Gaelic Games are a collection of traditional sports that are native to Ireland: hurling, football, camogie handball and rounders. In Ireland Gaelic Games are much more than just sports, they are interconnected to the very fabric of community in nearly every town of the country. It’s much like football in Texas, basketball in Indiana, and hockey in Minnesota.
Gaelic football is played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The primary object is to score by driving the ball through the goals, which is known as a goal (worth 3 points), or by kicking the ball over the bar, which is known as a point (worth 1 point). The team with the highest point score at the end of the match wins. The female version of the game is known as Ladies Gaelic Football and is similar to the men’s game with a few minor rule changes.
Hurling is a stick and ball game played by teams of 15 on a rectangular grass pitch with H-shaped goals at each end. The primary object is to score by driving the ball through the goals or putting the ball over the bar and thereby scoring a point. Three points is the equivalent of a goal. The team with the highest score at the end of the match wins. It is over three thousand years old, and is said to be the world’s fastest field game, combining skills from lacrosse, field hockey, and baseball in a hard-hitting, highly skilled game. The female version of the game is known as Camogie and is very similar to hurling with a few minor rule changes.
As Irish have moved to different parts of the globe they brought Gaelic Games along with them. It was a way for Irish to meet other Irish, build a community and get a bit of home away from home. As the Irish diaspora started to make new roots, they established clubs and started to teach the games to children and non-Irish players. Today there are over 1,000 clubs outside of Ireland spanning the globe from Australia to Argentina. In North-America we have hundreds of clubs, and new ones are springing up every year by players who were touched by the games.