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By Sara Brady, Fintan Walsh (eds.)

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Extra info for Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture

Sample text

This success, however, as 38 Sporting ‘Irish’ Identities GAA historian W. F. 16 By responding to a growing British trend of codifying athletics, GAA founders ended up imitating the British AAA. Eventually, the GAA’s successful dissemination of codified Gaelic rules spread rapidly throughout the country on the parish level and surpassed the popularity of British games. Alternatively, imitation of the ‘ancient’ Irish sports provided the much-needed connection between past and present. Through such simulation, the GAA could produce a sense of continuity, of sameness, of a re-membered cultural artifact that ultimately gains autonomy.

A recent editorial in the Kingdom, a County Kerry newspaper, argued: ‘After all, sport is one of the main vehicles through which foreign nationals can integrate into its host country. ’30 What potential lies on the real-life performance space of the Gaelic pitch where players and spectators perform cultural memory? Do the Gaelic games provide a bridge between ‘Irish’ and ‘Immigrant’ or ‘Other’? What opportunities might exist to both inform and transform culture? A look at the GAA’s 2006 annual report remains disappointing in its assumption that incorporating new Irish into the GAA is a future project: It is also important that we recognise and understand the needs and challenges of our new immigrant population and that our clubs supplement and support the work of Cumann na mBunscol in tackling this.

Whether Hurl resists easy ‘Irish’ nostalgia in the service of a progressive utopian performative, it still insists on imagining a GAA that agrees to accept a team like the Freetown Slashers. A recent editorial in the Kingdom, a County Kerry newspaper, argued: ‘After all, sport is one of the main vehicles through which foreign nationals can integrate into its host country. ’30 What potential lies on the real-life performance space of the Gaelic pitch where players and spectators perform cultural memory?

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