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Ulster Since 1600Politics, Economy, and Society$
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Liam Kennedy and Philip Ollerenshaw

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583119.001.0001

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Sport in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Sport in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

(p.260) 16 Sport in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Ulster Since 1600

Alan Bairner

Oxford University Press

The interplay of politics and sport is a major theme in the social and cultural history of Ulster. The origins of many of the games popular in Ulster today go deep in time. With the rise of Irish nationalism certain games came to be categorised as Gaelic (Gaelic football, hurling, handball and camóige), while other games such as cricket, rugby, soccer and hockey were stigmatised as ‘foreign’. Sport became both a way to escape political and social hardship and a key factor ‘in the construction and reproduction of competing identities’. Some games had clear provincial elements in their organisation: for example the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union established in 1879 and the Ulster Council of the GAA in 1903. But representation at international, including Olympic, level has posed problems for individual sports people. The debate about sport and politics continues to this day.

Keywords:   sport, Gaelic, GAA, hurling, soccer, cricket, rugby, hockey, identity, Ulster

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