The GAA and the War of Independence
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The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was founded in 1884 to promote Irish identity and revive the traditional sports of hurling, football and handball. After the turn of the century, the GAA became politicized, its club committees infiltrated by members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. As Ireland drifted close to civil war in 1914, the Irish Volunteers drilled with hurley sticks in the absence of guns. Many of those interned after the 1916 Rising were GAA members and the British banned Gaelic games after 1918. After independence, Gaelic games would play a central role in nationalist Ireland. Tim Pat Coogan charts the relationship between Gaelic sports and Ireland's national struggle in the period 1916-23: in so doing he writes another remarkable chapter in the many-stranded story of Ireland's ascent to nationhood.