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Monday 22 September 2014

Birthplace of GAA up for grabs but association won't be bidding

Brian Byrne

Published 05/09/2014 | 02:30

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Hayes Hotel in Thurles. Photo: Press 22
Hayes Hotel in Thurles. Photo: Press 22

The birthplace of the GAA will soon go under the hammer.

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Hayes Hotel in Liberty Square in Thurles, Co Tipperary, went into receivership last year, and is now one of 261 lots up for grabs at the Allsop Space auction on Tuesday, September 16, at the RDS, with a reserve price of €450,000 to €500,000.

The hotel is arranged over a ground and two upper floors and comprises a reception, lounge bar, coffee dock and two nightclubs together with 30 en-suite bedrooms.

The adjoining building includes a former shop and seven bedrooms, while the property is set on a wider site of about 1.08 acres.

It was at Hayes Hotel on November 1, 1884, that Co Clare teacher Michael Cusack called a meeting and founded the Gaelic Athletic Association alongside Maurice Davin, a farmer from Co Tipperary.

At the meeting of seven men, Mr Davin was elected president, Mr Cusack, John Wyse Power and John McKay were elected secretaries, and Archbishop Thomas William Croke, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt were asked to become patrons.

It came after Mr Cusack and leading nationalist Pat Nally became depressed after seeing just a handful of people playing sports in Dublin's Phoenix Park and decided to "make an effort to preserve the physical strength of our race".

The auctioneers claimed the property has gained "a lot" of pre-auction interest, with MEP Sean Kelly stating that the GAA should consider purchasing its historic birthplace or evaluate other ways to preserve the building.

However, a spokesman for the GAA last night confirmed to the Irish Independent it was not interested in purchasing the property.

"It's been discussed in the past at Ard Chomhairle level of the GAA, and a decision was taken not to do it. It wasn't deemed prudent to proceed with it," he said.

Director of auctions Robert Hoban said he hoped the hotel would retain its cultural significance.

Irish Independent

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