The story of the GAA on the backdrop of the Rising

Lecturer of Modern Irish history in UCD, Richard McElligot, spoke to Off The Ball

With the centenary of the Easter Rising right around the corner, there is a greater sense of nationalism in the GAA in recent living memory.

Lecturer of Modern Irish history in UCD, Richard McElligot, spoke to Off The Ball about the presence of the GAA in a fractious time in Irish political culture.

"It's not as if nationalism had a monopoly on the GAA or vice versa, obviously there were plenty of people who were rugby, soccer and cricket orientated" he said.

"But the GAA does have a strong presence in the 1916 Rising. There's no precise figure but we reckon there may have been about 1,300 rebels fighting in Dublin and of those, 302 were members of the GAA.

"That's a substantial percentage and I don't think it's something you can disregard that easily. If you look at the contribution of Dublin clubs, 52 had members involved in the 1916 Rising.

"If you go through the people who have links with the GAA involved in the Rising, they're some of the most prominent people of this period and go on to have such huge roles in the war of independence and the Free State. 

"You've got someone like Austin Stack who is acknowledged as the head of the IRB in Kerry, head of the Irish volunteers in Kerry and he goes on to be a minister in the first Dáil."

You can hear the full podcast of a fascinating time in Irish history below.