On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours

On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours

So.

Hurling and camogie have been granted special status by the United Nations cultural body. I like the name of the list that UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) uses: the Intangible Heritage List.

I would have thought hurling and camogie tangible enough, if you were given the task of being marked (pun intended) by a Catherine Foley or Daithí Burke for 60 or 70 minutes of championship fare. But I get what they mean – as distinct from buildings and objects and so on. In a way, describing sports as intangible is a good idea, because it’s the feelings we have about sports that matter, not their physical presence or essence – or importance. Continue reading “On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours”

Fógra: A Message from the PRO

Fógra: A Message from the PRO

A chairde, welcome to the August 24th, 2018 meeting of the Committee. The Rúnaí can’t be here tonight, he’s asked me to deputise on his behalf.

First item on the agenda. The PRO wants to pass on the following information, though the chair:

 

Tadhg Coakley’s novel in stories, The First Sunday in September, was shortlisted for the Mercier Press Fiction Prize, 2017 and was published by Mercier Press in August 2018. It tells the story of a fictional All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday, from the points of view of several recurring characters, exploring recurring themes. Continue reading “Fógra: A Message from the PRO”

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

All of the 71,000 souls who took the pilgrim path to Croke Park yesterday to live the moment in Limerick’s exquisite win over Cork experienced a scatter of emotions. Not just those who travelled, either – but hundreds of thousands of others who watched or listened in. Here are some of mine before the game.

A sense of intention, of purpose, when I wake in the holiday home five minutes before 6am. Up and at ‘em. Here we go, here we go, here we go, and all that. Mount Brandon is stretching itself up into clouds, as it usually does. The gate leaves a creaky grumble when I free the latch. The water on Smerwick Harbour is a slate grey, waves flecking the surface. Continue reading “What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park”

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

So, anyway, I wrote this book. I got down off the ditch and into the game. Great view from the ditch, you can hold forth in high judgement and you can hide there, in the crowd. Not easy being inside the white lines, against tough opposition, making a show of yourself with everybody looking at you. Nowhere to hide. But I did it, anyway. Continue reading “To Win Just Once – The Game Is On”

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Sport is about emotion. I’ve said this before. Other things too, but mostly emotion. And sometimes the emotions aren’t good but we seek them out anyway. We make ourselves vulnerable to them, we put ourselves out there. We let ourselves be open and exposed. Not a common stance for men. We stick our unprotected heads above the parapet in the full knowledge we could get our blocks knocked off. Continue reading “Admiration, Wonder, Joy.”

A Child Watches Cork Play Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, June 2018

A Child Watches Cork Play Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, June 2018

Cork are playing Limerick. It’s your first time in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Your cousin Sean was there before, and for the Clare match too, but he’s seven and you’re only six.

Your friend Conor is coming too. He’s the best hurler in your class but you’re faster at running.

You spend the whole day pucking your sliotar against the wall of the house, scoring goals for Cork. You can’t wait for half-past four, that’s when your dad said ye’ll be leaving. You run into the house loads of times to check the kitchen clock. Continue reading “A Child Watches Cork Play Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, June 2018”

An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling

An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling

I watched the Clare Cork match on Sunday (May 22, 2018) in an unlikely place, in the town of Cherokee, North Carolina, near the Tennessee border. We’re on holiday down South and we’ve come to walk in the Smoky Mountains and drive up The Blue Ridge Parkway.

And, sitting here in this Welcome Centre, so far from home and Páirc Uí Chaoimh, I’m struggling with that familiar feeling of guilt when I’m not around to cheer Cork on. As if my presence in the Páirc today would make one iota of difference today among 25,000 others, but that’s just how it is. I’m struggling too with GAAGO’s intermittent signal, and I’m thinking of Irish emigrants all over the world, for many of whom this is a regular summer Sunday experience.

I imagine Cillian, a young Clareman in Melbourne, Australia. Continue reading “An Emigrant Watches Clare Play Cork in Hurling”