The Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association today is an organisation which reaches into every corner of the land and has its roots in every Irish parish. Throughout the Country, legions of voluntary workers willingly make sacrifices to promote its ideals and carry its daily burdens. Why does the Association receive this unselfish support? Those who play its games, those who organise its activities and those who control its destinies see in the G.A.A. a means of consolidating our Irish identity. The games to them are more than games - they have a national significance - and the promotion of native pastimes becomes a part of the full national ideal, which envisages the speaking of our own language, music and dances.
The primary purpose of the G.A.A. is the organisation of native pastimes and the promotion of athletic fitness as a means to create a disciplined, self- reliant, national minded manhood. The overall result is the expression of a people’s preference for native ways as opposed to imported ones. Since she has not control over all the national territory, Ireland’s claim to nationhood is impaired. It would be still more impaired if she were to lose her language, if she failed to provide a decent livelihood for her people at home, or if she were to forsake her own games and customs in favour of the games and customs of another nation. If pride in the attributes of nationhood dies, something good and distinctive in our race dies with it. Each national quality that is lost makes us so much poorer as a Nation.
Today, the native games take on a new significance when it is realised that they have been a part, and still are a part, of the Nation’s desire to live her own life, to govern her own affairs.