This is the very first history of sport in Ireland, finding the history of sport within Irish political, social, and cultural history, and within the global history of sport. Sport and Ireland shows that there are aspects of Ireland's sporting history that are distinctively Irish and are defined by the peculiarities of life on a little island on the edge of Europe. Exactly what is equally evident, however, is that the Irish sporting world is distinct just in part; much of the history of Irish sport is a shared history with that of other societies.Drawing on an unrivaled variety of sources- government archives, sporting organizations, personal collections, and more than sixty regional, national, and global newspapers - this volume provides an unique understanding into the history of the British Empire in Ireland and examines the impact that political partition has had on the organization of sport there. Paul Rouse examines the relationship between sport and national identity, how sport affects policy-making in modern states, and the ways in which sport has been colonized by the media and has colonized it in turn.
Each chapter of Sport and Ireland consists of brand-new research on the place of sport in Irish life: the playing of tossing matches in London in the eighteenth century, the growth of cricket to become the most important sport in early Victorian Ireland, and the enlistment of countless members of the Gaelic Athletic Association as soldiers in the British Army during the Great War. Rouse extracts the significance of animals to the Irish sporting custom, from the role of horse and canines in racing and hunting, to the cocks, bulls, and bears that were involved in combating and baiting.