When I first got to Galway, I noticed that the streets were covered with maroon and white checkered flags. Every business has a good luck sign and I couldn’t walk two minutes without seeing somebody wearing a Galway jersey. Galimh Abu, which means Go Galway or On Galway, was written all over. One of my teammates told me that the All-Ireland hurling final between Galway and Waterford was this weekend. Hurling is one of the most popular sports in Ireland and it’s not uncommon to see kids playing in a field or carrying a stick around. I had never heard of it before but figured it would be worth it to check it out.
On Sunday, thousands of people gathered in Eyre Square, kind of like a big park downtown, to watch the game on a giant flatscreen. A few of my teammates helped me to understand the game and it was actually very exciting. It’s kind of like a mix of a few American sports. There are elements of football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey in it. The score would show at times 1-11 to 0-14 and that really meant that it was tied at 14.
Anyway, Galway ended up winning their first title in quite some time and the city erupted. It was basically like a city winning the Super Bowl in America. Everyone had a great time and there was even talk of work and school being shut down the next day. Overall, it was an unbelievable experience and one that I could not have pictured myself in a year ago.