Essays on Heroism in Sport in Ireland and France

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At the heart of the collection are the sporting links between Ireland and France, and the question of what constitutes sporting heroism. The approach adopted is innovative in its diversity: contributors include not only historians, but also literary critics, sporting administrators, a psychologist, and a prominent cyclist and sports writer, and each brings his or her orientation to bear on the subjects treated.


“This collection… seeks to understand our sporting heroes within the widest context. What makes a hero? Historically who have our heroes been? What have been the changing social settings for our heroes? How do our heroes react to their own position in society? That these questions are asked, and better still answered, makes this collection an excellent addition to the literature…. All of the contributors are well-known in their respective fields, and each of the chapters could easily have found its way into the relevant international journal for the respective topic areas. Indeed, the wide spread of sports, chronological periods and disciplinary approaches is one of the fascinating facets of the book. At each turn there is something new and challenging.” – Mike Cronin, International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University

“The subjects examine range (to mention just a few) from the Tour de France to the establishment of rugby in Ireland, from notable rugby encounters between Ireland and France to the Olympic Games, from the cricketing career of Samuel Beckett to the football career of Rachid Mekloufi, from the role of the Dublin Pals in Gallipoli to advice on how to be a sporting hero, from the status of professional sportsmen to the question of drug taking in sport…. The book makes a valuable contribution to the history of sport in the two countries, and highlights very clearly the extent to which sport plays an essential role in the construction and representation of national identity, and intersects always with far-reaching moral and social issues.” – Tony Ward, Rugby Correspondent, Sunday Independent

“This book goes way beyond my narrow view of the sporting world and offers a deep insight into the sporting links between the two countries. Naturally, given the fact that the Tour de France coming to Ireland sparked off the idea, cycling is featured strongly in this production, and the careers of Shay Elliott, Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche as professionals in France are graphically illustrated merely by the use of words. Cycling is probably the most demanding sport in the world…. The section dealing with Elliott, his rise and fall, is particularly revealing and sensitively handled…. a compelling read.” – Barry Coughlan, Rugby Correspondent, Irish Examiner

Table of Contents

Preface (Richard Holt)
1. Heroism in Sport: Ireland and France (Sarah Alyn Stacey)
2. In the Name of the Father: The Life and Death of an Irish Cycling Hero (Paul Kimmage)
3. An Irish-French Sporting Connection: Daniel Bulger, Pierre de Coubertin, and the Modern Olympic Games (Cyril White)
4. Samuel Beckett as a Cricketer (John Luce)
5. Une amitié musclée: français et irlandais sur les terrains de rugby (Jean-Pierre Bodis)
6. The Kid from Lens, the Sultan, and the Divine Miss L: Some Varieties of French Sporting Heroism (Philip Dine)
7. Heroes or Villains? Professional Footballers in Pre-Great War Ireland (Neal Garnham)
8. The Dublin Pals (Gerald Morgan)
9. Football, Athletics, and Cycling: The Role of Trinity College, Dublin in the Evolution of Irish Sport (Trevor West)
10. Heroism in Action: Exploring the Minds of Expert Athletes (Aidan Moran)

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