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Cumann na mBunscol Naisiunta

‘Cumann na mBunscol, 50 Bliain ag Fás’ Launched Recently in Croke Park

26th Jan 2024

‘Cumann na mBunscol, 50 Bliain ag Fás’, a book marking the first 50 years of Cumann na mBunscol, the organisation promoting Gaelic games in primary schools in all 32 counties of Ireland, was launched in Croke Park recently by Brian Cody, former Kilkenny manager.

 “Brian was a primary teacher himself for his entire working life and trained teams for Cumann na mBunscol activities so he was a natural choice to launch the book,” explained Joe Lyons, National Chairman of Cumann na mBunscol and co-author of the book along with Ciarán Crowe. INTO president Dorothy McGinley was a guest at the launch while General Secretary John Boyle, a former Cathaoirleach of Cumann na mBunscol Áth Cliath, was a keynote speaker. Links between INTO and Cumann na mBunscol span several generations. Tom Waldron from Kilkenny served as INTO President in 1982-1983 and held the office of Uachtarán of Cumann na mBunscol from 1981-1985. INTO has sponsored the INTO GAA Respect Exhibition games (fondly known as the Mini Sevens) since the 1980s. Cumann na mBunscol was founded in 1971 as a national organisation promoting Gaelic games in primary schools.  The Cumann na mBunscol 50th anniversary book, ‘Cumann na mBunscol, 50 Bliain ag Fás’, covers the story of the organisation’s first fifty years. It includes a chapter on the evolution of primary school games in each of the 32 counties, in each province and on the national scene as well as features on the INTO Mini Sevens, Handball, Rounders and other areas. Ciarán Crowe and Joe Lyons have previously written two books on Limerick hurling, At Last in 2018 and 20/20 Vision, Hurling and Limerick in 2019. They have also produced a magazine, The Green and White, in Limerick since 1996. “In compiling this book, we met marvellous, visionary people,” said Joe.” Each county is deserving of a book of its own. With difficulty, we stopped at 840 pages!” As well as chronicling the first fifty years of the organisation, the book is a celebration of the volunteers who have given of their time and expertise for decades. It also celebrates the joy children experience playing Gaelic games with their friends.   Contributors include Michael Darragh MacAuley, Shane Horgan, Séamus Callanan, Alan Dillon T.D., Benny Tierney, Síofra O’Shea,  Anne Dalton and Aoife Neary. Away from the world of sporting personalities, authors Donal Ryan and Dave Hannigan, Danny O’Reilly of the Coronas and racing journalist Donn McClean are among those who fondly recall playing Gaelic games in primary school. Brian Cody performed the official launch of Cumann na mBunscol, 50 Bliain ag Fás. In the course of his address, a few points made by Brian stood out. “ I have obviously first- hand experience of seeing the operation of the whole thing, being a primary teacher all of my working life , what's always struck me about teaching and teachers and the work you do with promoting Gaelic games….   The word that I always zone in on and that matters to me massively is volunteering…. the volunteers and the work that they do as volunteers and of course that’s at the very core of the GAA.” “It's so, so important to give them (children) the opportunity to get out and enjoy sport. And that's the big thing about it, to enjoy sport, to get to love the games.” “A copy of the book was delivered to each primary school in the Republic in the run-up to Christmas. We are grateful to the DES for covering cost of delivery. We hope the book will be placed in the school library to be enjoyed by teachers and pupils alike. The book would make an ideal present for anybody interested in Gaelic games, especially retired colleagues with an involvement in Cumann na mBunscol,” said Ciarán. Cumann na mBunscol, 50 Bliain ag Fás is available from selected bookshops nationwide. Online sales from with no charge for postage.