Nithe Tábhachtacha … Áit Thábachtach: Important Things … Important Place – Gaelic Games in Kildress

The story of Gaelic games in Kildress is the story of Kildress … difficult times, limited resources, several setbacks, the odds seemingly stacked against it … but all the time a firm belief that our place, our people and the Gaelic tradition were important and that the future could be made better than the present and the past.

The first recorded GAA activity in Kildress is of a game between Dunamore Shamrocks and Tulnacross Shamrocks (aided and abetted by players from Kileenan and Killucan) played in March 1891. By 1904 there was a football team in Gortreagh and by 1911 Dunamore Red Hand was playing in a Cookstown District League.  But as was to happen across much of Tyrone and Ulster, political turmoil saw the GAA in Kildress go into decline before re-emerging in the form of Kildress St Mary’s in the 1930s. At that time Camogie too had a presence locally and other local townland-based teams emerged. In 1952 Kildress Gaels with vision and foresight created a single, Parish-wide GAA Club, Kildress Wolfe Tones, gifting us the Gaelic games legacy we enjoy today.

Since then CLG Uilf Toin Chill Dreasa has grown significantly, winning Tyrone Junior (1966, 1994 and 2020), Intermediate (1971 and 2011) and Ladies Junior (2012) Championships. In 2003, that unforgettable year for the GAA in Tyrone, Kildress Cenel Eoghain, our then Ladies Club, merged with the Wolfe Tones. The ambition of the 1950s – a single parish GAA Club – was at last fully realised.

The Wolfe Tones’ base at Gortacladdy too has changed dramatically with the original Clubrooms rebuilt and extended several times, the pitch re-laid, a stand built and a second, fully-floodlit pitch and underage games area added.

We’re now completing the biggest single project in our Club and Parish history, the £1.4m ‘Aras Chill Dreasa’, our Club Hub building at Gortacladdy which replaces our old Clubrooms. It’s something we have put a huge effort into and of which we are very proud, not least because we’ve more-or-less made it happen ourselves with very limited outside help and because it will anchor our community here for the coming decades.

History is history, to be reviewed, re-lived, learned from and enjoyed. It’s also to be built on. The Wolfe Tones started out in 1952 by putting one team on the field. Now as a Club we deliver:

  • 16 different teams, for Kildress boys and girls, men and women
  • Regular structured coaching for 250/300 of our young people
  • GAA playing and cultural/activity facilities which are as good as any anywhere
  • A Music/Culture section which involves up to 100 children
  • Regular participation in Scór
  • Support for the Irish Language and traditional activities such as St Brigid’s Cross-making

We’re proud of our place and proud of our Club. We believe our place, Kildress, is the better for having a GAA Club in it. The better our Club gets, the better our place gets. By supporting or contributing to us in any way, you’re helping with all that. And thank you for it.

Come and join us:  do your bit! Bígi linn is cuidigh linn!