Book Launch:Gaelic Games on Film

May 03 2019 Posted: 08:38 IST

Gaelic Games on Film: From silent films to Hollywood hurling, horror and the emergence of Irish cinema 

by Seán Crosson

Irish Screen Studies Seminar, Huston School of Film & Digital Media, NUI Galway

Thursday 9 May @ 5.30pm

Introduced by Professor Philip Dine

All welcome!

Gaelic games have repeatedly provided filmmakers with a resonant motif to represent perceived aspects of Irish identity, perceived as these representations have been neither straightforward nor unproblematic. In international productions in particular, Gaelic games have been employed on occasion as a short hand for regressive stereotypes associated with Irish people, including their alleged propensity for violence. For indigenous producers, on the other hand, Gaelic games afforded distinctive Irish cultural practices and as such were employed to promote and affirm the Irish nation, particularly as an indigenous film culture began to develop in the aftermath of World War II. From the late 1960s onwards, a critical turn became evident in these indigenous productions though contemporary depictions of Gaelic games still occasionally reveal the more problematic stereotypes associated with Ireland and Irish identity.

This study provides the first major monograph examination of filmic representations of Gaelic games, charting these representations from the earliest years of the twentieth century, including silent films such as Knocknagow (1918) to more recent productions Michael Collins (1996) and The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006). Among the areas examined are newsreel depictions of Gaelic games; Hollywood’s fascination with hurling in the mid-20th century (including in the work of Oscar-winning director John Ford), which led to a range of productions featuring the sport culminating with the Oscar-nominated short Three Kisses (Paramount, 1955); the importance of the depictions of Gaelic games to the emergence of a distinctive Irish film culture post WWII; and the role of Gaelic games in contemporary cinema.

Seán Crosson is Co-Director of the MA Sports Journalism and Communication and Director of Graduate Research in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, National University of Ireland Galway. His previous publications include Sport and Film (Routledge, 2013) and (as co-editor) Sport, Representation and Evolving Identities in Europe (Peter Lang, 2010).

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