The West Tipp community of Aherlow came together last week to prove that their community has what it takes to be crowned ‘G-Team 2001.’
The TG4 competition, which will be on our television screens later this year, challenges non-Irish speaking communities to maximise the use of our native language as they go about daily life.
Last Wednesday was Aherlow’s ‘G-Day’ - when a day filled with fun Irish events was held, and ‘inspectors’ judged the community.
Aherlow is one of twelve communities in Ireland that have been selected to take part in this new competition. In the first round they are competing against Dromahair, in Leitrim. The community that will proceed on to the next round will be known in September.
“Last Wednesday was the day to display how much we had learned,” Pat Moroney, one of the organisers of the day explained. Judges from Conradh na Gaeilge and Foras na Gaeilge were around on the day.
Events were held in the area from 10am. The day began with a mass as-gaeilge and the day was formally launched by local woman Lt Cmdr Roberta O’Brien, the first woman to captain an Irish naval vessel.
After mass refreshments were provided by the local ICA in ‘Cafe G’ where neighbours had a cuppa and chat in Irish. The emphasis was on being able to chat and friends helped each other with vocabulary.
A walk around the village was the next on the agenda, and this tour was conducted through Irish, pointing out the historical and other sites of interest in the village. Next was a ‘macnamh’ or a reflection, in Tig Roy, a cultural centre in the village, and then activities stepped up a gear with the sports day. Local children took part, and for the mammie and daddies there were sideshows, including sheep shearing.
As the afternoon progressed the local drama group staged an Irish play in the community hall.
The highlight of the day was the ‘cluiche mor’ - a replay of the famous Aherlow V Nenagh hurling match from 1993, down to the same referee, Jim O’Shea. The players from 1993 faced the current 21 year-olds and the commentary was again given by the famed ‘Effin Eddie’ who was helped along by Micheal O Muirheartaigh.
The final event of the evening was a Superhero competition which included Finn Mac Cumhail, a witch and a woman from the 18th century, all in costume and describing their powers through Irish. The night finished off with Irish music and dancing.
As part of the television filming cameras were located in local shops, pubs and the hotel, through the day, to see if locals were making an effort to speak Irish.
“It was a great day with great atmosphere,” Pat said, adding it was such an enjoyable day that people want to hold the event again next year. “It was a great day for the parish because it got all of the organisations working together. Every organisation in the parish and the community pulled together to achieve this,”