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Gaelic Athletic Association - Oral History Project

Theme: Religion

gaa oral history project

Opening of Fitzgerald Stadium

The opening of Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, in
1936 illustrated the close links between the Catholic Church and the GAA. The ground was first blessed
by Dr O'Brien, Bishop of Kerry, then officially opened
by Archbishop Harty, Patron of the GAA.
Courtesy of Fitzgerald Stadium  More Images

For many people over a certain age, the formalities attached to major match days now appear different to those they remember from their youth. While the parade of players, the national anthem, and the musical accompaniment of a band such as that from Artane have not changed, there are two significant omissions nowadays. The first was the singing of the Catholic anthem, 'Faith of our Fathers', and the second was the sight of a bishop throwing in the ball to begin the game... More

Bobby Goff

Bobby Goff, 52, Wexford
Despite the GAA being predominantly composed of Roman Catholic members, members of other faiths have also been involved in the Association. Here Bobby describes the role played by the local Church of Ireland population in club and county life in Wexford.
© GAA Oral History Project

Sean McGettigan

Sean McGettigan, 92, Armagh
Sean details the steps involved in securing the agreement of Fr Flanagan, the founder of 'Boys Town' — a special home for destitute children in the USA — to come and open a GAA Outdoor Week in Belfast in 1946. The outdoor week was being run as a fundraising event by the Corrigan Park Reconstruction Committee.
© GAA Oral History Project

Jim McKeever

Jim McKeever, 78, Derry
Jim, a member of the Derry team that was defeated by Dublin in the 1958 All-Ireland football final, describes the throwing in of the ball by Bishop Farren to start the match.
© GAA Oral History Project

Brian McCarthy, 67, Monaghan
The role of the clergy in Ballybay is recounted by Brian in this clip. He describes players being taken to matches by local priests, and the efforts of one Fermanagh priest to ensure the success of the Ballybay Minors.
© GAA Oral History Project

John O'Donovan

John O'Donovan, 68, Connecticut
A good working relationship with the local clergy can often be useful to GAA clubs. John details the part played by the curate in New Haven, Connecticut, in the construction of the New Haven Gaelic Football and Hurling Club's St. Patrick's Day float.
© GAA Oral History Project

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Kissing the bishop's ring
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Cheque to Rice Memorial Fund
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‘My mother and father interspersed their family with their religion and their team, and that
was all.’
—Micheál Maher, 76, Tipperary
More Quotes (10)