What follows is a brief historical examination of some of the processes by which Gaelic games became the cultural heartbeat of the nation. I then consider the uniqueness of Gaelic games set against the broad outline of patterns of participationin sport across the world more generally. Here, the focus is on the distinctive commitment to an amateur ethos as reflected in the importance of community, or what Tovey and Share have termed the ‘urge to community’. In this context, I argue that the GAA is the dominant marker of Irish cultural identity and difference,not only because of the objective reality of it as an institution and how it permeates families and communities, but also because of the images and identitiesit conjures up, and the thoughts, emotions and actions it inspires.
|Title of host publication||Are the Irish Different?|
|Place of Publication||Manchester|
|Publisher||Manchester University Press|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Nov 2014|