The founding father of the Gaelic Athletic Association Michael Cusack once wrote that the association spread across the country’ ‘like a Prairie fire’.
That it did, and with Irish emigration continuing throughout the late 19th century and into the 20th century gaelic games were brought to many continents, being played in the USA, Australia and South Africa amongst other places. In 1928 the newspaper, Honesty, reported on the playing of Irish national games, including hurling, in Australia, where huge numbers of the Irish diaspora attended games in Sydney. In the 1920s the Gaelic League newspaper in Australia, ‘An Dord Feinne’ published articles about the playing of Gaelic Games in that country, praising the merits of the game on all occasions. These in turn were copied by Irish newspapers as proof that the playing of national games were part of the cultural identity then emerging in the years after independence. Irish newspapers also published other material from ‘An Dord’ including poetry and short stories which were written by Irish exiles the living in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne amongst other places. According to ‘An Dord’ in 1928:
[Hurling] survived through long centuries and is born with its noble traditions. The consensus of opinion is that the game is very ancient indeed so ancient that the origin is shrouded in antiquity. In its own sphere it is true as an expression of Irish temperament and mentality as the Gaelic language, traditional music or national dancing… the game must live in a national atmosphere if it is to gain a foothold. Every hurler therefore and every follower and patron of the game should join the Gaelic league and take part in its work so that they may embody the Gaelic spirit which has always been the life of this pastime.