On Sunday, I took myself down to Cusack Park. The local ground where hurling and gaelic football matches take place. I came to watch the yellow and blues, An Clar. The match was scheduled for 16:00, but I was already in the stadium with a Japanese musician whom came here to learn a bit of the traditional Irish tunes, similar to myself, as to what I did before heading off to Japan. We may have seemed to be there a tad early, but some SAA or minor league was playing and it was giving us a good preview of what’s coming up.
As per usual, when in Ireland, you’re constantly rewarded with rain. Though not the heavy kind of rain which usually falls to the ground. In Ireland, you are greeted with a misty rain that blows from the side, as well as from above. Even though, Dai and I were under the stand roof, from below and from across, we were constantly drentched. As we weren’t season ticket holders, we were in the standing zone.
As the stands started to fill with more fans, before we knew it, all of the empty spaces have been filled, and even the standing spaces out in the exposed area beyond the stand roof was covered by hurling fans.
As the players the came out from their change rooms, echos of An Clar, Limerick, could be heard. I’ve lived in Ennis for a while, but I never perceived Ennis like this. For me, it was always a place of traditional Irish music, but now I was surrounded by numerous GAA fans, and I could see the surrounding Ennis buildings at angles I’ve never seen before.
The match itself was full of adrenaline, and Clare supporters were constantly shouting chants of “Up the Banner!” which is the Clare supporters chant. The crowd was hot! Especially because they were against their neighbour, Limerick. The speed of hurling is totally amazing, and also seems quite insane how a hard ball is batted around with players not wearing any protective gear, aside from a cup or the occasional helmet. It’s nice to see athletes that aren’t buffly built but much leaner, built for speed. Whereas many N. American players are built like a frigg’n brick shit house.
All in all, the match was fabulous, and I was glad that I was able to experience another part of Irish culture.