Michael Cusack

Michael Cusack ( Irish: Mícheál Ó Ciosóg ) ( born September 20, 1847 in Carron near Corofin, County Clare, † November 27, 1906 ) was an Irish teacher and founder of the Gaelic Athletic Association. He served James Joyce as a model for the figure of The Citizen in the novel Ulysses.


Little is known about his childhood. He grew up with his five brothers and sisters in poverty. In his parents' house exclusively Irish was spoken. English he learned only when he, the newly founded Carron National School visited from 1858. In his spare time he drove regularly, especially hurling and athletics disciplines.

His work as a teacher

After Cusack had spent some years in the USA, he joined various Irish schools to work as a teacher. In 1874 he came to the Blackrock College, near Dublin. Finally, in 1877 he founded his own school in Dublin, the Civil Service Academy, which was often referred to simply as Cusack 's Academy. She quickly became a remarkable success and gave him a, for that time, substantial income. Through his work Cusack built himself a large circle of friends, which included politicians, university professors and well-known journalists. Politically, he was a supporter of the Home Rule movement under Charles Stewart Parnell. Even more than the policy interest Cusack but the revival of Irish culture and especially the promotion of the Irish language and traditional indigenous sports such as hurling and Gaelic football. Therefore, he encouraged his students to play sports, some he took himself back part in competitions and games. The Irish Sportestablishment that time, however, was determined english. This particular students and professors of the Protestant Trinity College played an important role. Of them first organizations for rugby, athletics and rowing have been created. These organizations, however, were clearly defined civil and joined professional groups such as artisans, laborers, and farmers from participation. Cusack criticized these restrictions several times sharp.

Cusack as the organizer of the Irish Sports

After founding his academy Cusack also began to sport more politically to get involved. In 1878 he was appointed to the Council of the Irish Champion Athletic Club. In the years 1880 and 1881 he organized some sporting events in Dublin, in which mainly took place athletics competitions. 1881 published anonymously Cusack three articles in the Irish Sportsman, the leading sports magazine of the time. There he put his ideas for an all-Ireland sporting federation dar. This should also encourage the political unity of the Irish and organized down to the local base. It should also be committed to the amateur thoughts and open to all social classes. A year later, in 1882, Cusack tried this thought then for the first time to lend through the establishment of the Dublin Athletic Club practical shape. But significant for the future was the establishment of the Dublin Hurling Club ( DHC ) in December of the same year. The ancient game of hurling had survived, especially in the rural areas of Ireland. In Dublin, however, it was virtually unknown. There, a somewhat defused version called Hurley was played, the more closely resembled today's hockey. Cusack's intention was to help the original style of play which he had known in his youth to break through. That's why he joined in the summer of 1883 - to travel by Munster to promote his ideas - but with little success. The tense political situation and the opposition of the Hurleyspieler, who had joined the DHC, led to the dissolution of the association. In September 1883 Cusack began therefore with some students weekly practice sessions in the Phoenix Park. This time he found surprising influx of other young people who were interested in the game. In December 1883, he had enough supporters found to call the Metropolitan Hurling Club to life. In the spring of 1884, the club joined to a first stint in Ballinasloe, County Galway, on. The popularity of the game was, Cusack encouraged the establishment of an all-Ireland sport federation advance. In the summer of 1884, he succeeded, especially in Munster to win support for nationalist politicians and church dignitaries.

Establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association

In October 1884 Cusack invited several people to a meeting in Thurles, County Tipperary, a. On November 1, 1884, the founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association ( GAA) was there, in the billiard room of Miss Hayes 's Commercial Hotel instead. About the number of people present, there is no clarity. The numbers fluctuate 7-13 The most important co-founder alongside Cusack was Maurice Davin, a farmer and internationally known athlete from Tipperary. His moderate political views should form a counterweight to radical Cusack settings and so make the organization for larger social groups acceptable. Davin was also the first president of the organization, while Cusack was voted one of three secretaries.

The organization quickly spread all over the country. Also contributed to the recovery of influential figures such as Archbishop Thomas Croke, Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Davitt, in as sponsor of the GAA. In the early years, Cusack attended with great personal commitment to the organization of local sports events and clubs. In particular, the Athletics played an important role, since for hurling and Gaelic football had to be created and disseminated only uniform rules. Cusack also had to repeatedly confront criticism, the GAA was a political organization and not a sports federation. The main objectives were for him to continue opening up the sport for the entire population and the preservation of traditional Irish sports.

During the year 1886, there was always more violent criticism of his personal leadership style. He was accused of neglecting the administrative work and the financial system, and in general his lack of ability to deal with criticism. On July 4, 1886, he was replaced at a meeting of the GAA with 47 to 13 votes from his post as secretary.

From his dismissal as Secretary to the death

In January 1887 Cusack founded the newspaper The Celtic Times. They looked at the first publication exclusively with the reporting of Irish sports. Cusack used the newspaper but also as a tool to criticize the GAA, of which he felt betrayed in sharp form. Despite some initial success provided the newspaper already made ​​their appearance in 1888 again.

In March 1893, Cusack was elected County Clerk of Dublin. His election led to a split of the Dublin GAA. After violent protests and the exit of some of Dublin clubs from the organization, a new board without the controversial Cusack was installed in February 1894. Until his death in 1906, he held no office in the GAA, but remained active as a member, speaker and referee.


The Cusack Stand in Dublin's Croke Park was named after him in 1927. In addition, several sports stadiums bear his name in Ireland.