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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

Birthplace of the founder of the GAA, Michael Cusack, Clare was one of the early converts to Gaelic games. In determining how the games developed, however, geography has played a major role, with football predominating in the west of the county and the hurling in the east. As in many counties, participation in the GAA fell in the latter stages of the nineteenth century as a result of socio-economic hardship and political strife. Clare’s double All-Ireland senior and junior hurling championships in 1914 signalled a revitalisation of the GAA in the county and notwithstanding splits in the local organisation during the Civil War, a strong club and schools structure was developed in the decades following independence.  Nonetheless, it was not until 1992 that Clare could celebrate a Munster football final triumph over Kerry. Success for the hurlers followed soon after when in 1995 they won the county’s first All-Ireland title since 1914, an achievement repeated in 1997.


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Ladies tog out for the Parteen Camogie team in the church grounds in Shannon c.1980s.
©Dόnal Ó Riain


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An invite from Guinness to attend the All-Ireland Hurling Championship Quiz Final in Guinness Storehouse.
©John Maher

Jack Dunleavy
Michael Leahy

Jack Dunleavy, b. 1910

Jack recalls the local parish team known as the Shamrocks, who played on an old cricket pitch.
©GAA Oral History Project


Mick Leahy, b. 1925

Mick describes how when he was younger hurls were hard to find so they used makeshift ones known as 'spocks'.
©GAA Oral History Project

'It did not affect my family life much when I was single, however when I got married my wife had to endure many evenings on her own while matches and training were taking place. I travelled home early from a family holiday in Portugal to play in a county final for my club. My wife stayed in Portugal, to finish the holiday.'
- Gerard McNamara, b. 1952
©GAA Oral History Project

'Short of taking the hurley to bed with me it was virtually in my hand from the time I got up till I went to bed. I was so proud to be representing my family and relations, particularly my father R.I.P who devoted almost all his spare time to supporting the game. As it stands today I believe it to be more 'Big business' unfortunately which has somewhat taken away from the pride in the parish and team and team mates, and I don't see how that element of the organisation can be restored.'
- Seán McInerney, b. 1960
©GAA Oral History Project

'My father told me he made his own football boots as he was a shoemaker and they were the envy of all. He gave one boot to my uncle John Joe for one game and he wore the other, resource sharing in its earlier form.'
- Brian Galvin, 1960
©GAA Oral History Project

Here is a sample of a full length questionnaire: Brian Clancy b. 1980