“The issue of Carson is academic…”

At the press launch of the inaugural “Poc ar an Cnoc” Edward Carson Hurling Trophy, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams leaned heavily on the image of ‘Carson the hurler’ to explain what could have been seen as a deliberately provocative gesture

“I discovered, much to my surprise, that Carson was a hurler in his days at Trinity College (Dublin),” said Adams at Monday’s launch in Parliament Buildings.

“So this man who is arguably the father of unionism was also a Gael and I thought that was an interesting concept.

“When Carson was playing for this hurling club at Trinity he got an honourable mention in the Irish Sportsman (journal of the day) as having distinguished himself on the field so we thought it would be a great idea to have an Edward Carson trophy.”

Not so fast.  According to a reputable source in the News Letter

Dr Paul Rouse from the school of history at UCD, who is also the director of the GAA oral history project, said hurley and hurling players were at loggerheads.

He said hurley players referred to hurling as the “swiping game of the savage”.

“Carson the hurler, not really, Carson the hurley player, absolutely,” he said.

“The difference is there was no game of hurling played in Dublin in the 1870s – there was instead a game in Trinity College called hurley which was most likely brought across by English public schools and organised by Trinity from probably 1869 to the 1880s.

“It was the only hurley club in the city, they used to play games amongst themselves like smokers against non-smokers.”

The rules of the two games were different with hurley players using football’s offside rule as well as only being allowed to hit the ball with one side of the stick, similar to in hockey.

And the Sinn Féin response?  From the same News Letter report

However, a Sinn Fein spokesman denied that Mr Adams had made a gaffe by assuming Lord Carson had taken part in hurling.

“The issue of Carson is academic, what he played is up for debate and that’s fair enough,” he told the News Letter.

“It is unfortunate that some people are choosing to focus on what is a side issue.”

Never mind, Gerry.  Always look on the bright side…

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  • Brian MacAodh

    Even he knew he was better suited to a life in the clergy-“Every instinct of mine would indicate I was meant to be a dyed-in-the-wool Tory, or even a Bishop, rather than the leader of a Revolution.” De Valera to Mary MacSwiney, 1923

    (Next came the IRB problem : while born out of wedlock did not debar him from membership it most certainly did from the any important office in that organisation over a certain level.One has to appreciate what the IRB was in a totality to understand why this was so.)

    Why would be born out of wedlock bar him from any important office in the IRB? It seems strange to me that a revolutionary organization would hold to such old-fashioned norms-although this is Ireland, so who knows.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Hopefully we can beat Cromwell’s Rebels this Sunday!

  • Munsterview

    Brian

    The IRB had its genesis in the Unites Irishman Masonic Lodges on the late 1790’s and what was passed down through the 1800’s in the US. There were other lines that led back to the Jacobite Courts and to Bonnie Prince in exile circles etc.

    The IRB was not just a Revolutionary organization in the US especially in the Civil War period it interfaced with Masonic Lodges, many had dual memberships. There was a Sacral core to this that is very rarely referred to much less described.

    Anyone in the know of these things has only to read the poetry of the leaders to realize that there was a mystical framework here that they were working inside.

    Some questions here : why did Cannon Dineen, a Jesuit, cease to practice as a Roman Catholic Priest for a significant period of his life ?

    Why despite this did the Military Council of the IRB meet in his rooms and why despite his Church Status did he continue a Chaplain to the IRB inner Circle?

    What ceremony took place behind closed doors in the First Dail before the invitation only a TD , IRB and guests opened the doors to the general public.?

    How were all these Revolutionary Leaders so serene when facing the loss of their physical lifes after court-martial and scentence?

    Read Yeat’s poem ‘The Curse Of Cromwell’ and especially the last line of the second verse.
    What can they know….etc

    Very deep things there!

  • Procrasnow

    I am so surprised that Sinn Féin would honour a traitor and a leader of the UVF

  • Reader

    Procrasnow: I am so surprised that Sinn Féin would honour a traitor…
    From the diametrically opposite point of view – Sinn Féin wouldn’t honour anyone but a traitor. However, the GFA gives the go-ahead for us each to choose our own identity, though I never thought I needed anybody’s permission anyway.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Are the days of , ‘A Catholic Country for a Catholic People’ over ?? Lord Craigavon was only answering devs statement………………….but then,you already knew that !! 🙂

  • Munsterview

    Brian,
    I found that Yeats reference, this is the verse of the poem referred to.

    The Curse Of Cromwell
    William Butler Yeats

    All neighbourly content and easy talk are gone,
    But there’s no good complaining, for money’s rant is on.
    He that’s mounting up must on his neighbour mount,
    And we and all the Muses are things of no account.
    They have schooling of their own, but I pass their schooling by,
    What can they know that we know that know the time to die?
    O what of that, O what of that,
    What is there left to say?

    What is there left to say indeed!

  • Munsterview

    A trophy is a bit miserable, outreach and all that. However it is too soon to think of naming large buildings or pitches. Could we not strike a happy medium, something often overlooked, yet essencial to all clubs that would bring him to mind every time the building was used.

    The building I have in mind are of modest size and used by all club ages and sexes, Further more it would very much keep him in mind with phases like “where is the Carson?” or “excuse me while I go to the Carson” etc.

    I could not see any Nationalist in these circumstances not prepared to give Carson his dues!

  • Munsterview

    Dec
    re Carson having a GAA Trophy called after him…..

    A trophy is a bit miserable, outreach and all that! However it is too soon to think of naming large buildings or pitches. Could we not strike a happy medium, something often overlooked, yet essencial to all clubs that would bring him to mind every time the place was used.

    The building I have in mind is of modest size and used by all club ages and sexes, Further more it would very much keep the great man in mind with phases like “where is the Carson?” or “excuse me while I go to the Carson” etc. His name would quickly be on a significant number of Nationalists lips overnight!

    I could not see any Nationalist in these circumstances not prepared to give Carson his dues!

  • Greenflag

    ‘ the GFA gives the go-ahead for us each to choose our own identity,’

    No it does’nt . It merely politicises a simple fact of life so that some form of ‘democracy’ can take root in Northern Ireland .

    Most people’s identity is chosen for them at birth and is continually reinforced as they mature through education , socialisation , religion , ethnicity etc . In some democracies and other states it is possible for considerable diversity in religion and ethnicities to be accomodated within a national political identity . In others it’s not so possible . Northern Ireland is slowly moving from the latter situation to the former .

    ‘ though I never thought I needed anybody’s permission anyway.’

    Indeed . Nobody can make you what you are or are not without your consent ;). In Norn Iron the use of bricks and bats and drums and parades etc etc are great identity re-enforcers for those who might stray from the flock as are the local church institutions .

    Somebody from Belgium can be a Catholic or Protestant but nobody really cares one way or the other . Belgians themselves are either Flemings (Dutch speakers) or Walloons (French speakers ) . The Dutch can be Catholic or Protestant or anything else but nobody is in any doubt as to the fact that the Dutch are first and foremost Dutch .

    Nobody should be in any doubt that the Irish are first and foremost Irish at least in the Republic . In Northern Ireland there are multiple choices – Irish , British , British Irish , Irish British , Ulster , Northern Irish , Ulster Scots , Unionists , Republicans , Nationalists , Prods and Catholics etc etc and whatever you’re having yourself . Some of these NI identities are even subject to change/modification / accentuation with respect to travel and location ;).

  • “Carson having a GAA Trophy called after him…..”

    Once again, this trophy has nothing to do with the GAA.

    The same way a penalty competition organised in the Stormont green by an MLA would have nothing to do with the IFA.

  • Reader

    Munsterview: The building I have in mind is of modest size and used by all club ages and sexes, Further more it would very much keep the great man in mind with phases like “where is the Carson?” or “excuse me while I go to the Carson” etc.
    So a Carson is a place where one would go to use a Gerry or change a Maskey?

  • AlanMaskey

    I see Louth were beaten by Dublin today, having been earlier cheated in the Meath game. Where is Slab when he is needed?
    Louth of course is historicaly part of Ulster. Did Carsoni try to grab that too?

  • Colin Carberry

    Not at all. Adams is merely trying to be as inclusive as possible, and to welcome Unionists to play what has hitherto been viewed as an exclusively Irish nationalist sport. CuChulainn, the ancient war god, whom some Unionists historically claim as their own, played hurling, so this is a sport that anyone on the island of Ireland can play with pride. Fair play to Adams. This a wonderful initiative on his part.

  • Iano

    Louth was named after a pagan god Lu lamh fada father of Setanta (AKA Cú Chulainn) so that is a good question

  • Ulick

    So how went the day Pete?

  • Pete Baker

    Ulick

    What do I care which celebrity was presented with the Carson ‘hurley’ trophy?

    I did notice the competition was restricted to invitees.

    But I’m guessing it wasn’t the Sinn Féin ‘celebrity’ Bairbre de Brun.

  • Anon

    “Hurley”? Already comments here casting doubt on what the academic you posted stated. We’re precodification, sure, but lots of suggestion that were a variety of “hurling” and “hurley” games that would ultimately feed less, or greator into the GAA. Oh and additionally some suggestion the man himself maintained some level of interest.

    If you are going to solicit comments, then you one would surely imagine you’d use them, at least those that deal with material fact. Given your stated interest in learning and digging etc, Pete, I’m just shocked there isn’t a neat follow up post with forty links. I mean, you’d have to be a hack just to score cheap points, ignore what people said and just go with the interpretation that suits your political agenda wouldn’t you? It’d be as bad as those nasty SF types, spinning for all their worth.

    I am await the inevitable pithy comment or statement that I’m just not understanding / reading things right with absolutely *baited* breath. But hey, carry on.

  • Ulick

    You cared enough to start a thread on it, so I guessed you would be following through on it for everyone but I suppose it’s difficult for you to find an angle on a positive news story.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0809/1224276416919.html

    Kind of interesting how it played out, Certainly a victory for Mr Adams. As they say in GAA circles, take the points and the goals will come.

  • And if he had bothered to read all the posts he wouldn’t have used the term ‘hurley’, but rather, the Ulster-Scots for Poc Fada, which is ‘galf’.

  • Alan Maskey

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1ST-STORMONT-POC-FADA-RARE-PROG-LONG-PUCK-GAA-7-8-10-/290462451915?pt=UK_Sports_Memorabilia_ET

    For those of you who missed this historic event, the programme is for sale on youtube. Dig deep.