There are aspects of Ireland’s sporting history that are uniquely Irish and defined by the peculiarities of life on a small island on the edge of Europe. The Irish sporting world is unique only in part, however; much of the history of Irish sport is a shared history with that of other societies. This talk assesses the place of sport in Irish life, tracing the origins of its ball games and the significance of animals to the Irish sporting tradition, from the role of horses and dogs in racing and hunting, to the cocks, bulls, and bears that were involved in fighting and baiting. Ultimately, it is a story located within Irish political, social, and cultural history, and within the global history of sport. Listen to his talk here.
Paul Rouse is a lecturer in the School of History and Archives in UCD. He has written extensively in Irish sport. His book Sport and Ireland: A History is published by Oxford University Press this Autumn.