GAA Football

GAA launches new initiatives to mark 100-year anniversary of Bloody Sunday attack at Croke Park

Actor Jack Galvin at yesterday's Croke Park launch of a special range of initiatives by the GAA to remember the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday, November 21, 1920 and never came home. Galvin plays played the role of William Robinson, one of those who died, in a series of short films. Picture by Sportsfile
Neil Loughran

THE GAA has launched a major initiative to focus on the victims of the Bloody Sunday attack at Croke Park in 1920, with a series of projects dedicated to those lives lost in the run up to the centenary commemoration in November.

A companion to the programme of events planned for the GAA Museum, this ‘B100dy Sunday – The GAA Remembers’ series will tell the story in a new way and bring it to a broader audience as the Association pays tribute to the memory of the 14 people who went to a match and never came home.

A collection of specially-commissioned videos focusing on those killed at the Dublin v Tipperary football game 100 years ago is online and will run over the next 10 weeks - starting with the profiling of Dubliner Jane Boyle, who died in the crowd at Croke Park a few days short of what should have been her wedding day.

The videos have been set to music entitled ‘More Than A Game’, a piece commissioned by the GAA from the renowned Irish musician Colm Mac Con Iomaire.

A new section dedicated to Bloody Sunday has been launched on GAA.ie and will also feature a free eight-part podcast provided by Sunday Times journalist Michael Foley, author of The Bloodied Field.

Each episode narrates the tragic story on that afternoon in November 1920, the life and times of the victims, the political climate and the series of events that led to the attack. The podcast series will be available on GAA.ie/BloodySunday and Spotify.

The GAA’s communications department is working with the IFTA-nominated Twopair Films on a documentary that will be screened by RTÉ in November, based on Foley’s widely-acclaimed book, while the directors of the Abbey Theatre are commissioning a series of special one-man performances focusing on each of the victims.

The GAA is helping them to stage the production in the local GAA club or school of each person represented.

The centenary commemoration event at Croke Park is due to take place before the Leinster SFC final on the evening of Saturday, November 21. If permitted under restrictions, it will be preceded by a ceremonial 'finishing of the match' involving 'Dublin' and 'Tipperary' teams, featuring either available county or club players.

The event will feature a special narration that focuses on the memory of each of the lives lost with a torch lighting ceremony, a wreath laying and a musical performance by Colm Mac Con Iomaire.

Also, the five-year Bloody Sunday Graves Project has been addressing a number of unmarked graves and erecting headstones to the Croke Park victims, in conjunction with their surviving relatives.

As plans are made to restore other graves in need of assistance, it is also intended to finish this project at a future date in a new memorial work on the front of Croke Park on Jones's Road.

“Behind the history and the headlines of the Crown Forces attack on Croke Park in 1920 is a human story and a human tragedy,” said GAA president John Horan.

“The appalling events of that Bloody Sunday changed the GAA and forever altered our relationship with the pitch at Jones’s Road.

“How a place envisaged to be a home of unconfined joy was turned into a scene of carnage and horror is a tragedy that will never be forgotten. To honour those who went to a match and never came home we need to remember them, to pay our respects, and that is what we intend to do.”

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