Ireland: ‘Turning Sporting Heroes into Heroic Warriors’

By Purnell T. Cropper | August 17, 2010

Dr. Colin Ireland, Resident Director of The College of Global Studies Dublin Center in Ireland, presented a paper on “Turning Sporting Heroes into Heroic Warriors,” on July 30 at the 34th Annual Conference for the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures.

The conference took place at National University of Ireland, Maynooth. The conference’s theme was “Irish Literatures and Culture: New and Old Knowledges.”

Ireland’s paper integrated themes of Sport, Culture and Context, which was the college’s Life of the Mind Series theme for 2010. He analyzes episodes from Táin Bó Cúailgne, the early Irish epic narrative that details the adventures of the great Irish warrior Cú Chulainn. As noted in Ireland’s abstract, “Sport was the foundation of Cú Chulainn’s early training, and through sport one can see the makings of the great warrior he was to become.”

The paper detailed connections between early and modern Irish sports, as well as early Irish law, and paid particular attention to two modern English translations of the text.

The mission of International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures is to promote the teaching and study of Irish literatures and the development of the field of Irish studies, as well as facilitating contact between scholars and writers. More information about the Association can be found at, and conference highlights are available at