For decades, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) played the “games of the Gaels”, Gaelic football and hurling in various parks and American football stadiums throughout Chicagoland. The idea of a permanent home, dedicated to GAA sports, was always a dream.
In 1979 members of the GAA put a plan in action to acquire land and build a facility for their sporting purposes. They had a broader vision, however. Their dream included a home for a wide variety of Irish organizations and activities. Thus Gaelic Park was born. “Once a dream, now a reality” was its initial step.
Gaelic Park remains a premier facility for Gaelic sports. No less than Sean Kelly, former President of GAA, once stated that “Outside of Croke Park in Dublin, Chicago Gaelic Park is the finest Gaelic Athletic facility in the world.”
Simply stated, the mission of Gaelic Park is to preserve and promote the culture and heritage of Ireland. The Irish national games provide a fitting beginning. The expanded mission, however, includes the music, dance, language, literature, theatre, art, and religion of Ireland. Besides the GAA, Gaelic Park provides a home for numerous independent organizations and groups to celebrate a multitude of Irish activities. Its mission is alive and will continue to expand and evolve along with the heritage and culture of Ireland.