Iberia GAA tournanment a big hit at Caćeres Fleadh
Caćeres (pronounced “Cath-ther-res”) is a city in western Spain's Extremadura region. About 2 hours north of Seville and 3 hours west of Madrid.
You, most likely, won't ever have heard of it…until now. For every year for the last 20 odd years, there's been a Fleadh. Yup, you heard it right. A straight up, absolutely honest to God, Irish Fleadh.
Having spoken to Peter Crann, along with the team of locals in the Town Hall, Fernanda, Antonio and Patricia, we contacted them to find out if we could add more to the festivities by bringing in some more of the culture with our Gaelic Games…and this year, nothing was going to stop us!
Everyone readily agreed and so the word was put out and arrangements got underway to hold the first Official tournament for Iberia GAA which would coincide with the Caćeres Irish Fleadh!
Teams stepped up from Lisbon (Celtiberos Lisbon), Seville (Eire Og Sevilla), Madrid (Madrid Harps) and Marbella (Costa Gaels) to take part in the weekend. Three main events took place. The day began with a large mixed kid’s training, including a vibrant bunch of kids from the local Cáceres Rugby Club who came along to learn about our Gaelic football and give it a whirl. A smashing performance was put on by both Ladies and Men and all players involved, certainly providing a hugely memorable GAA showcase for the locals on the day.
And boy oh boy, it was fun! And it didn’t rain…in October!
Having played some football and impressed the Irish Ambassador, Mr. Frank Smyth, he took the time with local delegates to say a few words of thanks and encouragement to all and may (or may not!) have been seen later on wielding a hurl in the Poc Fada which was the final event of the day.
Siobhán O'Donovan, chairperson of Éire Óg Sevilla, spoke for everyone involved when she expressed her pride in how well the whole weekend in Caceres went.
“This past weekend, a bit of Irish magic took Cáceres by storm, leaving scores of us feeling like 'God, I'm genuinely so proud to be Irish right now',” said ‘Donovan.
“Éire Óg Sevilla were over the moon to participate at this year´s Cáceres Fleadh Cheoil GAA tournament.
“We brought an abundance of experienced and new players. It's remarkable that some of our new players, who hadn't even heard of Gaelic Football up until a few weeks ago, were skillfully planting ´puntazos´ over the bar in the Ciudad Deportiva grounds on Saturday afternoon.
“The potential of the Cáceres Fleadh to embrace so many core values in Irish culture - Irish music and dance, Gaelic football, camogie and hurling - is astounding. Éire Óg Sevilla are already looking forward to helping make next year's event even bigger and better. Thanks to all involved in organising such a magnificent festival and pushing Gaelic games to be at its core!
“The warmth of the local people, the willingness to embrace Irish music and the raw enthusiasm to welcome GAA in their town is a credit to the cacereña people. Cáceres Abú!”
Jon Burke of Celtiberos Lisbon had this to say: “Cáceres has been a great rallying point for our Celtiberos GAA club in Lisbon. Meeting up with Madrid Harps, Seville Eire Og and Costa Gaels in Cáceres has allowed us to grow and learn from other clubs. In particular, the Fleadh brings together the best combination of sport & music in one place one could wish for.
“We would love to see the tournament here expand even further going forward.”
Justin Parks, Chairperson of Iberia and Chair of Costa Gaels said:
“Cáceres has been an event that both thrilled and excited us since we got in touch with them 5 or 6 years ago. With a massive range of artists, fantastic local support and such a unique and fascinating location we were absolutely delighted to finally get the opportunity to get involved and look forward to this event becoming port of the annual schedule here with the sport and teams involved increasing and getting involved in the festivities and fun!
“We were also delighted to work with the Cáceres Rugby Club on the day who picked up Gaelic Football incredibly quickly. Their coach was amazing. Yes, it was me! And we played a match with all the kids who travlled to the Fleadh.
“With a focus on youth development in the future and with the Irish and Portuguese Embassies, the Global Games Devleopment Fund, the Gaelic Games Europe (GGE) County Board and the GAA and our clubs, here's to next year and we hope to have a club or 2 from Ireland involved!
Afterwards we retired to the town to indulge in well deserved cold, cold beers and great quality food produced in the local farms. Make sure you try the Cochifrito and the Migas extremeñas!
And, sure enough, some musicians had settled in and the music was in full flow.
There's something special about this town. Steeped in history, it also has a modern attitude and atmosphere, great streets and access and is very safe and child friendly.
The town itself is stunning. Settled by the ancient Romans, it still has widespread influence of subsequent occupation by many different cultures. Its old town, Ciudad Monumental, has a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, with cobbled medieval streets, fortified houses and palaces.
Encircled by 12th-century Moorish walls, it also has around 30 towers, some occupied by nesting storks!
And it’s in the cobbled streets that wind around the ancient centre that you will find groups of musicians and artists doing what they do best. Just sitting together and playing the tunes.
The Iberian GAA are delighted with the event and want to give our heartfelt thanks to the Caćeres people for the warm welcome while also extending the invitation to the wider GAA community to put the date (the last weekend of October) in the diary and come along next year.
It's gonna be bigger and better and the craic will always be mighty!
Find out more about this brilliant event here: