Hermitage in 1979, in which she was deeply involved, particularly on the financial side.

She was a skilled baker and golf teams up and down the country and sundry others relished her signature shortbread Madeira cake.

Anne was lady captain of Milltown golf club in 1965 and was on the Senior Cup-winning team. She was one of only 13 people ever to have been elected to honorary membership of Milltown Golf Club in its 110-year history, such was the esteem in which she was held by the entire club – men and women.

She raised four children – Michael and Stephen, Rosemary and Hilary and stayed very close to her siblings – Tommy, the late Lany and Mary (Murphy).

She lived in St Anne’s in Donnybrook until recent months and right up to the end was forward looking, interesting and interested in all aspects of tomorrow’s world, particularly the progress of Irish golfers and golfing.