The GAA has launched its full programme of activities surrounding Novembers centenary of Bloody Sunday.
The focus will be on the victims of the infamous bloodshed at Croke Park in 1920 with a series of projects dedicated to the 14 lives that were lost at the lowest point of our birth as a nation.
We wrote over the summer about the impressive programme of events planned for the GAA Museum at Croke Park.
The B100dy Sunday – The GAA Remembers series will further aim to tell the story in a new way and bring it to a broad and digital-native audience as the Association pays tribute to those who went to a match and never came home.
A collection of specially commissioned videos focusing on the victims killed 100 years ago at a Dublin v Tipperary football match began online yesterday and will run over the next 10 weeks.
Created by Fifty-Three Six they are an evocative means of bringing history to life and we will be diving deeper into their background over the coming weeks.
You can look back on the opening profile of Dubliner Jane Boyle, who died in the crowd at Croke Park a few days short of what should have been her wedding day, in our Daily Video section.
A new section dedicated to Bloody Sunday has been launched on GAA.ie and will shortly also feature a free podcast for download produced in conjunction with Michael Foley, journalist, and best-selling author of the account of these tragic events, The Bloodied Field.
“Behind the history and the headlines of the Crown Forces attack on Croke Park in 1920 is a human story and a human tragedy,” said GAA president, John Horan.
“The appalling events of that Bloody Sunday changed the GAA and forever altered our relationship with the pitch at Jones’s Road.”
“How a place envisioned to be a home of unconfined joy was turned into a scene of carnage and horror is a tragedy that will never be forgotten. To honour those who went to a match and never came home we need to remember them, to pay our respects, and that is what we intend to do.”
Here are some of the highlights of the commemoration that we can look forward to and which will be covered in full on Sport for Business.
10 short films focusing on the victims of Bloody Sunday. Produced in collaboration with Dublin-based digital marketing agency Fifty-Three Six, the films focus on the humanity rather than the statistic of each life lost, and seek to draw attention, raise awareness and critically spark an interest for people to learn more about the tragedy of November 21, 1920.
The films will be released to eventually knit together into a single five-minute film which depicts the events of the day, 100 years ago.
This new area on GAA.ie is dedicated to this centenary where not only the videos will live but also a deeper background on each victim and a narrative of the time and event and its legacy.
The Bloodied Field Podcast
Exclusive to GAA.ie, an eight-episode podcast series on Bloody Sunday at Croke Park has been commissioned from Michael Foley.
Each episode narrates the tragic story on that Sunday afternoon in November 1920; the life and times of the victims, the political climate and the series of events that led to the Croke Park attack by Crown Forces.
The series will be available on GAA.ie/BloodySunday and Spotify.
Additional online content
With the assistance of staff writers and the GAA’s History Committee, a series of other key stories and tales from the event will be published on GAA.ie.; essays on key figures involved on the field at Croke Park, GAA leaders steering the Association through a war, as well as incredible survivor stories.
GAA Communications is working with the IFTA-nominated Twopair Films on a documentary that will be screened by RTÉ television next November and is based on Michael Foley’s widely acclaimed book on Bloody Sunday entitled The Bloodied Field.
Abbey Theatre collaboration
The Directors of the Abbey are commissioning a series of special one-man performances focusing on each of the 14 Croke Park victims and which the GAA are helping them to stage in the local GAA club or school of that victim.
The centenary commemoration event at Croke Park is due to take place before the Leinster senior football final on the evening of Saturday, November 21.
If permitted under restrictions, it will be preceded by a ceremonial ‘finishing of the match’ involving ‘Dublin’ and ‘Tipperary’ teams featuring either available county or club players. The event will feature a special narration that focuses on the memory of each of the 14 lives lost at Croke Park 1920 with a torch lighting ceremony, a wreath laying and a musical performance by Colm Mac Con Iomaire.
The five-year Bloody Sunday Graves Project has been addressing a number of unmarked graves and erecting headstones to these Croke Park victims in conjunction with their surviving relatives.
As plans are made to restore other graves in need of assistance, it is also intended to finish this project at a future date in a new memorial work on the front of Croke Park on Jones’s Road.
Centenaries of moments of death and historic division can be challenging to get right in tone and content. The GAA now exists as an organisation that lives in Britain as in Ireland, that welcomes traditions which could otherwise feel excluded if this was done in the wrong way.
By focusing on humanity and the victims it is a way of remembering the past and learning from it, without setting a spark to old enmities.
It is set to be a very special way to end a most incredible year.