Earlier this year, SportsNewsIreland ran a feature on the GAA Oral History Project commissioned by the GAA and carried out by a team based at Boston College-Ireland.. The project, which began its work in 2008, has since travelled across Ireland and overseas recording oral history interviews with the grassroots of the GAA. So what progress has been made and what next?
Hundreds of interviews have been carried out by the project team and a diligent group of volunteers both in Ireland and abroad over the last three years and an extraordinary collection of recordings, documents and photographs has been put together. This unique body of material will ultimately be stored at the GAA Museum in Croke Park where it will be made accessible to the public from early 2013. Some of the material has already been used in the best-selling book, The GAA: A People’s History which was written by the project’s directors, Mike Cronin, Mark Duncan and Paul Rouse and also in the recently published book, The GAA: County by County also written by the project directors.
The vision of the project has been that people from every parish, from every club and from every school would have the opportunity to contribute their stories, either by doing an interview, filling out a questionnaire, writing a letter or donating material. The project also aimed to collect the memories of the members of all the organisations under the umbrella of Gaelic games, including Ladies Football, Camogie, Handball, Rounders and Scόr. The response from across codes has been overwhelming and the material collected will ensure that these stories will now live on. It will also enable current and future family members of participants to hear and see their ancestors, to view their handwriting, to learn about how they lived and the place of the GAA in their lives.
These contributions have amassed into a large and significant digital archive of the story of the first 125 years of the GAA. The archive will greatly enrich future generations’ understanding not only of the GAA but more broadly their understanding of the social, cultural and political history of Ireland in this period.
People and place, sport and identity are at the heart of the latest book (GAA County by County) , telling the story of how the GAA has left a unique imprint on the Irish county as well as many communities overseas. Much praise is due not only to the authors but also so to the extraordinary work of the project team especially that of Arlene Cramsie, Regina Fitzpatrick and on the equally impressive “Irish Sporting Heritage” project by Ballymena’s Dr Roisin Higgins,also a member of the Boston College- Ireland team
For more detailed information on the topics mentioned see:
You can obtain a copy of “The GAA – County by County” from Kennys.ie
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The GAA: County by County
Date of publication: 2011-10-10
Shipped From: IE