Nominated as Sports Book of the Year in the Irish Book Awards, ”A Parish Far From Home” tells the story of the first season of the Stockholm Gaels, and how Gaelic football brought the Irish community there closer together.
From the preface:
‘This story is not about sport alone. This is a story about what Irish emigrants abroad have achieved despite a lack of resources, despite still living in the shadow of our neighbour across the water, and despite being weighed down by the stupidity of some of the decisions made by our politicians.Even today none of us takes the decision lightly to leave our family and friends and go and try our hand in another country. But if we do … thanks to those who have gone before us, there is often a community ready and waiting to help us out on our arrival … You will find new friends and team mates who will do everything they can to support you. It won’t exactly be the same as your home parish — nothing ever could be. But what you can do is band together with these people to build something new and vibrant that you can all be proud of — a parish far from home.’
In the meantime, you can keep up with the goings-on in the author Philip O’Connor’s “Parish Hall” blog. Having defended their title as Scandinavian champions, the Stockholm Gaels are heading to Limerick and the final Eurpean tournament of the year, hoping to make a name for themselves on the bigger stage.
This will coincide with a publicity tour for the book before the announcement of the winner at the Irish Book Awards gala dinner in Dublin on Nov 17.
Philip has promised to keep you up to date with text, photos and video from the Swedish capital as the season reaches its climax – at home and abroad.
Along with the ancient sport of hurling, Gaelic football is one the most popular sports in a sports-mad country. Even with their tremendous passion for soccer and rugby, Gaelic games stir the blood of the Irish people like nothing else.
With a foreword by legendary Irish broadcaster Mícheal O Muircheartaigh, “A Parish Far From Home” tells the story of how a group of Irish ex-pats got together to play one of their native games – little did they know at the time that the Irish community in the Swedish capital would rally together like never before to support them as they set out on their first season to try to capture the Scandinavian championship.
The trials and tribulations of trying to start a new club in a minority sport in a foreign city are well-documented, as are the players – Irish and non-Irish alike – that they faced along the way. From inter-county stars and forgotten heroes to Swedish, Chinese and Icelandic novices new to the game, the world of Gaelic games away from the shores of Ireland is finally unveiled in all its glory.