GAA Archives Released
2012 has been an extraordinary year for Gaelic Football in Donegal, one which has inspired the hearts and minds of Donegal people everywhere. The celebrations have continued for weeks now since our historic All Ireland win against Mayo in September. It is wonderful that in such an amazing year, Donegal County Archives can announce the deposit of the archives of the County Donegal Board of the GAA. A colourful illustrated booklet outlining the history of the GAA in Donegal and listing the items in the collection will also be available to view. No doubt there will be plenty of people keen to view this archive in the year that Sam came home to Donegal!
The background to this project begins in 2006 when nearly one thousand archival items dating from 1927 relating to the history of the GAA in the county and spanning over 80 years were deposited with the County Archives. This wonderful sporting archive collection was in the care of the then County Secretary, Charlie O’Donnell, who, recognising the value of the collection sought a permanent home for the archives. With funding from the Heritage Council, the collection has now been catalogued and is available for research at the Archives Service in Lifford.
This incredible collection, spanning the twentieth century contains a wide variety of material, reflecting the range of activities of the GAA in the county. Archives of note include the CountyBoard minute books dating from 1933-1996 which are of key importance to the history of the County Board. Financial records, correspondence and numerous reports are also included as well as records from the various committees, including the regional, minor and hurling boards.
The earliest document in the collection is a correspondence book with copies of outgoing correspondence written by Secretary Seán Ó Caiside, covering the period 1927-1937. Letters include references to fixtures, teams, players and grievances. A large amount of material has survived from the 1930s, particularly from 1933. Financial documentation includes invoices and correspondence and much was generated by Seán Conaghan, treasurer of the County Board from 1925-1933.
Much of the material dates from the second half of the twentieth century. There are over 300 programmes for a variety of matches including club matches, leagues, championships and Ulsterand All-Ireland matches. The collection also includes a variety of tickets, officials’ passes, bye-laws, invitations, posters and souvenirs. There are yearbooks, newsletters and magazines, histories of GAA facts as well as commemorative publications produced to mark anniversaries, opening of club grounds, winning teams and the centenary of the GAA in 1984.
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