Posts Tagged ‘GAA’

An Explorer’s Guide to the Football Programme

3 August 2011

Contributed by David Garreth Toms

Recently, I have begun to collect old football programmes. This is perhaps one of the more unusual hobbies in which one can engage, no doubt the kind likely to attract derision in some quarters. Of course, when I say that I have begun to collect football programmes, I mean I have been willing to pay money for programmes dating from long before I was born. I have been “collecting” – i.e. hoarding – programmes since I was quite young.

As I trawled through research on soccer over the past few months, it occurred to me that there might be programmes from around, or just after, the period in which I was interested. Sure enough, eBay has answered that question affirmatively. Thus far I have acquired six programmes. This is one of the two (the other is pictured above) for which I began this entire quest:

There is an entire world of programme collecting out there, and it doesn’t occur just online. There are fairs, exhibitions, collectors’ magazines and even a history of the football programme. According to an article published a decade ago in The Guardian, the trend for collecting match-day programmes was on the up. Read more

Review: The GAA, a People’s History

17 November 2009

Contributed by Ida Milne

gaa_peoples_history[1]Some of my strongest childhood memories derive from the GAA.  Playing in family groups on the beach in Courtown,  when a radio was switched on and the Dads were collectively lured away to the hypnotic sound of GAA commentator extraordinaire Micheal O’Hehir,  or watching my father and the neighbours hurl on the pitch on our farm as I struggled with a downsized camán, or going to Ferns to welcome the team home from Croke Park with the traditional mountain of burning tyres, the column of black smoke drawing people from miles around to the reception, as Wexford celebrated yet another All-Ireland hurling championship win.  In the 60s the Rackard brothers were legends; when Nicky came into the yard to dose the cattle we hung around, starstruck.

The GAA was and is part of my cultural background. The fact that we went to a different church on a Sunday in no way impinged on that.  But in recent years, I have noticed that historians writing about the involvement of Protestants in the GAA have tended to focus on their otherness, rather than their sharing in the same culture. For me, the GAA was and is part of the ordinariness of life, not the difference.

When The GAA, A People’s History, was published recently, I eagerly anticipated that at last here was a bottom-up history of the association ideally positioned to chronicle  the everyday involvement of members of the Church of Ireland and other non-Catholic denominations or belief systems.

Here follows the book’s entire discussion of Protestant involvement in the organisation as it appears in the chapter ‘Religion’ Read more

Which anniversaries are worth celebrating?

24 July 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

DARTAnd on a lighter, Friday afternoon note, hasn’t it been quite a month for anniversaries? The GAA celebrated 125 years with a good Leinster football final and a dull Munster hurling final (in spite of my predictions to the contrary); the Moon landing’s fortieth bash was on Monday (I know we didn’t mention it, but everyone else did, so you’re hardly short on material); and yesterday the DART reached the grand old quarter-century.

Which, because I’m supposed to be doing something else – i.e. finishing an article – got me wondering: since everything and anything appears to be worth celebrating these days, how do we know which anniversaries are the most important and which ones we should pay attention to? Sixtieth anniversary of Ireland leaving the Commonwealth or fifteenth anniversary of Ray Houghton chipping Italy’s Gianluca Pagliuca from outside the box in the Giants Stadium, New York? Two hundred and fifty years of Guinness or a century of Persil? Who or what decides?

Fear not, for I have come up with a plan™ Read More

GAA 125

9 July 2009

By Kevin O’Sullivan

Louth All-Ireland Champions 1957The GAA is 125 years old this year, in case you hadn’t noticed. (If you genuinely hadn’t, welcome back. The weather’s been pretty good, but the economy’s gone to the dogs, Bertie’s gone, everyone’s waiting for the day they can say ‘back in NAMA’, Kilkenny are perpetual All-Ireland champions and Louth still can’t get past the Leinster quarter-finals.) Though certainly not without its faults, the GAA is one of the successes of modern Ireland: for its vision and application in the construction of Croke Park; in its continued growth and consolidation in parishes and local communities across Ireland.

At the heart of that success is a strong awareness of the organisation’s history. The GAA’s culture and tradition are, though its grassroots followers might balk at the term, very much part of ‘the brand’. But unlike the comfort you’re supposed to get from watching montages of old Guinness, Persil or Hibernian Aviva ads, there is something a little deeper to the admirably wide-ranging analysis coming out of Croke Park. Maybe it’s something in the canal water or just the influence of all those schoolteachers. It’s certainly a far cry from the conference I attended at Croke Park in 2005 which was just the wrong blend of history Read More