The Pearse Park Redevelopement Page<

The G.A.A. in Scotland

Pearse Park in the 21st Century
Pearse Park is the name given to the playing field which has become the adopted home of Gaelic Games in Scotland, situated on the main road between Cambuslang and Rutherglen on the South East side of Glasgow. This piece of land was purchased by the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1953 for the benefit of those who wished to indulge in Gaelic Sport, and other Irish cultural activities such as the annual sports days, and it is unique in Scotland in that it belongs to, and is vested in the Irish Community.

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Pearse Park is therefore regarded as a little piece of Ireland nested in Glasgow, and it has become a symbol of Irish culture in Scotland, and for exiles a symbol of pride in their homeland.
It is this pride that motivates the Pearse Park Redevelopment Committee, a sub-Committee of the Scotland County Board to strive to provide the best that can be achieved within our means, in the knowledge that we are facilitating Gaelic Games and promoting the development of Irish culture. We wish this to be an open and inclusive committee that aims to provide the opportunity for everyone in Scotland, irrespective of culture, creed or class to participate in and enjoy our games and our warm hospitality. The maintainance of a good playing surface and more recently, the plans to build state-of-the-art changing and showering facilities are our main priorities. This humble, but hospitable edifice will be held in trust by the Gaelic Athletic Association in Scotland for the benefit of present and future generations.

Pearse Park Redevelopment: Lottery Grant Fund
On behalf of the Pearse Park Redevelopment Committee of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Scotland I would like to provide some information relevant to the development of the GAA Sports facilities in Scotland, Pearse Park in Cambuslang, Glasgow. Pearse Park was purchased in 1953 by a visionary Committee led by Charlie Quinn (a native of Dromore, Co Tyrone), and the current Life President, Eonie Kelly, Ederney, Co Fermanagh, and soon became the County ground, and the adopted home of Gaelic Games in Scotland.

History of local fundraising: Pearse Park redevelopment has, over the years benefitted from the tremendous support received from various quarters and, in particular, the efforts since the setting up of the Pearse Park Redevelopment Committee in a launch at Jurys Pond Hotel, Great Western Road, Glasgow on 24th November 1992. Instrumental in the raising of funds during the period 1992 to 1996 was the Annual Challenge Exhibition game in Glasgow, and the goodwill of County Boards in Ireland and senior county football teams resulted, not only in the raising of the valuable revenue which assisted with Pearse Park Redevelopment but also in raising the profile of the GAA in Scotland. Those teams that contributed participated in the following fixtures, playing for the Willie Dowds Memorial Trophy:

Donegal v Mayo on 7th February 1993,
Donegal v Derry on 30th January 1994,
Donegal v Dublin on 12th February 1995,
Dublin v Tyrone on Sunday 24th March 1996.

We also obtained substantial assistance from the Irish Community in Scotland and owe a deep debt of gratitude to these people, some of whom were in the Pearse Park Redevelopment Committee and were instrumental in the organisation of the aforementioned events. This included representatives of relatively small family businesses to large commercial and corporate organisations.

Pearse Park drainage programme: The funds raised in the functions that we held between 1993 and 1996 were used to obtain planning permission and prepare the lottery bid, and also to carry out a pitch drainage and resurfacing programme. This was carried out by our own dedicated personnel led by Mick Moran, Eonie Kelly and Frank Conway in Spring 1999 - and this has made a tremendous difference to the playing surface of the football pitch. We still however have no changing or showering facilities, and we are aware that this has seriously compromised our efforts to develop youth and ladies football in particular. It also provided funding for temporary accommodation / changing facilities at the pitch and to pay for the professional services that enabled submission of a comprehensive and competent Lottery application.

SportScotland Lottery scheme: In December 1999, we took advantage of an opportunity that presented here and submitted an application for Lottery Funding under the SportScotland scheme to develop our Gaelic Games sports facilities at Pearse Park. On 3rd April 2001 we received a letter from SportScotland advising that our application was successful and an offer of funds up to a maximum of £49,300 was made. The purpose of this grant is to contribute towards the building of changing rooms, showers and toilet facilities which are in a dilapidated state at present. This, in turn is expected to raise the profile of the GAA in Scotland, and will boost the level of participation in Gaelic games such as Gaelic Football, Hurling, Shinty/Hurling, Camogie and Rounders.

Support from Croke Park: This facility at Pearse Park is vested in the GAA under the umbrella of Croke Park in Dublin with Trustees appointed in Scotland, and we have been very well supported in Scotland by successive Presidents of Cumann Lúthchleas Gael. Peter Quinn, Jack Boothman and Joe Mc Donagh have all attended events or functions in Scotland and they have all been very positive about our efforts to help ourselves in raising funds for the development of Gaelic Sport and Culture here.

At the Financial Advisory Group / "An Coiste Bainisti" meeting in Croke Park on 15th March 2002, they agreed to fund the redevelopment of Pearse Park, Glasgow to the tune of €63,486 and, furthermore, that 50% of this would be a grant and the other 50% (€31,743) an interest free loan. This proposal was very warmly received by the Scotland County Board and Pearse Park Redevelopment Committee. We believe that funding from Croke Park will prove mutually beneficial.

Acknowledgements: Members of the County Board, under the leadership of present Chairman Charlie Mc Cluskey, immediate past Chairman Mick Moran, Chairman for much of the 1990's Jimmy Kelly, Secretary Ann Marie Miller, Treasurer Frank Conway and Youth Development Officer Tommy Main have made a very significant contribution. Members of successive County Boards since 1992, and members of Pearse Park Redevelopment Committee, not directly involved in the County Board such as John Gallagher, Niall Loakman and Maurice Rochford have all played a part in this success.

It would be impossible to speak about Pearse Park without the mention of it's caretaker and Honorary Life President of the GAA in Scotland Eoin Kelly. Eoin was in the GAA in Glasgow in 1953 when the Park was purchased and has lovingly cared for it ever since. Also the lottery application would not have been possible without the considerable help of John Toal, a Chartered Engineer who has generously and selflessly dedicated much time and expertise to this project over the years.

It is people within our own ranks like all those mentioned above, and John Toal (Chartered Engineer), Mick Moran (Building Contractor) and Eddie Kerr (Chartered Architect) whose contacts and expertise in many aspects of the Construction industry and Billy Nugent (Solicitor) who will be instrumental in the management of the present and future funds that we obtain for Pearse Park Redevelopment.

We hope that the final product will be worthy of the effort that will continue to go into it's construction, and that many of the future generations, as well as the present will be the beneficiaries.

Go raibh míle maith agat, Is mise le mór meas,

Peter A Mossey