Friday 18 January 2019

Meelin celebrates 100 years of 'Gaelic Sunday'

Sheila Fitzgerald

The highest village in Ireland was a sea of green and gold as parishioners, decked out in the Meelin colours, came out in their droves to mark the 100th anniversary of Gaelic Sunday last weekend.

The event began with a march from the village square to the GAA grounds where a 'Lá na gClub' event saw people of all ages enjoy the many activities on offer.

There were short hurling games for children aged 6 and upwards while the adult team played alongside the juvenile players. A puck fada competition, shooting through tyres, sack races, face painting and lots of other fun games proved to be hugely popular with the children. The new Astroturf, indoor training facility, gym and meeting rooms were open for viewing and a historical talk on Gaelic Sunday was hugely informative.

In 1918, under British rule, the authorities tried to crack down on all public gatherings, including GAA matches.

Written permission had to be sought and ultimately granted to hold all matches at the time, otherwise they were considered an illegal activity.

The GAA not only objected but they decided to defy the order and hold a match in every parish in Ireland at precisely the same time - 3pm on Sunday, August 4.

The protest was far more successful than could ever have been imagined and an estimated 54,000 players participated in games throughout Ireland, with over 100,000 attending the matches across the entire island.

Strength in numbers and solidarity across the country forced the abandonment of the requirement to seek a license to play a GAA match. This became one of the most remarkable and significant days in the history of the GAA.

It will be forever remembered as Gaelic Sunday - the day when our GAA peacefully stood against the British Empire - and won! (see more on