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GAA Founder Patrick Ryan Remembered

Mayor Scott Manjak joined Gaelic Athletic Association members in remembering Patrick Ryan recently in Cranbrook .

Ninety-one years after his death, Joseph Patrick Ryan, a son of Ireland who greatly contributed to the early development of Cranbrook and British Columbia, was honoured recently as one of the last of the seven original founders of the Gaelic Athletic Association (November 1, 1884 in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Tipperary) by the Canadian County Board.

Ryan was remembered at a beautiful and moving mass in St. Mary’s Church with Father Harry Clarke celebrating. The President of the Canadian GAA, Brian Farmer, spoke passionately about the role of the GAA at the end of Mass and the importance to Canada that one of the Founders would be forever remembered.

The North American Board (GAA) was represented by Eamonn Kelly (PRO) Chicago and many Irish Canadians in the Cranbrook area were on hand with representation from a number of counties including Antrim, Armagh, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Derry, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Sligo, Tipperary and Westmeath.

As the last event of the GAA’s 125th anniversary year, GAA members from Ireland, Seattle, Vancouver, Red Deer and Toronto gathered for the seventh founding member.
It was edifying to see the interest and pride on display for a true Son of Erin buried in a foreign land and for one who contributed in establishing the greatest amateur sporting organization in the world.

Wreath laying ceremonies conducted at Ryan’s grave included Clonmore, Armagh’s Brian Farmer of the Canadian Board, Eamonn Kelly of the North American Board, John Keane
(Honourary Irish Counsel in Seattle) with Loughgiel, Antrim’s Paul McGarry of the Seattle Gaels and Cranbrook’s Mayor Scott Manjak .

Ryan’s grave was surrounded on Dec. 18 by the GAA’s 125 anniversary flag and those of Ireland, Canada, USA and British Columbia. Those gathered in the snowy cemetery sang three national anthems with due dignity. A brass plaque was attached to the grave that remembered the events of this auspicious day for the GAA in Canada and for acknowledging the place of Ryan in GAA history. Terry and Hilary Segarty, who organized the day at the local level and the Knights of Columbus, who are celebrating 125 years in Cranbrook, acted as honour guards.

Story courtesy Kootenay Advertiser
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