Getting Into Gaelic Football and Supporting the Women's Team

Sep 21, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Jessica Kisluk

Jessica Kisluk

Jessica Kisluk is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Broadcasting and Mass Communication major at  SUNY Oswego, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

In this week's post, Jessica visits Croke Park as part of CAPA Dublin's My Global City event and attends the women's world championship game for Gaelic football.


This past week has been full of adventures in my new city. My friends and I have explored a lot of the downtown area and found out we loved Penneys, which is a huge discount clothing store, with some houseware and makeup items as well. We also ate at Nando’s for the first time, which is popular for their Portuguese-styled chicken dishes and so many delicious hot sauces to choose from. There are also many Tesco grocery stores around the city, but the big Tesco at one of the shopping centers in the city was super helpful in finding items and food that we could not find at our local Tesco express.

Holding a Replica Cup at Croke Park
Holding a replica of the Gaelic football cup.

We took also took a hop on, hop off tour bus that helped us to get a better orientation of the city, as well as learn a lot about it. The bus took us through the largest public park in Europe, Phoenix Park. The park includes a zoo, sports fields, the United States ambassador to Ireland’s residence, as well as the President of Ireland’s residence. We learned so much on this tour, but my favorite place so far has been Croke Park.

Welcome Sign to Croke ParkThe welcome sign into the stadium and museum.

As part of a My Global City event on Wednesday, the CAPA group took a tour of Croke Park, which is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Gaelic football and hurling are the main sporting events played here, although the stadium does host football and rugby games as well. The cool thing about this stadium is that there is no home team, and it is a neutral stadium. The teams that come for games are sorted into the locker rooms in Irish alphabetical order, so there is no bias.

Different Teams and Jerseys in Croke ParkSome of the jerseys from different regions of Ireland displayed in the locker room.

The players who play the Gaelic sports do not get paid. They also have to play for the team in the area they grew up in, which means that players never switch teams. If you were born in Cork, you play for Cork. If you were born in Dublin, you play for Dublin. Some of these players are so devoted that they live somewhere else and travel back home to practice and play on the weekends. One of the professors told us that his daughter started hurling at 5 years old. I don’t know if you know much about hurling, but the players hold a big wooden stick and use a small ball. They do not use any protective padding, only a helmet. Just imagine the bruises from missed swings!

CAPAStudyAbroad_Dublin_Fall2018_From Jessica Kisluk - Watching Gaelic Football at Croke Park
The Gaelic football game in action!

I really did not know anything about Gaelic football, but it is totally different from soccer in my opinion. Players can use their hands and run with the ball, but have to bounce it on the ground or kick it to themselves after three steps. There are also two ways to score—through the goalposts or into the net guarded by a goalie. The goalpost score is worth 1 point and the net score is worth 3 points, so it is possible that a team could score more, but still lose a game.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Dublin_Fall2018_From Jessica Kisluk - Supporting This Team with My FriendsThe other CAPA students and I supporting Dublin, the winning team!

I came to Dublin at a perfect time, as this Sunday was the Gaelic football women’s championship where they also tried to break the record for the most spectators at a women’s sporting event in Europe! We made sure to buy tickets (that were only 10 euros) and attend the game (this was separate from the My Global City event). The teams playing in the senior championship were Dublin and Cork. My flatmate and I even bought blue Dublin apparel and a Dublin flag to fit in with the crowd. We headed to our first Gaelic football game and had a blast. We also broke the record of attendance with over 50,000 people at the game! If you were wondering, Dublin took the win!

I'm starting classes soon, which is a whole other process compared to the United States. Wish me luck!

Thanks, Jessica!

Jessica's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.

 Learn More about the CAPA Dublin Program

Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Local Culture