Over the weekend of August 4/5 this year the GAA will mark the centenary of Gaelic Sunday.
August 4th 1918 was one of the most remarkable and significant days in the history of the GAA. It will be forever remembered as Gaelic Sunday- the day when the GAA peacefully stood against the British Empire – and won!
In 1918, the authorities in Ireland tried to impose conscription to supplement the war effort but there was massive opposition to this. There was great frustration on behalf of the British authorities at this and they blamed the GAA in part for this opposition. The issue came to a head on July 9th when an Ulster Championship match was prevented from taking place in Cootehill by Crown Forces.
British Authorities attempted a crackdown on GAA activities by insisting no matches could take place without prior written permission being sought and granted. The GAA not only objected they decided to defy the order and hold a match in every parish in Ireland at precisely the same time – 3pm on Sunday 4th August.
The protest was Far more successful than could ever have been imagined and an estimated 54,000 players participated in a game with over 100,000 watching across the entire island. It all ran entirely without major incident and Forced the abandonment of the requirement to seek a license to play a GAA match.
SO HOW WILL WE MARK THE CENTENARY OF GAELIC SUNDAY?
This year, August 4th is on a weekend when the All-Ireland Football quarter-finals involving the four provincial Football winners will take place. The centenary of Gaelic Sunday will be marked in a special way at these matches over that weekend. Match programmes will Feature informative articles on the history and significance of Gaelic Sunday.
All clubs are being asked to also mark this inaugural Lá na gClub in their own way over the weekend of August 4/5. We should celebrate the vision of our Forbearers on Gaelic Sunday, for their actions helped make the GAA what it is today.
The GAA would like clubs to help remember the events of 1918 this August 4/5 and to mark the anniversary in whatever way is appropriate and does not disrupt the playing of their regular club fixtures.
Some clubs who played each other in matches 100 years ago on Gaelic Sunday will play again this August, others are organising club history days, pitch openings or internal matches or family days to coincide with this weekend.
Gaelic Sunday was not just an act of defiance but also an expression of the pride of GAA members in their clubs, their games, their players and their communities. Although much in life has changed in Ireland over the last 100 years – that pride is very much still in place, and still worth celebrating.
So, share with us your Club’s celebrations. Post photos from your day on Instagram or Twitter using #GaelicSunday and you could feature on this site and on the Big Screen in Croke Park over the weekend