That’s what Cormac O’Donnchú and Georgina Caraher have done with Experience Gaelic Games and the latest stage of their development came on Friday when Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport Pascal Donohoe officially opened their new visitor facility at Na Fianna GAA club in Glasnevin.
The new centre has been designed by RTE’s celebrity Architect Dermot Bannon specifically to act as an interactive interpretative centre to help explain the importance of Gaelic Games and the GAA in modern Ireland before visitors learn how to play Gaelic Games.
The team gathers young coaches to deliver introductory training sessions in hurling and football and has also developed a corporate arm bringing together teams from major employers like Google to learn the basic skills and cultural importance of the sports.
After only three years in existence it has been voted the number one visitor experience in Dublin on Trip Adviser.
“We started out with a precise vision of wanting to share what is important in our lives with those who want to visit our land,” said O’Donnchú at the opening.
“International visitors are amazed by the cultural impact of the GAA on Irish life and sometimes bemused as to why the games are not more widely known internationally”.
“When spectating at a game those who have visited with us now fully understand the cultural context and after playing themselves appreciate the real skills of the games. For the majority of our visitors the games become the most memorable experience of their time in Ireland.”
“This is a great initiative which fits so well with how we see ourselves as a country and how we would wish to be seen by those who visit,” added Minister Donohoe.
“As a child I suffered from chronic asthma and sport was always something that other people did.”
“When I came here to Na Fianna GAA club as a parent, it was with a sense of foreboding, that others would know so much more and be so much more involved.”
“That was swept away immediately. The inclusivity, the warm welcome and the sense that this was a place for everyone was overwhelming and I can honestly say that our involvement at the club has been an amazingly positive experience for me and my family.”
The team showed the Penn State College Football team the skills of hurling when they were here last month for the Croke Park Classic and will do so again for the delegates of the One Young World Conference bringing inspirational young people from across the globe to Dublin in October.
It’s a great success story and we are proud to have them as active members within the Sport for Business community.