GAA Museum to commemorate Bloody Sunday 100 years on

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The GAA Museum at Croke Park has launched an events series to mark the centenary of Bloody Sunday, the darkest day in the history of the GAA and a pivotal day in the Irish War of Independence, reports Clodagh Dooley

A picture paints 100 words: Artist David Sweeney, who is a former Dublin senior hurling captain and eLearning Manager at Croke Park, shows his specially commissioned Bloody Sunday commemoration artwork to Director of the GAA Museum Niamh McCoy and Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael John Horan at the launch of the GAA Museum’s Bloody Sunday centenary events series. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

We’ve no doubt all developed a newfound appreciation of the beautiful scenery in our country over the past few weeks. But now is a good time to also reflect on and appreciate the history of Ireland, as we continue our staycations.

As the national custodian of the archives and artefacts of the Gaelic Athletic Association, the GAA Museum has unveiled a curated series of events entitled ‘Remembering Bloody Sunday’. 

It marks the 100th anniversary of the day 14 civilians were killed by combined forces of the RIC and the British Military, and 60 more were injured during 90 seconds of gunfire during a football challenge match between Dublin and Tipperary at Croke Park.

The programme will include talks, tours, a new exhibition and a community programme running from now until November 2020.

The focal point for the centenary commemorations will be a new Remembering Bloody Sunday exhibition at the GAA Museum, opening in September. This will explore the tragic events of the fateful day and their impact on Irish history through artefacts, newspaper reports, official documents, photographs, and victim stories.

Part of this exhibition will include a specially commissioned Bloody Sunday centenary painting by artist David Sweeney, who is a former Dublin GAA senior hurling captain and the GAA’s eLearning Manager at Croke Park. The painting is titled ‘Transilience’, which means an abrupt change or leap from one state to another.

Entry to the GAA Museum and the new exhibition is complimentary with all tours at Croke Park.

The GAA Museum is also now running special weekly commemorative Bloody Sunday guided tours of Croke Park, which will take visitors through the sequence of events on the fateful day and discuss the impact Bloody Sunday had on both the GAA and Ireland itself.

Other dates to mark in your diary include: 

  • A weekly evening ‘Mondays at the Museum’ lecture series with leading historians will examine Bloody Sunday from every angle, bringing thought-provoking discussion on a diverse range of topics. 
  • A special edition of RTÉ Radio One’s Sunday Miscellany will also take place at the GAA Museum on Saturday 14th November, focusing on Croke Park, the GAA and the events around Bloody Sunday.
  • And the GAA Museum has also teamed up with History Ireland to host one of their Hedge Schools, titled ‘History, Memory & Bloody Sunday’. Taking place in the museum on November 18th, it promises to be a lively and unfettered round-table discussion with historians and well-known personalities.

As part of the commemorations, community-based creative writing project Fighting Words will run a series of workshops for local older residents. This will involve having conversations to uncover a more personal history of the area and its people over the last 100 years. The process will culminate in the creation of a book capturing the stories, co-written by those who take part.

Commenting on the Remembering Bloody Sunday commemoration events, GAA Museum Director Niamh McCoy says, “Celebrating Ireland’s national games and how the GAA has contributed to our cultural, social and sporting heritage is at the heart of everything we do at the GAA Museum.  Remembering Bloody Sunday is therefore of utmost importance, as it is one of the most tragic and significant events in GAA and Irish history.”

The events will adhere to the Government Road Map for reopening society and the easing of public health restrictions. The GAA Museum is operating to Government’s Covid-19 guidelines with hand sanitising stations, queuing systems and contactless payment. The museum has also reduced the entry numbers on tours to make social distancing easy at all times.

Visit crokepark.ie/BloodySunday

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Clodagh Dooley

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