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What actually happened at the founding meeting of the GAA?

The aim of the meeting was to take steps for the ‘formation of a gaelic assocation for the preservation and cultivation of our national pastimes and for providing rational amusements for the Irish people during their leisure hours’….. (Maurice) Davin spoke about the motivation for establishing the GAA. He said that they were there because the rules that were now being used to govern Irish athletics were English ones and although those rules were good in their own way they were simply unsuitable to Irish pastimes. Further, Davin said that he and Michael Cusack were determined to provide amusement and recreation for the ordinary people of Ireland who, he said, now seem ‘born into no other inheritance other than an everlasting round of labour…After the work which Cusack and Davin had put into calling the meeting and particularly given the publicity it had generated in the newspapers the small turnout which attended the meeting did not augur well for the future of the association.

Dr Paul Rouse

In a podcast for the History Hub.ie podcast series Dr Paul Rouse (UCD) examines a key moment in the development of modern Ireland which took place in the billiards room of Lizzy Hayes’ Commercial Hotel in Thurles, Co Tipperary on November 1st 1884 – the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Dr Rouse lectures in modern Irish history in the School of History & Archives UCD and is the co-author of The GAA: A People’s History(Collins) and The GAA: County by County (Collins).

Listen to What actually happened at the founding meeting of the GAA?

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Image: Hayes Hotel, Thurles. Source: GAA Archive – bit.ly/10nTq2D