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Michael Collins throwing in the sliotar to start a hurling match at Croke Park in 1921.
Michael Collins throwing in the sliotar to start a hurling match at Croke Park in 1921.

History of hurling the focus of 2019 GAA Museum Summer School


The origins and evolution of hurling will be the focus of the 2019 GAA Museum Summer School which takes place this Saturday, June 29, in Croke Park.

The one-day seminar will track the rich and eventful history of our national sport from its ancient origins to its decline and revival in the 19th century right up its modern day mastery by the current exponents of the great game.

In 2018, Hurling was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, thereby achieving international recognition of hurling as a key element of Ireland’s living heritage to be safeguarded for future generations

A panel of distinguished speakers will present talks and offer insights into the origins and mythology of hurling and how sport can provide the foundation for human and community emancipation.

Summer School Programme

  • 10am Official Opening
  • 10:15am Professor Aidan O’Sullivan (UCD), What was Hurling like in Medieval Ireland?
  • 11am Dr. Pat Bracken, Hurling in 19th Century Ireland and Australia.
  • 11:45amBreak
  • 12pm Pat Daly (GAA Director of Games Development & Research), Going WeLL – Wellbeing and Lifelong Learning
  • 1pmLunch (Canal Suite – level 6)
  • 2pm Sinead O’Hara (Dept. Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht), The Journey to UNESCO Inscription on Hurling
  • 2:45pm Professor Pat Dolan (NUIG) – Connecting UNESCO, Sport and Hurling: A foundation for human and community emancipation - From Personal History to International Messages
  • 3:30pm Q&A
  • 4pm Ends

Lining out for the Summer School are Professor Aidan O’Sullivan from UCD who will explore the early origins of hurling, Tipperary historian Dr. Pat Bracken who has conducted extensive research on hurling in the 19th Century, in Ireland and abroad, pre-1884 and the foundation of the GAA. The GAA Director of Games Development and Research, Pat Daly, will present on the concept of WeLL - the cultivation of Wellbeing and Lifelong Learning that underpins the entire games development process.

Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan, President of the Camogie Association Kathleen Woods, Limerick hurler Sean Finn and Cork camogie player Aoife Murray at the announcement of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Status for the game of Hurling and Camogie 
Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan, President of the Camogie Association Kathleen Woods, Limerick hurler Sean Finn and Cork camogie player Aoife Murray at the announcement of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Status for the game of Hurling and Camogie 

In the afternoon, Sinead O’Hara from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will outline the journey to the UNESCO inscription of hurling on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The final address will be from Professor Pat Dolan of NUIG and UNESCO Chair Children, Youth and Civic Engagement.

Admission is €30 and includes access to all lectures, tea and coffee as well as lunch and entry to the GAA Museum.

Tickets can be booked HERE

About our guest speakers

Professor Aidan O’Sulivan, UCD

Professor Aidan O’Sullivan is a lecturer in the UCD School of Archaeology and Director of the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture. His research interests are in early medieval Ireland AD400-1100. As a former Wicklow minor hurler he has a lifelong love of hurling. His lecture will explore what we can know about hurling and stick-and-ball games in ancient Ireland.

Dr. Pat Bracken

Dr. Pat Bracken is a librarian with Tipperary County Council Library Service, based in Clonmel. He is the author of The Growth and Development of Sport in Co. Tipperary, 1840-1880 (Cork University press, 2018). He also wrote _Foreign and Fantastic Field Sports: Cricket in Co. Tipperary _(Thurles, 2004). A past pupil of CBS Thurles, he was awarded his doctorate from De Montfort University, Leicester in 2014. His principal area of study is Victorian sport.

Pat Daly, GAA Director of Games Development & Research

Pat Daly is Director of Games Development & Research within the GAA with responsibility for the promotion and development of Gaelic games at National and International level. He has devised the GAA Games Development strategy – known as the Grassroots to National Programme (GNP). He is author of the Complete Coaching Guide, and the Basic Hurling & Gaelic Football Skills Manuals. He also developed the OTú CD and GAA Fun Do Resource Pack.

Pat is currently a member of a number of GAA Central Committees including the National Games Development Committee; the Hurling Development Committee and the Standing Committee on the Playing Rules. Originally from Tallow, Co. Waterford, Pat is a graduate of St. Patrick’s Teacher Training College. He has represented Waterford at all levels in hurling and is currently a trustee of the Ratoath GAA Club.

The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina greet Stephen Kenneally, Department of Culture, left, and Pat Daly, GAA Director of Games Development and Research, who presented the UNESCO certificate for their recognition of hurling, during a reception for the 2018 All-Ireland Hurling Champions Limerick at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin. 
The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina greet Stephen Kenneally, Department of Culture, left, and Pat Daly, GAA Director of Games Development and Research, who presented the UNESCO certificate for their recognition of hurling, during a reception for the 2018 All-Ireland Hurling Champions Limerick at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin. 

Sinéad O’Hara, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Sinéad O’Hara is an Assistant Principal Officer in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht where she has responsibility for Ireland’s interaction with international cultural policy including at EU level and with international organisations, such as UNESCO. She also represents Ireland on the Creative Industries Working Group of the British Irish Council.

Sinéad’s presentation will explore the journey undertaken by the Department with the GAA and Camogie Association to the inscription of Hurling on the UNESCO Representative List. The presentation will provide an overview of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the nomination process and 18-month journey to inscription on the Representative List, what the recognition of Hurling at international level means for Ireland and for the game, and asks the question what next for Hurling in the context of recognition by UNESCO.

Professor Pat Dolan, NUIG

Professor Pat Dolan is joint founder and Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre and an Academic Director of the M.A. in Family Support Studies. Professor Dolan holds the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland. The UNESCO Chair delivers a comprehensive programme of work towards the objective of promoting civic engagement and leadership skills among children and youth.

Professor Dolan will explore the origins of UNESCO at the end of World War Two to its current function for humanity; from heritage to sport (hurling) to its international capacity as a connector of communities across generations. The aim of the paper is to connect hurling heritage to other sports as national and international source of personal and community emancipation.

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