Gaelic Games and 'the Movies'


From the earliest days of the cinema, sport was one of the most popular subjects of representation. Unsurprisingly, when film arrived in Ireland, Irish sport, including gaelic games, would soon feature. Gaelic games were exhibited in both actualities and newsreel, even if many of these, particularly between the wars, would emerge from foreign companies, often with a strong British bias. However, it is difficult to definitively identify a distinct genre of Irish sports film per se – outside of documentary - and indeed few Irish fiction films that feature sport at all, and still less that feature gaelic games. However, gaelic games have had a place in film, and arguably a role that outweighs the actual minutes of screen time such games occupy. In particular, this article examines how representations of Gaelic games have related to two major forces in twentieth, and indeed twentieth-first, century Ireland – nationalism and tourism. Both of these issues are important to any understanding of the role and significance of representations of Gaelic Games in film and indeed, sometimes intersect in the context of individual films. More Info: The volume in which this chapter was included was the recipient of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) award for best collection of sport history related essays published in 2009.Peer reviewe

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