Stories from Abroad: The Gaelic Games
Post by Jin Lin ’17, who shares a fun cultural experience during her study abroad program in Dublin, Ireland. Click here to learn about the many opportunities to travel abroad at Babson.
Courtesy of Arcadia University, I got the chance to learn and experience the heart of Irish culture, the Gaelic Games! We were able to learn the rules and play a game of Hurling, Gaelic football and Gaelic handball in 2 hours. I love anything athletic so I was pretty excited for this excursion. We bused to Na Fianna GAA Club with a few other Arcadia abroad students studying in Trinity College.
After getting briefed about the 3 sports, we were on our way to the fields! The first sport we tackled was Gaelic hurling. We all wore helmets and received a hurley and sliotar. The Irish calls the wooden stick a hurley and the ball a sliotar. Sophisticated, indeed. Anyway, boy was this game confusing! Hurling was like a mix of hockey, volleyball, and LOADS of balance.
You can hit the sliotar with the hurley to the net to score a point. You can catch the sliotar with your hands. You can pass with a bump with your hands. There were so many rules, I only remembered I could hit the sliotar with my hurley. Our group was separated into two teams and we played a game of hurling after learning the sport in 30 minutes. Not going to lie, it was intense.
Gaelic football had just as many rules. This game was a mix of soccer, American football, volleyball and basketball. I suck at hand-feet coordination and memorizing so many rules made this sport a difficult one for me.
The ball looks like a volley ball doesn’t it? It was so much harder!! I would knock out if some one hit that to my head… I don’t know about other Gaelic clubs in Ireland, but the Na Fianna one we went to was super friendly! We were offered water and snacks between games. Before we left, we managed to squeeze in 30 minutes of Gaelic handball which is exactly like the handball I used to play in middle school. I haven’t touched a handball in 6 years but at least I can still hit it back to the wall!! Yesssss haha.
Super fun event by Arcadia. After experiencing how difficult and intense this sport was, I commend Irish people for continuing and preserving their national sport by attending neighborhood Gaelic clubs all over the country.