The GAA represents one of the aspects of Ireland which the Irish are most proud of. While in some ways, we'd like the rest of the world to understand the love we feel for gaelic football and hurling, deep down we're quite happy to keep it as our little secret.
One American tourist, who literally hadn't a clue that hurling is even a thing, has taken to Reddit to tell a tale of how, unbeknownst to him or his traveling companions, he was staying at the Citywest, which is the same hotel as the victorious Galway team last weekend after they beat Waterford in the Croke Park decider.
He subsequently received a crash course in GAA culture throughout his stay in Dublin and we can only imagine how confusing the whole experience was.
Allow DJ33 to explain:
I'm convinced hurling is stalking me.
I'm an American who happened to be Ireland last week when this was happening. I'm at least above-average interested in sports in general, and had no clue what the fuck was happening.
So one night, dudes in jerseys start showing up at the bar in our hotel. I'm like, hey I'm in Europe, I bet soccer is happening.
The next night there's even more dudes. It must be nearby, or a particularly important match. Fair enough.
One of my friends (who knows nothing about sports) asks one of the bar dudes and is told it's a "hurling match." I'm like, that doesn't sound like a real thing, are you sure they weren't fucking with you?
Next morning, I get on the tram to Dublin. A FUCKING HUGE CROWD of drunken (note: 11 AM) Irish sport fans crowd on at the first stop. They have a Bluetooth speaker and are playing their team song and bashing the fuck out of the walls and ceiling of the tram as they sing along.
Finally I'm like, okay, this is definitely a real thing and definitely very close by. I Google the name on one of their jerseys and find the team website. Nothing I see makes any sense (and I'm on a tram full of shouting drunken insanity) but the pictures all look like people playing rugby. So I decide okay, must be rugby.
I spend the day in Dublin, relatively calm. I start getting texts from friends back in the hotel that it's getting crazier and crazier. It turns out the local team won, the game actually IS called hurling, definitely isn't like rugby, and they hadn't won in nearly 30 years so their fans are losing their minds.
I get back to the hotel and notice some banners on the road approaching (which I didn't see on the way out that morning because they faced incoming traffic).
It turns out the winning team (Galway) was literally staying AT MY HOTEL. There's security everywhere all of a sudden and news vans and the entrance to the hotel is all blocked off with metal barriers waiting for the team to arrive. They (mostly the fans) proceeded to party like mad until about 4 AM.
Next day, I'm leaving for the airport. Newspapers in the lobby are all about hurling. Radio in the cab is all about hurling. Friendly old Irish cabby is telling me all about how amazing it was that this team won.
This sport I'd never heard of surrounded everything in my life for about 48 hours.
I come home, catch an awful cold/flu from the trip, go into a cough syrup coma.
Wake up this morning, what's on the front page of Reddit?
The GAA world has certainly made and impression and we're sure it's an experience he'll never forget.