Pride in the Parish
By Paul Gannon
Heritage conservation is at the heart of this book as I wanted the people of my native parish to become acquainted with, to appreciate, to take pride in and ultimately to feel a strong sense of ownership of their own gaelic sporting legacy. I also wanted to dispel the myth that the latter is the sole preserve of men. The true embodiment of any parish lies in the intertwined lives of its people, be they indigenous natives or non-indigenous persons who are destined to become permanent residents, and bearing this in mind, Pride In The Parish seeks to acknowledge and affirm equally the contribution of all of the above, both at home and abroad, to the gaelic sporting heritage of the Letterfrack-Ballinakill parish.
The origins and evolution of the GAA at national and county level constitute an integral part of this book. The club scene comes under the administrative remit of both county and regional boards and in this regard, I chose to include a number of reports and articles relating to same. These serve to present the reader with an enhanced sociological understanding of the issues, problems and positives which prevailed during different eras within the whole gaelic sporting experience in Galway and Connemara.
The personalised accounts of some of the main protagonists down through the decades is without doubt the most enjoyable, original and insightful dimension to this volume of work and I am eternally grateful to all of these people for being so generous with their time. Their stories take the reader on a series of nostalgic journeys down memory lane and resonate strongly on an emotional level.
Pride In The Parish endeavours to capture the essence of the parochial passion and spirit which universally characterises the gaelic sporting experience. It is this magical ingredient which sets the gaelic sporting experience apart and gives it a uniqueness which, in this writer’s humble opinion, isn’t replicated in any other sporting sphere. If this book helps the reader to arrive at a true sense and appreciation of the above, then perhaps I will have succeeded in achieving the most important aspect of what I set out to do.