This paper examines historical and contemporary interdependencies in Ireland, north and south. We explore how individual and group identities and traditions on the island were and are understood, felt, expressed and promoted through the medium of modern sport, a powerful transfer mechanism for culture. We examine the interweaving of sportcraft and statecraft, and how group notions of identity contour and shape possibilities for engagement that might, in some conditions, allow for potential mutual understanding and reconciliation. We analyse 'Ireland' and Irish–British relations through the historical and contemporary development of Olympic sports and track and field athletics, in the spirit of a public and policy sociology about a shared Ireland; this can potentially inform decisions about sport-related issues. Without reference to the centrality of sport for identities, considerations of a shared Ireland are more likely both to reaffirm silences, shadows and collective amnesia and to limit future opportunities.
- shared Ireland