sport, film, cinema, gaelic games,
Sport cinema has become an increasing subject of academic and public interest, reflected in the growth of scholarship in the area and the popularity of sport films in recent years. This study provides an important intervention into this area, examining the interrelationship of sport, cinema and national culture through a case study of Gaelic games on film. This book examines the representation of Gaelic games in film, both in films made outside Ireland and those films made within the country. Gaelic games have repeatedly provided filmmakers and producers with a resonant motif through which they have represented (perceived) aspects of Irish identity. In international productions in particular, Gaelic games have provided on occasion a short hand for regressive stereotypes associated with Irish people, including their alleged propensity for violence, informed by a ‘tourist gaze’ on Ireland but further nuanced by an evolving Irish-American identity in the mid-twentieth century. For indigenous producers, on the other hand, Gaelic games afforded distinctive Irish cultural practices and as such have been employed to promote and affirm the Irish nation and Irish identity, particularly as an indigenous film culture began to develop in the aftermath of World War II. While each approach to representing Ireland and Irish people differs in accentuating either negative or positive associations, both ultimately rely on perceptions of Gaelic games as providing embodied manifestations of Irishness.
This study provides the first major monograph study of filmic representations of Gaelic games, charting these representations from the earliest years of the twentieth century, from silent films such as Knocknagow (1918) to more recent productions Michael Collins (1996) and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006). Among the areas examined will be newsreel depictions of Gaelic games; Hollywood’s fascination with hurling, which led to a range of productions, including the Oscar-nominated short Three Kisses (Paramount, 1955); the importance of the depictions of Gaelic games to the emergence of a distinctive Irish film culture post WWII; and the role of Gaelic games in contemporary cinema.