Galway is gearing up for yet another festival and the first of its kind.
The International Hurling Festival will take place next month and will boast 16 teams from the USA, Canada, Britain, Europe, the Middle East, Austraia, and Argentina.
The tournament will also serve as an opportunity to promote the game of hurling in developing regions by including teams such as Buenos Aires, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and a European team made up of non-Irish nationals.
The festival, which is sponsored by Aer Lingus in partnership with Etihad Airways, will begin with qualifying games in the county towns Loughrea, Ballinasloe and Gort before the finals at Pearse Stadium. A ‘Best of Irish’ with a full food, craft and entertainment schedule of events is planned for Saturday September 21 at the Salthill grounds, with traditional music and dance events in venues throughout the city.
Declan Kearney, director of communications at Aer Lingus said a major portion of the airlines’ business was derived from inbound tourism.
“We decided that we wanted to organise our own gathering that would create a reason for tourists and the Irish overseas to visit Ireland in this special year. The game of hurling, like Aer Lingus, is uniquely Irish. As we pondered a suitable Gathering we very quickly decided that the great game of hurling was the perfect uniquely Irish medium on which to base an Aer Lingus Gathering event.”
To coincide with the senior element to the festival, a local underage tournament will run over the course of the festival.
The Aer Lingus International Hurling Festival will run from Wednesday September 18 to Saturday 21.