What a phenomenal fortnight it has been for the Go Gaelic team who were delighted to volunteer their services to travel to Brazil in conjunction with the Irish Consulate in Brazil to provide introductory courses in hurling and gaelic football in schools and social projects in underprivileged areas.
This memorable trip includes three cities – Sao Paolo, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro – including 15-20 gaelic games session over the 12 days, ranging from public to private schools and also featuring a Gaelic Games session in Favela de Rocinha in Rio and one on the world famous Ipanema beach.
At home, Go Gaelic introduces visitors to Ireland to Gaelic Games and has done so with thousands of people since its inception in 2012 but in a unique departure, four Claremen from Go Gaelic’s team made the historic journey to Brazil – Eoin Brennan and Eoin Vaughan (directors of Go Gaelic) and expert coaches Kevin Brennan and Darryl Eade.
The links between Ireland and Brazil have grown substantially in recent years, with almost 16,000 Brazilian residents in Ireland as per the 2016 census and up to 30,000 Brazilians traveling to Ireland each year to study, visit etc.
Therefore, knowledge of Ireland has become much wider that when Eoin Brennan and Eoin Vaughan were last in Brazil as tourists in 2006/07. Having traveled around Brazil for four months ten years ago, they developed a great affinity with the Brazilian culture and people and in time formulated the idea to go back to Brazil and in turn introduce them to some Irish culture.
Six months ago, Eoin Vaughan contacted the Irish consulate in Brazil and by sheer coincidence, the Deputy Consul General in the Irish Consulate in Brazil was a girl from Ennis, Ciara Gilvarry.
She immediately embraced the idea and has been a pivotal assistance in opening doors for us, contacting schools and providing us with contacts to organise very unique hurling and football settings and locations as well as accompanying Go Gaelic for the entire trip.
As Brazil is one country that doesn’t have any official GAA presence, this was a unique, ground breaking trip that also saw the team meet up with Irish people in Brazil to possibly assist in getting clubs up and running. In Sao Paolo, the team met with a group of Irish people who intend to establish the Sao Paulo Shamrocks, Brazil’s first official GAA club in the coming months which is a very exciting development.
Go Gaelic were truly honoured to be part of this superb initiative and hopefully this can be only the start of a blossoming of gaelic games in Brazil in the coming years.
A huge thanks to Ciara and the Irish Consulate in Sao Paolo, to Janice and Irish Ambassador to Brazil Brian Glynn in Brasilia, Sarah O’Sullivan from Education in Ireland, Athlone IT, Patrick Fitzgerald, Draíochta Lundberg and Rubgy é Nossa Paixao in Rio de Janeiro to name just a few.
Keep up the good work and hopefully we’ll see you all again very soon!