Monday, August 10, 2009

National Pastimes in Ireland

When we got up yesterday morning we were greeted by groups of sports fans singing outside our apartment making their way on the tram to the stadium in the north of town (Croke). Most of the people in town were decked out in the jerseys of their favourite team as the national finals for the two most popular sports in Ireland were taking place. Gaelic Football is similar to rugby and hurling is a game like grass hockey only with a lot more action and the players are allowed to toss the ball in the air and hit it like a baseball. It was quite amazing to see so many people wearing the team jerseys and I think the atmosphere in the stadium was much like we might expect a soccer match to be with lots of drinking and singing.

Of course another pastime is Irish dancing which we got a little taste of (in addition to a pint) at the Guinness brewery yesterday. Tonight we're heading to the Gaiety theatre for a performance of Riverdance.

It's kind of odd here but all the signs are in two languages - English and what we would call Gaelic, although it would be called Irish here. All students study it in school. We also went to see the ancient Book of Kells, an incredibly beautiful and intricate manuscript over 1000 years old.

The weather has been kind of gray with the occasional drop of rain and ray of sunshine. Not enough rain to worry about and warm enough to enjoy. We're hoping it stays dry for our golf game tomorrow at Clontarf Golf Course.

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