ABOUT BUFFALO FENIANS GAA
The Buffalo Fenians Gaelic Athletic Association
The Buffalo Fenians Gaelic Athletic Association (“the Fenians”) is a non-for-profit, volunteer led, community based amateur sporting entity in Buffalo, New York. Through our volunteers, our Club is committed to the promotion and preservation of Gaelic Games and Irish culture in our community.
The Fenians is the local affiliate of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The GAA, based in Dublin, Ireland, is a sporting and cultural organization that has a presence throughout the world. The GAA is celebrated as one of the greatest amateur sporting organizations in the world today.
The Fenians’ aim is to foster an environment where there is a total dedication of social responsibility, where leadership qualities in our youth are encouraged and developed. Through Gaelic Games, we enable our youth to take accountability and ownership of designated club initiatives and instill in them lifetime values. We encourage all our players, male and female, to strive for excellence. Our Club values children, young people and adults of our community and we welcome their participation in all our activities. We regard our Club as a community that prizes an atmosphere of respect, disciplines, security and harmony, in which quality coaching and athletic skills can develop. Community is at the heart of our association. Our Cub has also grown exponentially, especially within our adult men’s, adult ladies and hurling programs. Our Club has children from ages 5 to 17 participating in Gaelic Games throughout the spring, and summer months, as well as adults from the age of 18 years plus. Our teams participate in local games and some weekend events which are organized by the North American GAA Committee.
History of the "Fenians"
The Buffalo Fenians Gaelic Football Club took their name from the Fenian Movement from the 1800’s. The Fenian Brotherhood was an Irish organization founded in the United States in 1858 by John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny. John O’Mahony was an Irish scholar who named his organization after the Fianna, which was the legendary band of Irish warriors led by Finn McCool.
The Fenian Brotherhood was formed to try and overthrow British rule in Ireland. Their plan, in 1866, was to raid Canada and seize control and force the British to exchange
Ireland’s freedom for Canada. An expeditionary force crossed the Niagara River on the night of May 31, 1866. They captured Fort Erie and defeated Canadian forces at the Battle of Ridgeway. In the end, the invasion was broken by the United States’ authorities lack of support. There is a monument on the banks of the Niagara River commemorating the Buffalo Fenians’ invasion point. The Fenian Movement, although unsuccessful in its attempt to free Ireland was a stepping stone in the growing Irish Nationalist Movement. The heroes of 1916 owe a lot to the heroes of 1866.
Buffalo’s two former Gaelic clubs, Na Fianna and Cù Chulainn, drew from Celtic mythology for their names, much like O’Mahony did when naming his movement, The Fenian Brotherhood. It is the mixing of Celtic mythology, as well as local Irish American, history that makes “Fenian” a truly inspired name for our Gaelic club in Buffalo.