The Significance of the Gaelic Games

30 Sep

Despite being a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon or your free time afterschool, the Gaelic Games represent a national bond for the Irish people. Although it is only an amateur sport, the fact that it’s so popular speaks volumes. For one, it shows that Irish people are quite proud of their athletes and value them with high honors. Thus, the Gaelic Games represent more to the people than just a way to waste time; it’s the level of commitment that they put into the games which unifies the entire country. Because each county has its own team, these Gaelic sports act as a way to keep in contact with people from neighboring or even far away counties.

As a result, I believe these Gaelic sports might’ve been a great way to stay connected to people all over Ireland. Because of this, I think the Gaelic Games became a great way to spread culture and ideas from county to county. Although I cannot say this with certainty, I believe the Gaelic Games were a very important factor in unifying Ireland. Gaelic sports like hurling, for example, also seem to demonstrate a large amount of violence and speed to it.

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The fact that hurling predates Christianity in Ireland, having come to Ireland with the Celts, might also shed light on a reason for how Ireland was unified. Furthermore, I believe the show of violence, speed, and agility exhibited in a Gaelic Game like hurling suggests the nature of early Irish settlers. Because of how it’s played, I think a strong connection can be drawn between the sport today and what the Celts used to be like back 2000 years ago.

Lastly, the growing popularity of Gaelic Games like hurling and Gaelic football over national sports like Rugby is confusing to me. Although I would think a national team would unify Ireland in a better and faster way, it seems like friendly competition has in fact done this instead. Thus, I conclude that these games were extremely important in creating a relatable and strong foundation for which to build an early Irish society.

– Philip Sypolt

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