Lawn-tennis, cricket, and golf we play, and play well; to rowing many of us are enthusiastically devoted; and at handball our young men—and some not so young—are signally expert. The champion handball player has always been of Irish blood. Baseball we invented—and called it rounders. It is significant that the great American ball game is still played according to a code which is scarcely modified from that which may be seen in force any summer day on an Irish school field or village green. Perhaps something of hereditary instinct is to be traced in the fact that many of the best exponents of American baseball are the bearers of fine old Irish names.
This brief and cursory review of Ireland at Play must now conclude. It is scarcely more than a glossary, and not a complete one at that. It may, however, serve to show that Ireland’s record in sport, like her record in so many other things set forth in this book, is great and glorious enough to warrant the insertion of this short chapter among those which tell of old achievements and feats of high emprize.
Racing—Irish Racing Calendar: 1790-1914, 124 vols. (Dublin, Brindley and Son); The Racing Calendar: 1774-1914 (London, Weatherby and Sons). Breeding—The General Stud Book: 1908-1913, 22 vols. (London, Weatherby and Sons). Racing and Breeding Generally—Cox: Notes on the History of the Irish Horse (Dublin, 1897). Boxing and Athletics—Files of Sport and Freeman’s Journal.
By JOSEPH I.C. CLARKE,
President, American Irish Historical Society.
“War was the ruling passion of this people,” says MacGeoghegan, meaning the Milesians who were the latest of the peoples that overran ancient Ireland up to the coming of Christ. How many races had preceded them remains an enigma of history not profitable to examine here, but whoever they were, or in what succession they arrived, they must, like all migrating people, have been prepared to establish themselves at the point of the spear and the edge of the sword. Two races certainly were mingled in the ancient Irish, the fair or auburn haired with blue eyes, and the