History will be made in Carrick-on-Suir next Monday afternoon as part of the Clancy Brother’s Music and Arts Festival as it hosts the world’s first urban poc fada, backed by the GAA.
Similar to the Cooley Mountain event, but in an urban setting and over an intrinsic one mile course, the aim is not all about how far you 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.
Starting at 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.
Participants from inter-county hurling teams and local teams will feature in the event, which is free to the public, giving them a chance 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 mean 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.
Another founder of the GAA (who gets overlooked) Joseph Patrick Ryan is also a Carrick man, while it is also believed William Foley, also from Carrick was present at the meeting, taking records.
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 skill sets 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 events 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.
This is just one of the many wonderful events taking place in Carrick-on-Suir this weekend as the Clancy Festival coincides with the inaugural Maurice Davin Festival. The latter event is the culmination of many months’ hard work by the organising committee to celebrate the life and achievements of one of the founding members of the Gaelic Athletic Association and a world champion track and field athlete.
The nine-foot statue of Maurice Davin has assumed its spot outside the Davin Park and will be unveiled by GAA president Liam O’Neill at 3pm on Saturday.
Later in the Carraig Hotel, an exhibition of memorabilia about Maurice Davin and Carrick-on-Suir’s GAA Clubs will open at 5pm. On Sunday a one-mile run starting from the Davin Park, will be led by former World 5000m champion and Olympian Eamon Coghlan.
The Clancy Festival has a rich offering of music, arts, theatre and much more with Damien Dempsey headlining this year’s festival at The Strand Theatre on May 31 at 8pm. Charlie McGettigan will play at the beautiful Brewery Lane Theatre on Saturday June 1 at 8.15pm (€15). There will also be a songwriting workshop with him at Brewery Lane Theatre earlier in the day from 4-6pm (€20). Meanwhile the streets of Carrick will come alive with a busking competition on Saturday June 1 across two age categories: under 18s between 1pm – 3pm, and seniors 3.30pm – 5.30pm. Winners will be announced on the day and there will be cash prizes. Entries are being taken at the Heritage Centre and forms can be found on the Clancy Festival web site.
The festival will be the stage for over 100 local artists, photographers and schools who will take part in the art trail which will be decorate the town again this year. Shops and venues all about town will be transformed into exciting galleries and pop up shops for this year’s event. Prepare to be blown away by this year’s festival.
More information is on the Clancy Brothers Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/ClancyBrothersMusicAndArtsFestival?fref=ts