Hello again world!
So our timing arriving to Waterford could not have been more perfect! We just so happened to have arrived during the same weekend that the All-Ireland Hurling Final was taking place, and lucky for us Waterford was in the final. Waterford has not won in 58 years, so to say the locals were excited is an understatement. Everywhere we looked there were blue and white flags, house decorations, shirts, hats, scarves, face paint, car flags, etc. The town was quite literally painted in blue and white!
Jas and I were a little confused as to what hurling was exactly, but apparently it is the number one sport here in Ireland. Someone compared it to the Super Bowl, so that gives you an idea of just how big this game is across the country. We were excited to head down to the City Centre to soak in the atmosphere and learn a new sport! There were thousands of people lining the streets here in Waterford. In the middle of the City Centre there were two huge viewing screens up for people to watch the game. There were so many people down there you couldn’t move in either direction. It had been so long since Waterford has won a Final, you could feel the hope and pride of the crowd as the game began.
I have never seen any game quite like hurling. I would describe it as a mix between rugby and lacrosse. It is one of the most physical sports I’ve ever witnessed, and the pace of the game is so fast it kept me mesmerized the entire time (I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen!). The ball moves so fast up and down the field with guys being hit and thrown in every direction I wasn’t sure where to look at times! It is definitely a fun sport to watch and I would highly suggest for those of you who have no idea what it is to look it up and watch a match or two. It’s is pretty interesting to witness, especially because (to my knowledge) there is no sport out there that allows as much contact as these guys were dishing out. It basically looked like a brawl the entire time, but it’s worth your time to google it and see if it peeks an interest!
It was a tight match the entire 70+ minutes, both teams battling back and forth the whole time. The “oohs” and “ahhs” throughout the entirety of the game, with everyone getting a little more nervous as the clock ticked closer and closer to the end. I even found myself getting nervous and wanting Waterford to win, the energy in the crowd was contagious! Unfortunately, with the final buzzer sounding, Galway had defeated Waterford by only 3 points.
Even though this city has been desperately waiting for a win, the members of the Waterford hurling team truly gave it their all, and you couldn’t help but applaud the effort. Which is exactly what everyone around us did. Even in defeat the Waterford hurling team were still hero’s to this community. That was evident the next day when everyone came back and lined the streets yet again to welcome them all home. It was something pretty special to witness because in America you don’t tend to see sports teams being embraced and welcomed home in such a way when they have lost. Normally only the winners have a special welcome home parade. So the camaraderie in this city is something truly special, and just makes me that much more thankful to be in this incredible place.
Hope you enjoyed this blog, stay tuned for more posts and videos!
Have a great day!