A CAMPAIGN has been launched to find grassroots GAA stories to help document the history of the association in Britain and across the world.
The collaboration between the GAA and publishers Ballpoint Press Ltd aims to gather the most comprehensive treasure trove of Gaelic-related stories ever compiled in the 136-year history of the GAA.
As well as the UK and the four corners of Ireland, stories are also being sought from across the globe, in particular from those who have been GAA frontier people in the USA, Canada, Australia and many other countries.
Contributions are being accepted orally so that every story can be captured – even if the person telling it is no longer “up to writing it” the organisers confirmed this week.
GAA President John Horan has welcomed the initiative, which will explore the diversity of the association through its stories on the ground.
“The grassroots are the lifeblood of our organisation and it is timely that that such an undertaking is finally going ahead,” he said of the project.
“I'm delighted because it means that there will be a permanent home for these stories in both book form as well in our own GAA archive section.”
Journalist and author PJ Cunningham will spearhead the undertaking, alongside GAA Communications Director Alan Milton.
Mr Cunningham, who claims it has been an ambition of his for many years to bring such GAA stories together under one project, explained: “GAA is a way of life for most Irish people at home and abroad.
“It is packed with diverse stories from on and off the pitch. I grew up listening to them and enjoying their retelling, but the reality is that many of these stories exist only in word of mouth form.”
He added: “At present, we all have a bit more time to commit such stories to paper so that they can be preserved for future generations.
“Ideally the stories should have their own unique selling point rather than just normal accounts of winning or losing matches.
“They can also include inter-county fare and personnel because it is the grassroots people who gather in large numbers to support those encounters.
“Basically, we are interested in any story from 1884 onwards to the present day that has a special, novel or unusual twist to it.”
Letters can be sent to GAA Grassroots Stories, Ballpoint Press, 4 Wyndham Park, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.