Aonach Tailteann

Tá achan duine saite sna Cluichí Oilimpeacha faoi lááthair. Spórt don bhricfeasta, spórt don lón, spórt don dinnéar agus achoimre spóirt sula dtéann tú a luí.

Ach bhí ‘Cluichí Oilimpeacha’ dár gcuid féin in Éirinn fadó. Bhunaigh an dia Lugh Aonach Tailteann in ómós dá mháthair Tailtiú. Chuaigh na cluichí sin ar aghaidh ón réamhstair go dtí gur tháinig na Normannaigh go hÉirinn i 1169. Deirtear go bhfuil baint ag Aonach Tailteann le ‘Póstaí Tailteann’. Mhair na póstaí seo bliain amháin agus cuireadh deireadh leo le searmanas speisialta gach bliain. Ní shílim go mbeidh athbheochan an nóis seo ann, cé go smaoineodh a lán daoine gur mhaith an cuimhneamh é. Thosaigh an tAonach ar an 1 Lúnasa agus mhair sé seachtain: tháinig ríthe, taoisigh, agus daoine uaisle ó gach cearn chuige. Rinneadh iarracht an tAonach a thabh

airt ar ais i 1924. Thug an Rialtas nua i mBaile Átha Cliath tacaíocht agus tháinig lúthchleasaithe ó Shasana, ó Albain, ón Bhreatain Bheag ó Mheiriceá, ó Cheanada, ón Afraic Theas, agus ón Astráil. Bhí spórt de gach sórt ann: lúthchleasaíocht, dornálaíocht, iomrascáil, rothaíocht, mótarspóirt, seoltóireacht, cluichí CLG, agus a lán eile nach iad - níos mó ná mar atá sna Cluichí Oilimpeacha sa lá atá inniu ann, leoga!

D’fhreastail 20,000 ar an chéad Aonach i bPáirc an Chrócaigh I 1924. Bhí Aonach eile ann i 1928 agus 1932. Ach de réir a cheile, cailleadh spéis san ócáid. Cuireadh Aonach 1936 ar athló agus i 1939 chinn an Rialtas deireadh a chur leis na cluichí.

Tá costais na gcluichí an-suimiúil:

1924: Teacht isteach: £17,831; caiteachas: £17,254; brabús: £577.

1928: Teacht isteach: £9,738; caiteachas: £8,002; brabús: £1,736.

1932: Teacht isteach: £6,930; caiteachas: £6,941; cailliúint: £11.

B’fhéidir gurb é sin fáth amháin gur chuir an Rialtas deireadh leis: bhí siad ag gearradh siar ag an am sin fosta!

Everyone is into the Olympic Games just now: sport for breakfast, sport for lunch, sport for dinner and a sports summary before you go to bed. But we had our own Olympic Games in Ireland long ago. The god Lugh founded the Tailteann Games in honour of his mother, Tailtiú. These Games continued from prehistoric times till the Normans came to Ireland in 1169. It is said that the Games were associated with Tailteann marriages. These marriages lasted a year and were brought to an end with a special ceremony every year. I don’t think this custom will be revived, although many people would think it is a good idea. The Games started on the 1st of August and lasted a week: kings, chieftains and noblemen came to them from all over.

An effort was made in 1924 to revive the Games. It was supported by the new government, and athletes came from England, Scotland, Wales, America, Canada, South Africa and Australia. There was every kind of sport – athletics, boxing, wrestling, cycling, motor sports, sailing, GAA games and much more – indeed more than in the present day Olympics!

20,000 people attended the first Games in Croke Park in 1924. There were other Games in 1928 and 1932. But gradually people lost interest. The 1936 Games were postponed and in 1939 the government decided to end the Games.

The cost of the Games makes interesting reading.

1924: Income: £17,831; expenditure: £17,254 ; profit:£577.

1928: Income: £9,738; expenditure:£8,002; profit:£1,736.

1932: Income: :£6,930; expenditure: £6.941; loss: £11.

Perhaps that is one reason that the government put an end to the Games: they were cutting back then as well!