A Politically Inconvenient Aspect of History: The Unpublished Official History Of The Gaelic Athletic Association Of 1934.

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Abstract

Modern Ireland’s founding political theorists often cited Ireland’s national antiquity to underscore the credibility of its claim to nationhood, one manifestation of which is the much vaunted unique and ancient character of its games; thereby embedding Gaelic games in the nation’s political and cultural iconography. Consequently the organisation which organises and promotes the interests of Gaelic games, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), established in 1884, has been a deeply political organisation, steeped in republicanism and Catholicism, with a keen sense of its role in building the nation and a determination to maintain its centrality to the nation’s identity. Accordingly, the GAA decided to celebrate its cultural significance in its jubilee year of 1934, with an ‘official history’, a project for which they selected James Upton as the author. However, Upton’s work was never published and was thought to be lost until 2015. An examination of Upton’s manuscript and surviving archival sources has established that the GAA believed that Upton’s history contained observations that could be deleterious to its wider political ambition, leading to a determination to remove the offending section. However, Upton’s equal determination not to amend his work led to an impasse that caused its publication to be abandoned.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-468
JournalSport in History
Volume37
Issue number4
Early online date17 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Mar 2017

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