Carrick-on-Suir will be hosting a first next Monday afternoon as part of the Clancy Brothers Festival – an Urban Poc Fada.
Starting a 1pm on Monday June 3, from the 13th century Ormond Castle, the event will make its way through the streets of the 11th century town and finish up beside the river park near The Maurice Davin Memorial Grounds.
What The Clancy Brothers Festival and Carrick-on-Suir is hosting is the inaugural GAA backed Urban Poc Fada – similar to the Cooley Mountain event but in an urban setting and over a shorter but more intrinsic, one mile course. The aim is not all about how far one can puck a ball but how to navigate your way around an urban environment. It mixes the skills of hurling, with technique and a deft touch – the essential components of the art.
The event will have participants from inter- county hurling teams and local teams. It is a free event to the public, but it gives them a chance to get to see some of the best sliothar craftsmen and women, doing what they do best, but far from where they feel most comfortable. The narrow streets means the public can be a part of the action.
Carrick’s significance to the GAA cannot be overlooked – and its importance can be seen in the home and headquarters of the Association, where two of the three stands are named after men from the town and adjoining villages - the first President of the GAA, Maurice Davin is commemorated in the new Canal End stand, while the most famous stand, the Hogan Stand is named after Michael Hogan from Grangemockler, the Tipperary football captain who was shot in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday, possibly the most referred to day in the GAA’s history.
Another founder of the GAA (who gets overlooked) Joseph Patrick Ryan is also a Carrick man, while t is also believed William Foley, also from Carrick was present at the meeting, taking records.
There are many fabled GAA names from the town of Carrick-on-Suir and surrounding villages as Reade, Roche, Wall, McCarthy and Ryan all representing their colours with honours on the hurling field, as they have on the football field, handball alleys and athletic track also. Tom Kiely of Ballyneale, was the story of the third Olympiad held in St Louis, USA.
The location of Carrick-on-Suir as the confluence of three county borders marks it out as special venue to host the event and we feel no other location could put as definitive a relevant or historical stamp on such an event.
Traditionally hurling has been seen in a rural context and the mystique associated with it has an old-Ireland feel, however the skills of hurling have as yet to be put into an urban environment, not necessarily to challenge the perception of the game, but as a tool to add to the promotion and access of the game. Basketball has done it, soccer has street side, but now, even golf and tennis amongst others have harnessed urban settings to highlight the skillsets of their games.
Hurling is a perfect sport for this kind of activity. Already there is the Cooley Poc Fada, there is road bowling – but these event are still attached to the rural Irish setting. This event will bring a new concept and perceptual setting to something already ingrained in the cultural psyche –Hurling.
So come to Carrick-on-Suir this coming Monday at 1pm, to see hurling outside its comfort zone, and the players close up.
More information can be found on the Clancy Brothers Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/ClancyBrothersMusicAndArtsFestival?fref=ts