On Saturday November 1, 1884, at 3:00 p.m., a meeting was held in Hayes’s Commercial Hotel, Thurles, County Tipperary. Present were at least seven men, and by the close of the meeting the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) for the Preservation and Cultivation of National Pastimes had been formed. The seven founding members of the GAA (in Irish Cumann Luthcleas Gael) were Michael Cusack, Maurice Davin, John Wyse Power, John McKay, J. K. Bracken, Thomas St. George McCarthy, and Joseph O’Ryan. While other reports of this historic event place additional figures at the meeting, mostly from the host town, these claims have never been fully corroborated. While Davin presided at the gathering, there was no mistaking the driving force behind the initiative—Michael Cusack. Cusack was a prolific writer, and he used the considerable access he had to the newspapers of the day, including the United Ireland and United Irishman, to promote the fledging organization by appealing to the Irish people’s sense of nationalism. Ireland remained under British rule at this time, and Cusack was concerned with the degree of resignation that appeared to exist among the indigenous population regarding their Irish identity. Cusack was a remarkably determined man and possessed a sense of belligerence in his dealings with those who he believed did not share his vision for this new organization. That said, the original meeting drew only a very modest attendance, and there was every chance that the GAA would have been stillborn had it not been for the skillful leadership of those present and their capacity to convince central figures from other walks of Irish life, including prominent members of the Catholic clergy, to support their activities. Buoyed by an initial and evolving sense of purpose, Cusack convened a second meeting for December 27, 1884, in the Victoria Hotel, Cork, which drew a much larger attendance; among them were leading home-rule figures who identified the potential of the GAA to act as a cultural adjunct to their aspiration of ending British rule in Ireland.
|Title of host publication||Sports around the World: History, Culture and Practice|
|Place of Publication||USA|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2012|
- Irish Sport