The History Show

    Sunday, 6pm

    The History Show Sunday 22 November 2015


    The History Show

    Sport and Ireland

    This week we’re focusing on the long history of sport on this island and the role that it has played in Irish life over the centuries. The history of Irish sport is unique but unique only in parts.  Much of its story is shared with societies near and far, and is rooted in a simple love of play.

    The Irish sporting world has of course been shaped by the people who have participated in its games, both on and off the field. And this evening we hear stories ranging as widely as the claim that the Irish invented chess, right up to the highly commercialised media-driven sporting world that is everywhere to be seen today.

    Myles is joined in studio by Paul Rouse of University College Dublin; and Mike Cronin, academic director of Boston College - who has written extensively on Ireland's sporting history.  Joining us from our Galway studio is Professor Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh of NUI Galway.

    Hair Hurling Balls Exhibition - Earliest Artefacts of Our National Game

    In this programme, Liam Geraghty spoke to exhibition curator Clodagh Doyle about the earliest surviving hurling balls - which are a far cry from the leather-covered sliotar. 

    After a year on loan to the GAA Museum, the Hair Hurling Ball Exhibition is now on display in Galway, home of the Minor Hurling Champions.  This exhibition runs in the Galway City Museum until April 2016.

    This National Museum of Ireland exhibition Hair Hurling Balls – Earliest Artefacts of Our National Game features 14 hurling balls made from matted cow hair, with a plaited horsehair covering.

    Hurling was popularly played cross-country, on river-fields, on beaches and in bogs. However, until this research was carried for Hair Hurling Balls, very little was known about the hurling balls used throughout the country.

    The Museum’s oldest-known hurley was on display. All the balls dated to the late seventeenth century or earlier. The earliest was made in the second half of the twelfth century – that’s 800 years old! The exhibition uncovers the story of each one - where they were found, how they were made, their age and how they measure up to the modern ball.

    The exhibition also centres on the scientific research used to untangle the mysteries of these balls. The scientific analysis and research undertaken by the Museum showed us what goes on behind the scenes in Museums. This revealed so much more than the naked eye could see...

    Munster features strongly with finds from Clare, north Kerry, west Limerick and Tipperary (One is in Cork Public Museum and one is in Kerry County Museum). There are also balls from east Sligo and the latest ball into the National Museum of Ireland collection is from north Mayo. All were found through hand-cutting turf in bogs over the past 100 years.

    The popular exhibition, first presented in the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life in Turlough Park, also includes examples of hurleys from our recent past and sliotars from our hurling legends of today.

    See it in the Galway City Museum until April 2016.

    For more information, click here to visit the museum's website.

    Sport and Ireland - A History

    Myles was joined throughout the programme by Paul Rouse, author of the new book Sport and Ireland: A History.

    The book locates the history of sport within Irish political, social, and cultural history, and within the global history of sport. Sport and Ireland demonstrates that there are aspects of Ireland's sporting history that are uniquely Irish and are defined by the peculiarities of life on a small island on the edge of Europe. What is equally apparent, though, is that the Irish sporting world is unique only in part; much of the history of Irish sport is a shared history with that of other societies.

    Drawing on an unparalleled range of sources - government archives, sporting institutions, private collections, and more than sixty local, national, and international newspapers - this volume offers a unique insight into the history of the British Empire in Ireland and examines the impact that political partition has had on the organization of sport there. Paul Rouse assesses the relationship between sport and national identity, how sport influences policy-making in modern states, and the ways in which sport has been colonized by the media and has colonized it in turn. 

    Each chapter of Sport and Ireland contains new research on the place of sport in Irish life: the playing of hurling matches in London in the eighteenth century, the growth of cricket to become the most important sport in early Victorian Ireland, and the enlistment of thousands of members of the Gaelic Athletic Association as soldiers in the British Army during the Great War. Rouse draws out the significance of animals to the Irish sporting tradition, from the role of horse and dogs in racing and hunting, to the cocks, bulls, and bears that were involved in fighting and baiting.

    The GAA & Revolution in Ireland 1913 - 1923

    All three of our panelists this evening; Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Paul Rouse and Mike Cronin; are contributors to the book The GAA & Revolution in Ireland 1913 - 1923, which is also edited by Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh.

    The decade between the labour conflict (the ‘Lockout’) of 1913 and the end of the Civil War in 1923 was one of seismic upheaval. How the GAA – a major sporting and national body – both influenced and was influenced by this upheaval is a rich and multifaceted story.

    Leading writers in the field of modern Irish history and the history of sport explore the impact on ‘ordinary’ life of major events. They examine the effect of the First World War, the 1916 Rising and its aftermath, the emergence of nationalist Sinn Féin and its triumph over the Irish Parliamentary Party, as well as the War of Independence (1919–21) and the bitter Civil War (1922–23). This is an original and engrossing perspective through the lens of a sporting organisation. 


    The History Show - Full Programme Podcast - 22nd November 2015

    In this special episode, we're looking at the long history of sport on this island, and the role that it has played in Irish life over the centuries. Myles Dungan is joined by Paul Rouse, Mike Cronin and Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh.

    About The Show

    Bringing the past to life! Discover how our world was shaped as Myles Dungan and guests explore events ranging from medieval times to the recent past.

    We want to help explain ourselves to ourselves. We will search out fresh angles on familiar topics, seek out the unfamiliar and will not shy away from bizarre or controversial issues. Our ultimate goal is to make The History Show the primary port of call for those with an intense or even a modest interest in the subject. We want to entice the casual and the curious to join us in celebrating the past.

    Our aim is to create informative, reflective, stimulating and above all, entertaining radio.

    Join us on Sundays from 6.05pm for The History Show with Myles Dungan on RTÉ Radio 1.

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