Sydney Showground to host Sydney Irish Festival in 2018
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Paul Sergeant Events (PSE) have announced that the inaugural Sydney Irish Festival will be held on 10th and 11th November 2018 at the Sydney Showgrounds in Sydney Olympic Park.
Presenting a two day fusion of art, culture, music, dance, food and drink, the Sydney Irish Festival will culminate in a competitive Hurling match between two championship-winning teams for the 2018 Wild Geese Trophy.
The Wild Geese Trophy will be a fully sanctioned, competitive game contested by reigning All Ireland champions Galway and the winner of the 2018 National Hurling League. It will be the first time a full format Hurling game will have been played outside Ireland.
Named in honour of six Irish Fenians who successfully escaped the penal colony drudgery in Western Australia in 1876 - an act of defiance that would later become known as the Catalpa Rescue - The Wild Geese Trophy aims to mark the cultural respect that exists between the Australian and Irish people.
The Sydney Irish Festival kicks off on Saturday 10th November with family friendly entertainment throughout the day including traditional Irish dance performances and competitions, hurling clinics, amusement rides, player autograph sessions, activities for kids of all ages and a Guinness Book of Records attempt to make the world’s biggest Irish stew.
As the day transitions into evening entertainment patrons will be able to enjoy comedy and live music culminating in a major concert commencing at sunset with soon to be announced global artists to headline.
Day two on Sunday 11th November will commence with the Big Irish Brunch, more family friendly activities, hurling clinics and live music in the build-up to the pre-game welcome parade of the teams into the stadium, before the teams take the field for tip-off at 3.30pm.
Hurling dates back to the 7th century and is one of the national sports of Ireland.
GAA President, Aogán Ó Fearghaíl, who was recently in Australia, commented “hurling is a warrior sport - it’s very, very different to any other sport you may have seen.
“It’s fast, combative and incredibly skillful and we’re delighted to be given the opportunity to bring a full blooded, competitive game to Australia as part of the Sydney Irish Festival.
“The Irish are immensely proud of the game of hurling and the players are excited to make the trek to play in what will be one of the highest quality displays of the game.”
PSE Managing Director, Paul Sergeant, added “we are honoured and incredibly proud to be a partner of the GAA for this historic event. The GAA has been fantastic to work with and learn from and we are really looking forward to playing our part in bringing the incredible game of hurling to Australia.
“It will have been two and a half years in the making by the time the game comes around and we intend on delivering a weekend the Irish community can be proud of.”
Sydney Irish Festival Ambassador, former Sydney Swans player, Tadgh Kennelly, concluded “the Sydney Irish Festival is a fantastic concept merging everything it means to be Irish into one weekend. To have the game I grew up with showcased in Australia at an elite and competitive level is really exciting.
“The players will be giving their all and I can’t wait to see a packed out Spotless Stadium. The whole weekend will be packed with entertainment for everyone from live music to food and drink, family friendly activities, comedy and what’s shaping up to be a brilliant concert Saturday night. You can’t miss it.”
The Sydney Irish Festival is a celebration of everything it means to be Irish and a “must do” experience for anyone with Irish heritage. For the non-Irish, it’s the best way to experience the fun and friendly Irish culture without leaving Australia.
For more information go to www.sydneyirishfestival.com
Lower image shows Spotless Stadium.
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