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The GAA v Douglas Hyde: The Removal of Ireland's First President as GAA Patron

By Cormac Moore


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Click on the image to look inside this book.

One of the most controversial episodes in the GAA's history was the removal of Ireland's first President, Douglas Hyde, as patron of the GAA. He had attended a soccer match between Ireland and Poland just months after his inauguration as President, and this breached the GAA's Ban on 'foreign games'. The events from Hyde's attendance at the game in November 1938 to the ratification of his removal in April 1939 are explored in detail. Arguments for and against the decision are looked at, as well as reaction nationally and internationally. The background of Douglas Hyde, arguably the father of the Irish-Ireland movement, and his relationship with the GAA, deep and profound before his removal, is examined.

For the first time the background to the Ban, which had reached the status of a fundamental principle by 1938, is outlined including many associated ironies and captivating incidents. The decision to remove Hyde led to a severe straining of relations between the GAA and Eamon de Valera's Fianna Fail government which played out through a number of fractious incidents during World War II until de Valera intervened in 1945 to repair the relationship. Although the Ban remained until 1971, the removal of Hyde as patron greatly dented its standing and was used extensively by opponents of the Ban to argue for its removal.

Want to listen to an interview with Cormac? Well, click here to listen in to Cormac on Sport @ Seven on RTÉ Radio 1 (about 7.5 mins in on the podcast for Tuesday 25 September) or here to listen to him on Off the Ball on Newstalk (part 2, around 36 minutes on Wednesday 26 September)!

  • Book Format: Paperback
  • Published: 2012
  • Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
  • Number of pages: 256
  • ISBN: 9781848891524
  • Illustrations note: B&W photos,
Very accessible.
This is a fascinating story told with verve and presents both sides of the argument – a good read.
Moore’s book is a brilliant departure from the sports history that currently exists in Ireland – although ostensibly about one thing, he manages to draw into the picture a great many things […] that show sport history at its best.
Uses contemporary press reports to considerable effect while drawing on the significant body of academic scholarship of the GAA that has appeared in recent years [...] the chapters are cleverly arranged to bring the reader through the fascinating story [Moore] has to tell.
An absorbing new book.
One of the most interesting studies of the GAA ever published.
'Fascinating book ... Moore is excellent on the hypocrisies involved in the decision [to remove President Hyde as GAA patron].
Unique and captivating.
The GAA v Douglas Hyde Cormac Moore

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