President Mary McAleese with the Artane Boys Band at a reception for the GAA at Áras an Uachtaráin

Irish President Mary McAleese today paid tribute to the volunteer community at the heart of the GAA.

McAleese was speaking at a garden party hosted at Áras an Uachtaráin today to mark the 125th anniversary of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

"From Derry to Dingle, from Dublin to Dubai, from San Francisco to Hong Kong day after day, week after week, an army of volunteers cares for this organization and keeps it full of effort and imagination," she said.

"In parishes, townlands, villages, suburbs and cities there is nothing to match it and nothing that comes close to matching the GAA. That it remains an unapologetic amateur organisation rooted deeply in the local, national and international life of the Irish family at home and abroad, is its enduring strength."

"This organization has given to millions memories to last not just one lifetime but many. It has created opportunities, seeded ambition, honed skill, galvanized the individual, harnessed the team.

"It has brought days of massive pride and occasional broken hearts to the parish, the club, the school, the county, the province and the country. Such a debt as we owe to the GAA could never be repaid but today we gather to say a heartfelt thank you."

Entertainment was provided by The Artane Band as well as winners and competitors of SCÓR 2009. The veteran GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh was MC at the event.