1916, Sport, GAA, Rebellion, commemoration, Laochra
This paper examine 1916 Rising commemorative events in sporting contexts and the manner through they remember the Rising and configure contemporary Irish identity, including in particular the Laochra event hosted by the GAA on the centenary of the first day of the Easter Rising, 24 April 2016
It is impossible to fully appreciate the forces that led to the Easter Rising of 1916, the Rising itself and moreover how we remember and commemorate the Rising, without a consideration of sport. Indeed, the Rising began against the backdrop of one of the highlights of the Irish sporting calendar. On Monday 24 April 1916, many of Dublin’s leading citizens were attending the Irish Grand National, when Irish republicans occupied major buildings across the city and Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of the Republic on the steps of the GPO. The early advances of Republicans in taking strategic points in Dublin city were helped considerably, furthermore, by the absence from the city of many British military officers present at the horse race, held at Fairyhouse racecourse in county Meath, some 25 kilometres from the capital. This year’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse marked this occasion (in an event unlikely to have being received well in 1916) when Members of Fingal Old IRA Commemorative Society re-enacted the 1916 Grand National. This was but one of a range of commemorative events held this year in association with major sporting organisations and events, including events organised by national associations for rugby (IRFU), soccer (FAI) and Gaelic games (GAA). This paper will examine these events and the manner through they remember the Rising and configure contemporary Irish identity, including in particular the Laochra event hosted by the GAA on the centenary of the first day of the Easter Rising, 24 April 2016.
“Irish Society, History & Culture: 100 years after 1916” International Conference, Florence, Italy.