Discovering Gaelic sports in Brussels
If you’d like to get a feel for Irish sports and culture, please come to Parc du Cinquantenaire on Sunday.
Have you ever heard about hurling/camogie? Or about Gaelic football? They are the most popular sports in Ireland, but are little known outside of the country.
Hurling (or camogie for women) is an outdoor team game, in which the players use a stick (the hurley) and small ball (sliotar). The aim is to hit the ball into the opponent’s goal, either over the crossbar (1 point) or under the crossbar (3 points), which is guarded by a goalkeeper. Hurling and Gaelic football have been played for centuries in Ireland, and there are over 2,200 clubs, which is a large number relative to the size of the country.
Gaelic football combines elements of football, rugby and basketball, and shares the scoring system of hurling.
Although they are very popular in Ireland, both sports are non-professional, which makes them unique compared to other popular sports around the world. The All-Ireland finals are held in a packed 80,000-seater stadium.
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Cork 2-21 Limerick 1-21 What an incredible game of hurling in Limerick #gaa
Another fun fact is how players are assigned to teams – it’s purely geographical! You play for the club of your village/town, and the elite players represent their native region.
Hurling/camogie and Gaelic football are therefore not only about sports, but also about culture and history.
If you’d like to learn more and see it being played live, we have good news: St Patrick’s Day is coming soon and in Brussels the Gaelic sport lovers, as well as their soccer counterparts FC Irlande, are organising an event showcasing the sports and culture next Sunday March 10th at Parc du Cinquantenaire.
The Belgian GAA club is made up of over 100 members from across the world (with over 20 nationalities represented). They play every Monday and Thursday from February to October at the VUB. The teams are also involved in the European Championships, facing teams from the Benelux region as well as Spain, France and Germany. Last year, Belgium GAA brought the trophy back in both hurling and camogie.
Don’t hesitate to drop in on Sunday from 12pm to get a feel for the Gaelic sports. If you’re not a sports lover, no worries, you can enjoy Irish music, dancing and language courses and of course a lovely pint of the black stuff!
Entrance is free of charge, it’s a great family day out, and as the Irish say, it’ll be great craic (meaning fun!).