‘It Was Strange, But Tough!’: American Football’s debut in Ireland, 1953

Sport in American History

By Guest Contributor David Toms

In Ireland, when people think of the connections between the America and Ireland, most often their minds will turn to the role of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Irish emigrant communities, or perhaps to first, second and third and multi-generation Americans who played baseball, basketball, and American football.[1] Rarely do Irish people think of the role of American sport in Irish life at home. Since the advent of global satellite television broadcasts, however, American sport has found a more prominent place in Irish life. Many Irish people will these days profess to having a particular American football team they follow, or through meeting study-abroad students while in university, will come into contact with the world of college football. But American sport has a much longer and deeper tradition in Irish life than perhaps many Irish, or Americans, may be aware. In the first of two…

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