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125 years of the GAA!

Friday, 30 January 2009

The GAA celebrates 125 years in existence and TAS takes viewers on a momentous journey through the history of the GAA with our special guests, sports guru Des Cahill and president of the GAA, Nickey Brennan.

It's well known the GAA has made a massive contribution to Irish society and there'll be many events held in schools, clubs and venues around the country to celebrate this milestone anniversary.

Des Cahill - presenter of Drivetime Sport on RTE Radio 1. 6.30pm to 7.00pm Monday to Friday.
Every evening, Des talks to the sporting headline makers and discusses the day's big sporting stories.

Des reflects the nation's passion for sport, particularly GAA. He will talk to us about the drama, the fun, the fisticuffs. surrounding this great sporting event.

Nickey Brennan - President of the GAA. *see minefield No 1
Nickey is from Kilkenny. He rose to prominence as a hurler during the 1970's and managed the county during the 1990's.

Nickey won All Ireland medals in 1979 and 1982.

A bit about the event.

125 years anniversary of the GAA - 1884-2009

The founding father of the GAA was Michael Cusack. Born in Carron, County Clare in 1847, he died in 1906. His passion for Gaelic games was matched only by his love of the beautiful Burren limestone landscape where he was born and raised.

Cusack was also the model for "The Citizen" in James Joyce's Ulysses.

He was a national teacher before establishing his own lucrative Civil Service academy in Dublin's Gardiner Street for students preparing for entrance exams into the British civil service.

It is said, the GAA was borne out of Cusack's frustration and imagination; it annoyed him that sport in Ireland was run by and for the benefit of the Anglo Irish ruling class.

Cusack was heavily involved in promoting the Irish language - he only spoke Irish until he was 11. He called a meeting of interested parties to the billiard room at Hayes' Commercial Hotel, Thurles, Tipperary on Saturday 1st November, 1884.

First President:
Maurice Davin was the first president of the GAA (1884-1887) - stand named after him at Croke Park.

Croke Park:
The site where Croke park is built was originally known as the 'City of the Surburban Racecourse.' The GAA became one of the grounds most frequent users and in 1908 a man called Frank DIneen purchased the 1`4 acre site for the sum of punts 3,250; the GAA then purchased it from Dineen in 1913 for punts £3,500 and renamed the land Croke Park in honour of the association's first patron, Archbishop Croke of Cashel.

The railway end of Croker Park, also known as Hill 16 was constructed from the rubble left in O'Connell St, (then Sackville St.) after the 1916 rising. The first Hogan stand (named after Tipperary footballer Michael Hogan) was built in 1924; followed by the construction of the Cusack stand (named after one of the original founders of the GAA Michael Cusack) in 1937. The Canal End terrace was built in 1949; then the Nelly stand (named after Pat Nelly) in 1952. Ever since, reconstruction and development has taken place at various sections around the grounds.

What's happening at tomorrow night's opening ceremony at Croke Park?
It's the Allianze National Football League game between Dublin and All Ireland Champions, Tyrone; the festivities commence at 6.30pm with kick off at 7.30pm.

It will prove to be very popular. It will also be a night of celebrations for all the family. There will be music, fireworks, stunning visuals etc., and a look back at iconic moments featuring some GAA highlights.

MC on the night will be Hector Ó H Eochagain and representatives from 1,000 GAA clubs will be there on the night.
There will also be a specially commissioned sound track from U2's Larry Mullen which features Mícheal Ó Muircheartaigh and this will premiere on the night. Sharon Shannon and Mundy - who can forget their summer hit 'Galway Girl' - will also entertain the crowds.

Below is a calendar of those events:
St Patrick's Festival Parade 17th March
As part of St Patrick's Festival, the GAA will be the lead pageant in the festival parade in Dublin. The pageant will represent aspects of the GAA such as volunteerism, sport and community. It will later be showcased at Croke Park during the AIB GAA Club finals.
April 24th is the GAA 125 Schools Day
This is a chance for schools to participate in a fun day where students will be invited to wear GAA colours and take part in a range of GAA activities.

Lá na gClub 10th May
As the club is at the heart of the GAA, this is an extremely important day in the calendar of events. Over 2,000 GAA clubs around the country are invited to celebrate the Anniversary with games and commemorative events in their local communities.
125th Year Anniversary Book Launch November
As part of the GAA Oral History Project a book will be published to include stories which have been collected over the course of the year. This will chart the history of the GAA through the eyes of its members.

Cultural Events
A number of events will take place to celebrate the culture of the GAA. These will include Scór events in Athlone and Killarney, a GAA Museum Calendar of Events and commemorative Central Council and Coiste Bainistí in Thurles and Cusack Cottage in Co. Clare.