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Final volume of Joe Martin’s ‘The GAA in Tyrone’ history series to be launched on 12th December

By Gerard Tue 21st Nov

Final volume of Joe Martin’s ‘The GAA in Tyrone’ history series to be launched on 12th December
Final volume of Joe Martin’s ‘The GAA in Tyrone’ history series to be launched on 12th December

The Tyrone County Board will publish Memories: 1900-56 – the fifth and final volume of Joesph Martin’s acclaimed The GAA in Tyrone history series at the County Convention on 12 December.

Joe Martin, who died in August, served as Tyrone’s county historian for nearly half a century and was regarded as one of the foremost historians of the GAA. As The Irish News put it, “few counties, if any, have had anyone to match his efforts”. Over the course of that period he wrote four books, charting the painful struggles of the early Association all the way through to the triumphs of the modern era.

In the last months of his life he worked on a final volume – Memories: 1900-56 – which the County Board is proud to publish at the County Convention in Garvaghey on 12 December.

Memories is a special book. In his first volume back in 1984 Joe regretted that “it has not been possible to record the anecdotes recalled with joy or sorrow, the little incidents on the field of play or at the committee meeting which are the very stuff of history”. In the last years of his life Joe went back to his own extensive archive, as well as the more recent work of a new generation of historians like Dónal McAnallen, to address this gap.

Memories captures the soul of the early GAA in Tyrone and the people who sustained it in tumultuous times when its very survival was often called into question. It includes:

  • a first-hand account of one of the earliest County Finals;
  • memories of the struggle to sustain the GAA through the First World War, the pandemic of 1918 and the years of political turbulence that followed in Ireland;
  • descriptions of the remarkable characters who rebuilt the GAA in Tyrone in the 1920s;
  • the too-often hidden but important story of camogie in the early GAA in the county;
  • other stories covering from the beginning through to the historic breakthrough of the first senior football championship success in 1956.

Memories captures a series of fascinating and crucial contributions to the county’s Gaelic story which might otherwise be lost.


  1. Memories: 1900-56 is printed by Ecclesville Ltd, Fintona, and will be published to coincide with the Tyrone County Convention on 12 December.
  2. Any media wishing to speak to a member of Joe Martin’s family about the book should can get in contact via email at

Joseph Martin’s extensive archive of GAA history will be shared between the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Library and Archive in Armagh, and the Tyrone GAA Centre in Garvaghey. Arrangements for that will be announced in 2024.

By Gerard Tue 21st Nov

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