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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

Although not the birthplace of the GAA, Dublin was the county in which the organisation was conceived and it is where it began to develop into the Association we know it to be today. Prior to the formation of the GAA in Thurles in 1884, Michael Cusack established two hurling clubs in the capital, the Metropolitans Club and Cusack’s Academy. It is from the Metropolitans Club that the idea for the Association emerged and it would be in Dublin – at Croke Park on Jones’s Road – that the Association would later establish its headquarters. Croke Park came to figure in the Irish public consciousness as more than a mere sporting arena as, owing to the events of Bloody Sunday in 1920, it became bound up with the memory of the nationalist struggle for Irish independence. Croke Park would also, of course, become a place of pilgrimage for GAA supporters attending major games in the capital. Indeed, a key feature of the development of the GAA in Dublin has been the contribution of those people from the country who settled in the city. Migration from rural Ireland helped swell the population of Dublin and as the county expanded to accommodate this influx, so too did the GAA. In all, Dublin has lifted the All-Ireland in football on twenty three occasions, most recently in 2011. While football remains the most popular Gaelic code, a significant investment of money and effort in recent years has seen a marked improvement in the quality of hurling in the capital – an improvement that manifested itself in the recent successes of Dublin underage teams and the county’s triumph in the senior National Hurling League in 2011.


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Dublin take on Tipperary in the All-Ireland Camogie final in Croke Park in 1965.
©Cumann Camógaíochta na nGael


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A programme for a sports day organised by Round Towers G.A.C. in Clondalkin in 1926.
©GAA Oral History Project

Anne Marie Smith
Andy Kettle

Anne Maire Smith, b. 1977

Anne Marie recalls her Cavan-born father's reaction to her decision to support Dublin and describes what the GAA means to her.
©GAA Oral History Project

Andy Kettle, b. 1946

Andy talks about the regular family trips to Croke Park during the championship and getting to see all the great players firsthand.
©GAA Oral History Project

'I remember looking forward to going to matches; I would be full of excitement when I was younger awaiting a game. I felt it was my role or duty if you will to show my support for my county. I was representing Dublin, all kitted out in blue. I remember my mother would pack sandwiches for the trip to the game when I was a young boy. My father would have me on his shoulders during the match cheering away waving whatever merchandise we had bought of sellers outside. It was always a big deal and a day out at the match. As i grew older I still loved the anticipation, the adrenaline rush of watching the game.'
- Thomas Doyle, b. 1951
©GAA Oral History Project

'I remember originally supporting Kerry (where my dad is from) but after attending a National League Final in the late 1980s when Dublin beat Kerry, I decided to ditch Kerry in favour of my home team Dublin. How wrong I was - years of heart break and anguish later!
- Marcus Ó Buachalla, b. 1981
©GAA Oral History Project

'The GAA makes me very proud to be Irish, it makes me feel that this country is unique in the world today because we have something special. It's the soul of the people... it's the very essence of the fibres that make us all Irish... it's in our genes, it's going back to Cúchulainn and the hurley stick, we're going back 2000 years... it's all there.'
- Padraig O'Toole, b. 1950
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnarie: David McKittrick, b. 1967