The GAA and revolutionary Irish politics in late nineteenth- and earlytwentieth-century Ireland

David Hassan, Andrew McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The argument outlined in this article builds on the recent detailed historiography of therole of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) around the turn of the twentieth centuryin Ireland. In the minds of some persuasive authors, the organization exercised animportant supportive role in the expression of physical force Irish Republicanism andwas therefore a not insignificant player in the activities of bodies expressly committedto this course of action. Yet others, such as the scholar William Murphy, have claimedthis interpretation of the GAA’s role is wholly overstated and instead it containedwithin its ranks members who, entirely coincidentally, were also involved in a rangeof similar entities at that time and were therefore committed to the cause of Irishsovereignty in a relatively benign form. In other words, the GAA offered a usefulsetting in which prominent Irish nationalists could hone their organizational skillsrather than operating as a body that, in any coherent fashion, constituted an active agentin the promotion of an aggressive form of Irish nationalism during this period.By profiling the lived experiences of a select number of prominent GAA personalities,it is possible to illustrate this important distinction and establish the precise role of theassociation in those seminal decades either side of the turn of the twentieth century.
LanguageEnglish
JournalSport in Society: Cultures, Commerce,Media, Politics
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2015

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Ireland
Revolution
Athletics
Causes
Entity
Players
Historiography
Nationalists
Physical
Profiling
Republicanism
Irish Nationalism
Lived Experience

Keywords

  • Sport
  • GAA
  • Irish Politics

Cite this

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AB - The argument outlined in this article builds on the recent detailed historiography of therole of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) around the turn of the twentieth centuryin Ireland. In the minds of some persuasive authors, the organization exercised animportant supportive role in the expression of physical force Irish Republicanism andwas therefore a not insignificant player in the activities of bodies expressly committedto this course of action. Yet others, such as the scholar William Murphy, have claimedthis interpretation of the GAA’s role is wholly overstated and instead it containedwithin its ranks members who, entirely coincidentally, were also involved in a rangeof similar entities at that time and were therefore committed to the cause of Irishsovereignty in a relatively benign form. In other words, the GAA offered a usefulsetting in which prominent Irish nationalists could hone their organizational skillsrather than operating as a body that, in any coherent fashion, constituted an active agentin the promotion of an aggressive form of Irish nationalism during this period.By profiling the lived experiences of a select number of prominent GAA personalities,it is possible to illustrate this important distinction and establish the precise role of theassociation in those seminal decades either side of the turn of the twentieth century.

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