GAA Mobile Seminar

2 Oct

On 27 September 2013, several students for the DBS Irish Studies class made the trek to Killester to visit the local GAA club. From previous students who studied in Ireland, I knew that this seminar would be an exciting way to experience Gaelic football and hurling. However, I expected to casually walk around the pitch, and maybe watch actual players demonstrate the sport. When we arrived, the students were given a brief introduction to the sports with an overview of the rules and regulations. After the brief explanations, our instructor took us all to the pitch to put our “skills” to practice. I played soccer and softball as kid, but found both Gaelic Football and Hurling took way more hand-eye coordination than I would ever have.

         After we left the venue, I had time to think about some of the historical events and cultural movements our instructor briefly touched on. He explained the depth of these sports in Gaelic culture and the pride that each county shows for their respective teams.  Before attending this mobile seminar, I thought that Rugby and Soccer were major sports in Ireland. However, I did not realize that they were considered “English” sport and were banned from Croke Park. In fact, at one point in time, Gaelic players could be banned from playing if they had been found partaking in rugby, soccer, or cricket (the regulation has since been rescinded). Croke Park was specifically for Gaelic games, such as hurling and football. In 2006, the GAA allowed the park to be used by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) under temporary conditions.  One of the most memorable rugby matches played in Croke Park occurred in February of 2007 between the Irish and British teams. This game was highly symbolic of Bloody Sunday in 1920, which provided for a very emotional win by the Irish. 

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