GAA Generations will connect young and old to record our rich history

GAA Generations is a major new oral history project that will be built on conversations between young and old sections of our membership.

We are our stories, and we tell them while standing on the shoulders of those who came before us.

Ireland boasts a rich tradition of passing our stories from one generation to the next. To honour that, and to capture a better understanding of what the GAA means to its members, the Association has launched a ‘GAA Generations’ oral research project.

The idea is simple – young GAA members aged 12-21 are invited to record on a conversation with someone that they look up to and admire in the 55+ age bracket. It could be, for example, a parent/grandparent, a coach, or a teacher, past or present, that saw and nurtured your potential. The older participants will also be given the opportunity to quiz their young interviewees on their GAA experiences and how it may have impacted their understanding of who they are.

GAA broadcasting legend Michéal Ó Muircheartaigh has recorded a video encouraging people to get involved. Irish actor Cillian Murphy, patron to the UNESCO Centre in University of Galway, which is providing oversight of the project through their ‘Youth as Researchers’ training programme, will contribute a voice-over to a video highlighting the findings of the project once all the interviews have been gathered.

The project aims to recruit between 500-1,000 young GAA members (aged 12-21 years-old) who will receive online training in conducting a semi-structured interview with a person of influence in their life aged 55+. It aims to include the Irish diaspora’s perspective particularly through the club networks of north America and the UK. The conversations with their selected ‘One Good Adult’ (aged 55+), recorded on a smart phone along with a photo of the participants, will be stored for prosperity and future research purposes on the GAA’s eLearning platform.

Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy said: “This project illustrates a core strength of the GAA – building community and connecting people across generations – and even long distances – to share our stories and to learn from one another. We are delighted to provide this opportunity to record these important stories as part of the GAA Generations project.”

Prof Pat Dolan, UNESCO chair NUI Galway, said: “This project is particularly timely and unique as it gives younger and older people in the GAA the opportunity to put on an eternal record what belonging means to them in the context of their club community and county – at the same time as giving a new learning to us all on what connects us in our daily lives.

Prof. Mark Brennan, UNESCO chair, Penn State University, noted: “The GAA is doing an amazing thing with this project. There are rare opportunities for younger and older people to talk openly and equally about the opportunities and challenges they are facing now and have in the past. The ability to share these in the dual context of sport and community building, sets the GAA apart. It’s incredibly important work for now and for generations to come.”

How to get involved?
GAA members aged 12-21 years (inclusive) who would like to participate in this research project, are requested to provide an expression of interest which can be found at: Depending on the volume of applications received, it may not be possible to facilitate everyone due to the analysis of the data required. Parental consent is required for those under 18 to participate in the project and to complete the expression of interest form.

Participants under 18 will require parental consent to complete the expression of interest.
For further information contact or Stephen Quinn at +353 (0) 1 819 238

GAA Generations is jointly overseen by Professors Pat Dolan and Mark Brennan, chairs of the UNESCO Centres for Child and Family Research (University of Galway) and Community, Leadership, and Youth Development (Penn State University), respectively. Professor Eamon O’Shea, former Tipperary hurling manager and inaugural Director of the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at the University of Galway, also sits on the steering group. Participants from the Dermot Earley Youth Leadership Initiative, the Future Leaders (TY) programme, and the association’s youth representative structures, as well as older members recruited through GAA’s Social Initiative have contributed to the project design.

GAA Generations has benefitted from funding from the HSE Mental Health division via the National Office for Suicide Prevention.