Fraher / Ó Faoláin Collection

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Reference code: GAA/FOF/
Title: Bailiúchán Fraher / Ó Faoláin
Dates: 1885 - 1993
Level of Description: Item/Collection level

Provenance:
This collection was originally compiled and maintained by Daniel Fraher (Domhnall Ó Fearchair), who was born near Dungarvan, Co Waterford, in 1852. Domhnall was an accomplished all round athlete, participating in running, jumping, weight throwing, hurling and football - in 1885 Domhnall participated in the first Gaelic championships, held in Tramore, Waterford. Domhnall was associated with the Gaelic Athletic Association from its inception, at club, county and national level. One of Domhnall’s most notable contributions was his guarantee of the loan to the G.A.A. for the 1913 purchase of Jones’ Road, subsequently renamed Croke Park. Similarly, in 1912, Domhnall purchased land in Shandon, Dungarvan for use by the G.A.A.: in the 1970s this field was officially renamed ‘Fraher Field’.

Following the death of Daniel Fraher, in 1929, the collection was maintained by Daniel’s daughter, Cáit, and her husband, Pax Whelan (Ó Faoláin). In turn, the collection was retained by Cáit and Pax’s son, Domhnall, until his untimely death in 1995. Pax, Cáit and Domhnall each added contemporaneous material to the collection.   

When Domhnall died in 1995, his only daughter, Siobhán Ní Fhaoláin, was living in Australia – the collection, in its entirety, was transported to Australia. In 2005, Liam Mulvihill, then Director-General of the GAA, approached Siobhán expressing the Association’s interest in acquiring the collection. An agreement was reached between Siobhán and the GAA in 2011 with the collection deposited in the GAA Museum in January 2012. 

Content and Structure

Scope and Content
The records relating to athletic meetings, 1885-1909, positions this collection as one of the earliest, and most unique, collections held by the GAA Archive. Throughout its formative years, the Gaelic Athletic Association was predominantly concerned with athletics, rather than hurling and football. The athletics programmes within this collection serve as a record of the event itself while the various administrative documents offer historians primary evidence of how such events were organised. Administrative matters in these documents include fundraising and subscriptions for the meetings, the income and expenditure connected to the events and the general organising of the events.

The collection also holds some of the earliest known club documents, from the Dungarvan Gaelic Athletic Association, including the handwritten rules of the club, a club minute book covering the formative years of 1886-1891 and two club account books covering 1885-1886 and 1890-1895. All of these offer a fascinating insight into the earliest years of the GAA, at local level. At County Board level (Waterford County Board) the collection again contains some of the earliest documents including account books, a membership notebook and a minute book covering 1927-1933. Included also is the first minute book of the West Waterford Divisional Board, covering 1929-1933. 

In addition to primary-source records, the collection further consists of publications including GAA match programmes (1953-1993); GAA Official Guides and Rule Books; newspapers and a collection of books, including a copy of the rare 1916 publication Story of the GAA, First History of Great Organisation by Thomas O’Sullivan. The collection also contains a diverse range of 120 photographs showcasing the history of the GAA in Dungarvan and Waterford. 

This archive collection provides researchers with the primary-source material required for an in-depth study on the formative years of the GAA, at local level. This is currently an under-studied area of the history of the GAA.  

Conditions of Access and Use

Conditions governing access: Access is strictly by appointment only using the
                                                          provided application form.               
Language:                                      English             
Finding aid:                                    Descriptive list