The story of the GAA in America offers unique insight into the emigrant experience. It’s a story of a people and their national games, thousands of miles from home; a story of isolation influenced by the ebb and flow of Irish immigration.
Presented by Dara Ó Cinnéide, captain of the 2004 Kerry football team that won the All-Ireland, and produced by Sonta Films, “GAA USA” will tell this story for TG4, in documentary form.
It will tell trace the timeline of how Irish hurling, football, camogie & ladies football developed in the states from the 1850s up to the present day.
The series offers a fresh insight into Irish American history through the untold story of the GAA in the US, exploring its evolution from humble origins into a dynamic organization whose survival now depends on reaching out to non-Irish ethnic groups.
The Irish brought so much with them to America – religion, music, culture and sport. These connections to the homeland made adapting to the new world a little easier, but generation after generation the guardians of the games here had to fight and struggle to ensure their survival.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants were cast upon the shores of America. For many, the experience was deeply traumatic, as they experienced feelings of dislocation, alienation and homesickness in the vast cities of New York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.
Yet a sense of shared identity helped the immigrant Irish to overcome this trauma. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in their love of the sports they brought with them from their homeland – It is documented that as early as the 1780s hurling was played on the streets of New York.
Ó Cinnéide and the filmmakers traveled the US, talking with local GAA teams and legends across the country.
The production team behind "GAA USA" is now making an open call for home video footage of football, hurling, ladies football and camogie games, in addition to dances, festivals etc. organized by the Irish across America from the 1930's onwards.
If you or your family have any video to share, contact Eamonn Ó Cualáin via Email: [email protected]