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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project


gaa oral history project

The GAA was founded at a meeting that took place in a hotel billiards room in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, on 1 November 1884. That meeting had been organised with the expressed purpose of forming an Association for the ‘preservation and cultivation of our national pastimes’ and to provide a sporting outlet for Irish people ‘during their leisure hours’. Within three years, the new sporting body prepared to stage All-Ireland competitions in football and hurling. Although the number of participating counties was small, Tipperary, unsurprisingly, competed in both. The county would enjoy unrivalled success in the late nineteenth century, winning a remarkable seven All-Ireland titles – five in hurling, two in football – in the years between 1895 and 1900. This spread of titles reflected the sporting strengths of a county where hurling predominated in the northern region and football in the south and west. Tipperary would enjoy arguably its greatest hurling era in the decade from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, contesting eight All-Ireland finals and winning five. The frequency of Al-Ireland honours slowed thereafter, yet Tipperary can still boast of at least one All-Ireland hurling title in every decade since the championship began. The county’s most recent success came in 2010 when they denied neighbours Kilkenny a historic fifth All-Ireland in-a-row.


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Tipperary's hurlers on the way home from America following a trip across the Atlantic in 1931.
©GAA Oral History Project


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A ledger from Maher's pub in Cashel detailing the expenses of Tipperary's 1932 camogie selection.
©Mícheál Maher

Enda McDonnell
John Murphy

Enda McDonnell, b. 1951

Enda talks about the history of ladies' football in Tipperary and how it was played in the county before its official formation in 1974.
©GAA Oral History Project

John A. Murphy, b. 1941

John discusses Tipperary's All-Ireland hurling victory in 2010 and the graciousness of Kilkenny in their defeat.
©GAA Oral History Project

'When Tipperary defeated Galway in the All-Ireland Hurling Final in 1958 – a local man, Tom Larkin, was on the team. To date he remains the only All Ireland Senior Hurling title holder from the club. As a 10 year-old, cycling from the local shop with messages, I met him on his bicycle and he said "Hello James" and I felt about forty foot tall.'
- James Holohan, b. 1948
©GAA Oral History Project

'In 1953 or 1954, my father took me on the crossbar of his bike to Templemore to see a football match in the mid Tipp championship between Castleiney and the other end of our parish, Loughmore. At the time the parish had two GAA clubs. Castleiney colours were green, white and gold, and Loughmore’s were green and red, which are now the colours of the combined clubs.'
- Michael Kiely, b. 1946
©GAA Oral History Project

'One of my earliest memories is of the centenary Munster final in Thurles when a late Cork goal won the game.  Grown men around me cried tears of heartbreak.'
- Colm Purcell, b. 1974
©GAA Oral History Project

Click here to read a sample of a full length questionnaire: John Cleary, b. 1965