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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

Louth’s winning of the 1957 All-Ireland football championship brought to an end a glorious half century of Gaelic games in the so-called ‘wee county’. 1957 had built on an established tradition. In the early decades of the twentieth century, the county repeatedly contested for provincial and national football honours, winning two All-Irelands in three years between 1910 and 1912. These finals had signalled the resurgence of the GAA in a county which, in keeping with the national trend, suffered serious decline in the early 1890s. Prior to that, the Dundalk Young Irelands, a club founded by the Young Ireland Society in 1885, contested the very first All-Ireland football final in 1887. Dundalk was a hotbed of early GAA activity in the county and, indeed, an urban-rural divide would remains a feature of the make-up of Louth’s All-Ireland winning teams of 1910 and 1912 – teams that were dominated by players from clubs in the urban centres of Dundalk and Drogheda. Although success at senior level has been absent since 1957, the GAA has continued to develop in the county. An increased investment in facilities, the introduction of ladies football and the establishment of a centre of excellence for county teams have all served to further embed the GAA into the community life of the county.


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The Sam Maguire Cup visits a local primary school in Louth following the county's 1957 All-Ireland football win.
©GAA Oral History Project



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A letter from 1961 regarding the purchase of a ground by Dreadnots GAA through the Land Commission.
©GAA Oral History Project

Niamh Reid
Tommy Carroll

Niamh Reid, b. 1990

Niamh talks about the need for increased publicity for Ladies' football and camogie and how the games would benefit if more people knew about them.
©GAA Oral History Project

Tommy Carroll, b. 1928

Tommy discusses the history of Dundalk Young Irelands and talks about the link between politics and the GAA in the past.
©GAA Oral History Project

'When that goal went in against Meath...I think that was the biggest disappointment. And the disappointment that expanded when I realised that within the GAA we had no format to handle that...I was disappointed that over all the years we've had there was no structure whereby the authorities could have stood up and said there: 'That's wrong. We're gonna have a replay'. Natural justice should have demanded that.'
- Padraic O'Connor, b. 1954
©GAA Oral History Project

'From a young age I realised that the GAA was a way of life, it was how my life was going to be… Every Sunday involved going to matches, going to training, watching the Louth County team train two, three times a week, going to club matches, helping out with the administration with my father at home in the house where his office was based... It's just all I've ever known.'
- Donal Kearney, b. 1976
©GAA Oral History Project

'We used to practice over in a field called the Castle Meadow, a mile or two away, and sure you'd be working here on the farm and sure you couldn't wait for night to come till you could get away...You'd hear the thud of the ball and you'd have to get away to that.'
- Willie Treacy, b. 1929
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: Michael Mooney, b. 1946