Why Donegal Slept: The Development of Gaelic Games in Donegal, 1884-1934




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


The development of sport in Donegal, a peripheral Irish county which was rather isolated from the more centralised areas of the British sporting 'revolution', has attracted only limited academic attention.This thesis will examine the origins and development of the GAA in Donegal between 1884 and 1934. The state of Donegal society in the late nineteeth century will be assessed and the factors which benefited, and hindered, the growth of codified sports there will be discussed. The reasons why the GAA failed to become established until the 1920s will be investigated and a comparison with provincial and national trends will be offered. The growth of clubs will be chartered through an assessment of the areas in which Gaelic games were played. The rivalry between organisers of Gaelic football and soccer will be addressed and the impact of the press on this will also be explored. The reasons for the failure of hurling within the county will also be outlined. How the GAA became integrated into Donegal society will be examined through an investigation of the role of the players, administrators and patrons in the Association and the Donegal GAA's involvement in Ireland's fight for independence will be discussed. This thesis will make a valuable contribution to the historiography of the British sporting 'revolution' while adding to the increasing range of academic writing on the development of sport in regional Irish areas.



Gaelic Athletic Association, Association football, Donegal



Research Institute