It’s been a couple busy weeks here in Ireland so I thought I would bring all up to date on the goings on here in Dungarvan and County Waterford (our home county). First off, as the blog name suggests, the Senior Hurling men of Waterford were victorious in the semi-final match of the All Ireland final in Dublin yesterday (yeah!). And one thing you need to know about Hurling in this country, it is a huge deal (I’m talking Trump huge)! Kathy and I and a couple friends made the trek up to Dublin to see the match (those of you who follow me on Facebook would have seen a few pictures from the day). All I can say is what a crowd! 72,000+ of us piled into the Croke Park Stadium to see a long time rivalry between these two strong hurling counties with fans dressed in blue and white (Waterford) and red (Cork) filling the stadium (far too many Cork colors unfortunately). The Waterford team rally cry, “Up the Deise”, could be heard far and wide in Waterford since the teams win against Kilkenny last month (their nemesis the last couple years) to win their All Ireland Championship bid. For those of you who need a refresher on hurling and the role it plays in Ireland, see my blog on Sport in Ireland.
Next up for the Waterford team is Galway on the first Sunday in September. Suffice to say, the county and town of Dungarvan will be hurling crazed for the next couple weeks and the weekend of the game will be a giant party. Think Super Bowl weekend and that will give you an idea of the hoopla surrounding this game, minus the commercials. For my Irish readers, the commercials are, for some in the US, more of a draw to the Super Bowl than the game itself. Croke Park in Dublin will be the venue for this game as well and will most certainly be sold out. The good news for the locals in Dungarvan is the game will be on TV of course, but will also be broadcast in all the pubs and even in the local movie theater. It’s best to watch with a group in a party atmosphere to get the full effect of the game. As my brother and sister-in-law will be visiting then, it will be time to start indoctrinating the rest of my family into Irish sports. It really is a great game and the local boys who play the game make it easy to root for the home team, unlike the pro’s back home who play for the highest bidder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a big fan of sports back home but it’s nice to see the local lads do well.
The match itself was the recap of a busy couple weeks for the Murphy family in Dungarvan. We had many visitors from Kathy’s family and even a 4 legged visitor (Roy) from a local friend of ours off visiting family in England. It’s always great to see family and show off all the great things to see and do in the town of Dungarvan. While people continually ask why we moved here, they quickly realize we made a good decision once they see what the town and area have to offer. Ok, I’m starting to sound like a tour company so I’ll stop there. One thing I will say is that the town has been completely swamped this summer due to the opening of the Waterford Greenway linking Dungarvan and Waterford City via a bike and walking path along the ocean. Visiting the Greenway is on the top of our to-do list for visitors when they come. The best part being a tunnel and bridge opening up to a large vista of the ocean (sorry, there I go again). You’ll see what I’m talking about if you come out for a visit!
Onwards…So no summer would be complete without the August Bank Holiday weekend (see my blog on Bank Holidays for more details on them). For all the worker bees out there, this 3 day weekend is probably one of the last times they’ll get a long weekend with (or without) the kids before they head back to school at the end of the month. For Dungarvan, the August Bank Holiday was the opening of the first annual (they hope) Dungarvan Music Festival. Organized by local musician and uilleann (il-en) piper, David Power, the event included three nights of traditional and contemporary music and dancing and a trio of outdoor mini concerts in the town and along the Greenway. We were fortunate to get tickets to the sold out Friday show in the local town hall called “Edges of Light” that we really enjoyed and even got a bonus show from the same harpist the next day under the gazebo in the park just down from our house. I got an excellent picture which I posted on Facebook of the harp with the ocean in the background. Sorry I can’t post pictures on the blog but you can always friend me on Facebook and see them there.
Update: Ok – it appears I can post just one picture.
A little about the art of blogging since I touched on my inability to post pictures. As one my nephews and fellow blogger says, it’s much easier to write a blog than to write a book. I would definitely agree with that since I’m up to Blog number 20 and sometimes find it difficult to even come up with ideas to fill up a couple pages let alone a 300 page book. I think I would lose most people past page 5 anyways since I’ve already been told by a few people that some of my blogs are too long 😦 After my initial shock at being told this I resign myself to the fact that I’m not a professional here but only an amateur, meaning I’m not getting paid for this. Kind of like the local lads playing hurling who don’t get a dime for their play and just do it for the fun of it. The fun of writing a blog is to get feedback and know that maybe you’ve enlightened a would be traveler or just provided a little entertainment for the blogee (not sure if that’s a word but it seemed to fit). All I know is I like to write them and some of you actually enjoy reading them – nuff said!
Finally, a quick recap on the actual trip up to Dublin yesterday. The mode of transport we chose was by bus given the anticipated traffic jams from Cork and Waterford using the same road to get up to Dublin. And let me tell you, the roads were jammed. It wasn’t so bad getting there since a lot of people arrived early to start the party but when the game ended and everyone headed out at once, the way out was wall to wall cars. What was worse was the traffic didn’t let up until we got to a cross roads where Cork went one way and Waterford the other (about 100km out). Suffice to say, it made for a long way home which was only mitigated by the fact that we were on a bus with a toilet (although said toilet was a little ripe after a while). Mental note for next time – take the train or bite the bullet and get a hotel in Dublin for the night (ka-ching!). The bus ride up was pretty tame with only a couple lads sucking down the beers but the way back was a little more active (you would hope) with some singing and carrying on. I will say that the big time drinkers on the way up barely made it back to the bus. They actually just happened to walk/stumble up to the bus as it had already pulled away and was a couple blocks down (stuck in traffic of course). The luck of the Irish was clearly working for them as they just literally bumped into the bus. The others on the bus actually cheered as they stumbled aboard.
OK – a little shorter than normal this week but I do have a special “Up the Deise” poem from our local Men’s Shed poet (also an amateur!).
But first, your Irish phrase for the week.
|PHRASE:||Cathain a bhainfidh an traenach/bus amach i Baile Atha Cliath|
|PRONOUNCED:||kohh-inn a bwin-igg on tray-nock/bus ah-mock i ball-yeh aq-hah klee-ah|
|MEANING:||When does this train/bus arrive in Dublin?|
Answer – not soon enough!
“Up the Deise” by Gerry Dalton
C’mon the Deise men, take your place upon the field
To your rebel opponent’s never, never yield
Rise up Deise men, take the sliothar from the sky
Put it between the post’s, hear the rebel’s cry
C’mon the Deise men, hear your county roar
Drive it to the net, seven times or more
C’mon the Deise men, show you’re champion class
Shake the rebel’s when hurley’s come to clash
C’mon the Deise men, PULL! Like days of old
The All-Ireland trophy will be yours again to hold
With the final whistle, you’ll hear your county sing
Let the rebel’s feel, the Deise’s biting sting
Rise up the Deise men, and bring the trophy home
Hero’s of the Deise, this title is yours to own
“UP THE DEISE”!
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