Tag Archives: A Parish Far From Home

And so it begins…

The courier arrived this morning with the first copies of the book and, as yet another dream came true for me, once again I felt like the luckiest man in the world.

This game and this life and these people are a gift that just keeps on giving, and at the same time as I’m very proud and humbled and grateful, I feel an enormous sense of responsibility as the book hits the shelves.

Even though it’s my book, it’s our story, and it’s not just those of us in Stockholm or Sweden or Scandinavia either. It’s a story of Irish people triumphing over adversity all over the world.

I’m looking forward to giving a new perspective on our country, our games and our people. These are exciting times.

On Saturday I head back to Ireland to begin promoting it, but first I’m looking forward to presenting it to my two daughters after dinner tonight to see what they say.

Because even though I now have the book in my hands, this story is not over yet.

Not by a long way.

Why Micheal might be the man for Ireland

Micheál ó Muircheartaigh - foreword (sic) to the Aras?

When I was looking for someone to write the foreword for this book, there weren’t too many suitable candidates.

It’s not that I’m choosy, it’s just that both the publisher and I didn’t want a foreword for the sake of it. We wanted someone who could add something to the story.

Broadcaster- and now possible Irish presidential candidate – Micheál ó Muircheartaigh was one of few who fit the bill.

It’s not just his lifelong love of Gaelic games, or the Irish language, or Irish culture that made him a perfect choice.

It was obvious from the moment that he got on the phone to me to discuss it that, not only did he understand what our club and our games and this book meant to us, he understood our situation as Irish people abroad trying to make a go of it.

I’m never star-struck, but I’ll admit to being nervous as I waited for him to come on the line. All that melted away as the voice of a thousand Sunday afternoons greeted me and started to ask about the Stockholm Gaels and the state of football and fishing and dog racing in Scandinavia.

Micheál has travelled all over the world to act as a guest commentator for Gaelic games played from San Francisco to Shanghai. He has handed out medals and trophies and comhgairdeagaises to players on every continent.

He has listened to our stories, our troubles and our triumphs and treated us no differently to any other club at home.

Because at the heart of it, after a long, illustrious broadcasting career based on a powerful grá for the games, Micheál understood why we have to do this. Even at the age of 80, the love burns as brightly as it ever has.

I know nothing of Micheál’s politics so I cannot recommend that anyone vote for him. But what I do know is that you will travel far and wide to find a more intelligent, sensitive soul with such an instinctive understanding of the Irish people.

Loved by many and respected by most, he is the kind of non-political figure, a father of the nation, that we could all rally behind.

And just as he has described so many marches to glory in the past, he might finally feature in one of his own – up the North Circular Road, and all the way to the Phoenix Park.

 

Another campaign starts here

The author working hard on his travels, this time in Oslo at the Diamond League Bislett games.

Ten days to go to the final round of the championship.

A month until the official launch of the book.

A day agfter that, the first round of the European Championship season in Brussels.

Busy times ahead, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, and the hardest thing to deal with will be the calendar.

Not only do I have to keep myself as fit as possible whilst travelling over and back between Ireland and Sweden – we started this club to play Gaelic football, not to talk about it or write about it –  I also need to make sure that I look after my existing contracts and customers.

At the same time, the opportunity to get out there and talk about the book and  Gaelic games in far-flung places, and to tell people in Ireland about the brilliant work being done by so many Irish people abroad is something that fills me with energy.

Because if there is one thing that stands out about the Irish and how we have developed Gaelic games abroad, it is what can be achieved with very very little.

It’s a cliché worth repeating – Ireland’s greatest natural resource is her people, and if we can manage to connect them all at home and abroad in the same way that the GAA has done, our recovery will come a lot quicker than you might imagine.

“A Parish Far From Home”


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.’