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Gaelic Games, Nationalism and the Irish Diaspora in the United States

Gaelic sports have been played for over a century in America, and provide a revealing window into the lives and culture of the Irish community there. Much has been written about the ways that the successes of their politicians, the efforts of the Catholic Church and the solace, identity and friendships offered by a whole range of their social, political and charitable organisations helped the Irish adapt to life in urban America. Far less has been said though about the role of sport, let alone Gaelic games, in allowing them to make sense of their new surroundings and deal with the rigours of adjusting to and progressing in the New World. "Gaelic Games, Nationalism and the Irish Diaspora in the United States" redresses this neglect by uncovering the origins and development of Gaelic sport and by exploring the political, economic and social impact that the GAA has had on Irish communities in America. New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, cities that were not only focal points of Irish immigration but were also the main centres of GAA activity in the US, are taken as case studies.The book draws on detailed archival research, interviews with leading figures in the GAA in America and contains a selection of rare photographs of clubs, teams and players of significance which help to bring to life a remarkable story of cultural preservation, persistence and passion for Gaelic games.

280 pages | © 2009

History: British and Irish History

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Table of Contents

Introduction ONE - Crossing the bowl of tears - the Irish journey to America TWO - Sowing the seeds - the origins and early development of Gaelic games in America THREE - Patriots and players - the GAA and Irish nationalism in late nineteenth-century America FOUR - Preserving Ireland’s sporting heritage - Gaelic games in the US from the turn of the century to the Great War FIVE - Fluctuating fortunes - the GAA in America from the roaring twenties through the Great Depression SIX - Revival, ’Golden Age’ and decline - Gaelic games in post-war America SEVEN - Lest we forget - Gaelic games and Irish-American nationalism, 1900-68 EIGHT - Striving to survive - The North American County Board in the late twentieth century NINE - Ourselves alone - The New York GAA since 1970 TEN - The GAA, Northern Ireland’s ’Troubles’ and Irish-American identity politics Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index.

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