GAA: People, Objects & Stories
GAA: People, Objects & Stories - is an exciting exhibition which gives a new perspective on Ireland’s largest sporting organisation.
Objects dating from the 15th century to the present day, illustrate the influence of the GAA through the lens of social history, design and popular culture
GAA: People, Objects and Stories is a new multi-media exhibition, at the National Museum of Ireland- Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, that offers a fresh perspective on the GAA’s influence through the lens of social history, design and popular culture.
The exhibition includes objects dating from the 15th century to the present day, including many which will be on public display for the first time:
- A Medieval Mether, found at Corran in Co Armagh. The design of the iconic Liam MacCarthy cup
sis based on wooden methers, which are in the NMI permanent collection.
- A 10 carat gold GAA medal made in New York, dating 1936, which is thought to have been presented to one of the players from the Cavan football team or Limerick hurling team that travelled to play in New York in Yankee Stadium.
- A handwoven tweed camogie dress worn by Maeve Gilroy in the 1960s during a successful decade for Antrim camogie. Maeve was awarded the Cú Chulann camogie award in 1956 and went on to become a respected coach and referee.
- A medal presented to Austin Stack the Irish nationalist politician, militant republican and political prisoner, and celebrated athlete, when he was captain of the Kerry football team who won the Croke Cup competition in 1904-05. The Croke Cup Competition was one of the earliest inter-county tournaments in hurling and football.
- A hurling helmet worn by camogie player and former Wexford captain and now GAA analyst Ursula Jacob in the many All-Ireland finals in which she won medals from 2007 to 2020.
- A yellow sliotar used in the 2020 All-Ireland senior hurling final between Limerick and Tipperary, which marked the first game in which the yellow sliotar replaced the traditional white sliotar. The 2020 All-Ireland hurling final was also the first final to be played behind closed doors, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- An illustration of camogie uniforms by fashion designer Neillí Mulcahy, from 1969. Camogie uniforms, like much of the attire of female athletes, has a history of discomfort with regulations and traditions being prioritised over athleticism. Néillí’s illustration is her suggestion for what camogie uniforms should look like.
- A commemorative porcelain plate designed by Oisín Kelly and manufactured by Belleek Pottery in 1976. The plate was commissioned by Erne Gaels GAA club as a fundraising venture to help finance the development of their playing facilities in Belleek, Co. Fermanagh.
While the GAA was formally established in 1884, the oldest objects on display as part of the exhibition are hurling balls made from matted cow hair with plaited horsehair dating back to the 15th century, found in bogland areas in Co. Kerry, Mayo and Limerick. Also on display is a rugby football used by the prisoners to play Gaelic football in Frongoch internment camp in Wales in 1916 and a hurl owned by Michael Collins.
From the more recent past in the exhibition, is the baseball cap worn by one of the most successful managers in the history of hurling, Brian Cody, when he was Kilkenny senior hurling manager from 1999-2022.
On three feature walls, visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see digital reproductions of artworks, newly commissioned design and photographs of Gaelic Games. How the GAA has influenced artists in the 20th century, the evolution of GAA jersey designs and the crossover in design between the Sam Maguire Cup and the Ardagh Chalice, are amongst the themes that are explored.
Visitors to the exhibition will be invited to respond to it, with their own GAA memories. These responses will be compiled and included in an exhibition archive that will preserve the stories for future generations.
GAA: People, Objects & Stories is located at:
Collins Barracks ,
Discover objects dating from the 15th century to the present day, illustrating the influence of the GAA through the lens of social history, design and popular culture.
Events Related to this Exhibition
Decorative Arts & History
Collins Barracks ,
+353 1 677 7444