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Gaelic Sunday – 50,000 turn out for GAA’s day of protest
Shamrock Hurling Club, Waterford. Photo: National Library of Ireland POOLEWP 2703

Gaelic Sunday – 50,000 turn out for GAA’s day of protest

Dublin, 5 August 1918 - About 1,500 camogie, football and hurling matches were played across Ireland as part of a GAA protest against recent restrictions on the playing of these games without a permit.

Around 54,000 Gaels participated in the games, which were organised by each of the County Boards and, on the instruction of GAA’s Central Council, were scheduled to commence at the same time: 3pm.

In Dublin there were approximately 30 fixtures organised in 22 different venues for which no permit was sought. Games were played at the Phoenix park, as well as at Ringsend, and at various venues along the coast stretching from Baldoyle to Sandymount to Bray.

In Cork, 40 fixtures were organised, though heavy rain meant that many of them were abandoned.

At Duke’s Grove, Armagh, about 1,000 spectators turned out to witness a previously banned match between Emmetts Club and Hopes in the Mid-Armagh League, which ended in a draw. Cashel Brass Band was on hand to accompany the crowd from the city to the ground and back again.

The prohibition
Large crowds attended many of yesterday’s fixture and there are no reports of police interference.

In early July, the government placed restrictions on meetings and public gatherings without a permit. However, last week, in a statement to the House of Commons in Westminster, the Chief Secretary Edward Shortt stated that it had not been intended ‘to interfere with ordinary meetings, games and sports’ and that such interference as had occurred had been unfortunate cases where police had misunderstood instructions.

According to Mr Shortt, the prohibition was intended to apply only to meetings of a political character, however the circular appears in some cases not to have reached the police.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.