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Presidential Recognition for Ulster Research

8 February 2010

Dr David Hassan, from the University of Ulster’s Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute (SESRI), was the guest of President Mary McAleese at her home Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin today.

President McAleese hosted the reception in honour of the work of Dr Hassan, alongside that of Roddy Hegarty and Dónal McAnallen from the Cardinal O Fiaich Library and Archive in Armagh, following the recent publication of ‘The Evolution of the GAA’, which charts the history and contribution of the Gaelic Athletic Association to Irish life over the past 125 years and earlier.

The book, which has proved to be extremely popular with Irish people at home and abroad, has since received critical acclaim. Dr Hassan was joined by leading GAA officials from Ulster at the reception, which is considered a very positive endorsement of sports-related research at Ulster.

Dr Hassan said: “It was a huge surprise but a great honour to be invited to Áras an Uachtaráin and be received by the President and an unexpected recognition of the work involved in bringing the book to fruition.”

The book also included a contribution from Dr Paul Darby, a fellow member of SESRI and the University’s School of Sports Studies. Dr Hassan spoke at the reception at the President’s Official Residence in the Phoenix Park and paid tribute to those academics that had charted the social and historical significance of the GAA at home and abroad and acknowledged the tremendous support offered by the University of Ulster in permitting him the necessary time to undertake this work.

It is expected ‘The Evolution of the GAA’ will shortly be published in paperback following the success of the hardback version while Dr Hassan has been invited to a ceremony to take place shortly in honour of the only founding member of the GAA from the province of Ulster, County Down’s John McKay.