We here at The College of Global Studies’ Dublin Center believe that students who are abroad in Ireland should be afforded every opportunity to immerse themselves deeply into Irish culture. And there is perhaps nothing more intrinsically Irish than our Gaelic games! Gaelic games are the traditional sports played in Ireland. The two main Gaelic games are Gaelic Football & Hurling, both of which are organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).
Last weekend we took students from Galway, Limerick, Clare, Dublin and Belfast to na Fianna GAA Club in Glasnevin for an instructional clinic with the staff of Experience Gaelic Games! This two hour session was all about participation regardless of gender or skill level. The fun was to see how well students could master a new sport. We all know the importance of using sports as a team building exercise and hopefully some friendships were formed among the Arcadia student community in Ireland.
Students were firstly given an audio-visual introduction to Gaelic Games and to how the games are played. Then the real fun began! Students were brought by specially trained coaches to learn the basic skills of the ancient stick and ball game of Hurling, and the simplicity and speed of Gaelic Football.
In one session, students were able to understand why Gaelic Games grip the Irish nation every summer, why every parish in Ireland has its own GAA club, and why Gaelic games – more than anything else – explains what it is to be Irish.