Experience Gaelic Games
Drinking Guinness, listening to trad music, cutting turf... there’s lots of ways on an Irish holiday where you’re told you can ‘be Irish’. Diving into an action-packed session of Experience Gaelic Games comes closer than most and there won’t be a paddy cap within a hundred metres (an optimistic estimate).
At Experience Gaelic Games, local coaches teach you the basics of the Irish sports of hurling and Gaelic football as well as trying your hand at handball and knocking out a few beats on the bodhran (Irish drum).
For the uninitiated, Gaelic football is a kind of mix of soccer and rugby in a number of ways and hurling is played with a stick (hurley) and small ball so would most be akin to hockey and lacrosse. Apologies for these two exceedingly basic comparisons. I’m sure I won’t be forgiven for mentioning soccer but there isn’t the time or compunction to delve any deeper into the complexities of these uniquely Irish pastimes of which I know ten percent of the rules.
The coaches really do go back to basics with these hand-on lessons and you will end up feeling like a child again as the seemingly simple skill of picking up a small ball with a stick all of a sudden seems like doing long division whilst on a unicycle. Don’t be put off if you haven’t even heard of these sports before either because you won’t be expected to have any prior knowledge and it is all a bit of fun in the end.
If you’re in a group you can have a private session but otherwise you can just join in a public session. These sessions rarely get competitive so beyond sporty footwear there’s no need to change into your tracksuit with matching sweatbands – just turn up with a can-do attitude and abide by other motivational sayings.
There are a number of locations in Dublin, Cork and Galway. In Dublin the centre is at Na Fianna GAA Club in Glasnevin on the north side of Dublin just off the main airport road. Regular buses go from O'Connell Street.