About the association

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation. It is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world. It was founded on November 1 1884 at a meeting in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, by a group of spirited Irishmen who had the foresight to realise the importance of establishing a national organisation to make athletics more accessible to the masses and to revive and nurture traditional,indigenous sports and pastimes. At that time, it was largely only the gentry and aristocracy who were allowed to meaningfully participate in athletics.

Until then all that was Irish was being steadily eroded by emigration, intense poverty and outside influences. Within six months of that famous first meeting, GAA clubs began to spring up all over Ireland and people began to play the games of Hurling and Gaelic Football and take part in Athletic events with pride.

The Association today promotes Gaelic games such as Hurling, Football, Handball and Rounders and works with sister organisations to promote Ladies Football and Camogie. The Association also promotes Irish music, song and dance and the Irish language as an integral part of its objectives. The GAA has remained an amateur Association since its founding. Players, even at the highest level, do not receive payment for playing and the volunteer ethos remains one of the most important aspects of the GAA.

The organisation is based on the traditional parishes and counties of Ireland. As a community-based organisation, it is often stated that it is difficult to determine where the community end sand the GAA club starts as they generally overlap and are intertwined. The GAA has over 2,200 clubs in all 32 counties of Ireland.

However, by far the two biggest days in the GAA calendar are the All-Ireland finals in hurling and football. A sell out attendance of 82,300 is guaranteed in Croke Park and the quest for tickets is intense as Ireland’s top counties do battle for the right to be All-Ireland champions.The finals are broadcast around the world.The GAA has developed abroad amongst the Irish Diaspora.The Irish who emigrated brought their national games with them and both regional and club units are now well established in the United States of America, Australia,Britain, Canada, China, mainland Europe and many other parts of the world.

About gaelic football

Gaelic football, commonly known as “Football”, “Gaelic”, or “Gah” is a form of football played mainly in Ireland. Football is one of four Gaelic games run by the Gaelic Athletic Association, the largest sporting organization in Ireland which has far more club members than any other sport. It is, together with hurling, one of the two most popular spectator sports in Ireland. It has strict rules on player amateurism and the pinnacle of the sport is the annual inter-county All-Ireland Football Final played in Croke Park in Dublin.

Gaelic football is believed to have descended from ancient Irish football known as ‘caid’ which dates back to medieval times, although the modern rules were not set down until 1886.

Gaelic football is also played in countries outside of Ireland, often although not solely played by members of the Irish diaspora. It is increasing in popularity internationally. Teams from both London and New York compete in the annual All-Ireland Senior Football Championship, the highest level of the game. A hybrid sport, international rules football facilitates international representative matches including the showpiece International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland.

There are several GAA clubs in Spain. The clubs were formed by Irish players and each has sizeable number of local Spanish players in their squads.