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All the News from the NGAC

NGAC News

The last month has been so busy for the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club that this poor blogger couldn’t keep up with it all. Instead of several posts, we’ll wrap up all the fun here in one big post.

Intro to Hurling Day

It seems that our planned intro days get rained out more often than not. This time, nature one-upped herself and sent snow. Our March 11 Intro to Hurling Day was quickly postponed to the next day, which was of course beautiful and mild.

We welcomed out a few new people, but we fear we may have missed out on a large crowd due to the last-minute postponement. For that reason, we’ve decided to never tell Mother Nature when our next intro day is. Instead, we’ll choose a week each month for beginners to come out and give Irish sports a try. Keep an eye on our events on the Facebook page to catch the next one.

Of course, you NEVER have to wait for an intro day. Beginners are welcome all the time, any time we have social events or training. Someone will always take time out to teach you the basics if you want to learn.

NGAC on Today in Nashville

If you missed our exultant cries of delight on social media, here’s the scoop: On St. Patrick’s Day, Nashville’s WSMV featured the club on their Today in Nashville show. We filmed the spot on March 10 (a day before the crazy snow) at Centennial Park, with two full hours of hurling and Gaelic football scrimmages that resulted in amazing shots from the production crew.

If you haven’t seen the segment yet, check it out below.

WSMV Channel 4

Music City Invitational

Not publishing a write-up for this one was painful, but time kept marching on with more and more exciting things for Nashville GAC. On March 25, we welcomed clubs from all over America to play in a hurling and camogie tournament that lasted all day.

Opening ceremonies, led by Liam Barry, included remarks from club chairman Ryan Buckley, the American national anthem by Jennifer Barry, and the Irish national anthem by Caleb Harper. We were also very fortunate to enjoy Irish fiddle music from Dr. Ron Bombardi as we set up the fields.

Nashville split into two teams—Green and Gold—with Green winning its first match over Indy B. Gold fell to Knoxville but rallied well in their consolation match. Green played Coastal Virginia in the second round and were defeated. Still, it was an exciting day with enough proof for these players to know they’ve grown enormously in skill over the past four years.

The day ended with Atlanta A taking home the Wall Cup for camogie, and Indy A took home the Watson Cup for hurling. We presented the trophies at our afters celebrations with sponsors Smith & Lentz Brewing in East Nashville. It was an amazing day, and we already look forward to next year.

Spring League 2017

Our spring league registration topped out at 45 players, some pretty exciting growth after eight seasons. Each of the three teams has 15 players, and we bumped up play to 11-a-side, with 25-minute halves.

Our sponsors this season have been announced, but if you missed the posts, take a look at the incredible jerseys below, with sponsors East Nashville Beer Works, Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace, and Quore proudly and gratefully displayed.

The season officially started April 2, but it’s not too late to get in on the action. If you sign up by April 23, our third match of the season, you can be placed on a team. After that, you’ll have to wait until the fall.

Of course, we also travel to tournaments in the summer, so go ahead and join up anyway so you’ll be ready to play for Nashville GAC when we head to our first competition.

spring league 2017 jerseys

The Ben & Morey Show

This all brings us to last night, when Benjy Flynn and Britti Himelfarb represented the club on live, late-night talk show The Ben & Morey Show. If you haven’t heard of Ben and Morey, look them up. If you haven’t been to a show, make a point to head over to the Performing Arts Center at Centennial Park on a Thursday night.

Ben and Britti represented the club with pride and a lot of humor. They both had the crowd in stitches with their quick wit, but they also managed to convey their serious love for Irish sports. The club Instagram has a few images from the evening, and we hope to soon post the full interview.

If you met any of us at the show, please feel free to reach out with questions. You can also join us for intro sessions, trainings, or just to watch a match. Our Facebook page has an event schedule with all the latest information, or you can check the calendar here on the website.

This Sunday is week 2 of the spring league. We’d love to see you out there at 3135 Heartland Drive in Donelson!

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16 Irish Events to Attend in Nashville in March

march irish events in nashville

Maybe February 10 is too soon to start talking about how we’ll celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Or maybe it’s our favorite holiday of the year, so we start thinking about it and planning for it all year long. It’s probably the second one. If that’s how you feel, too, then you’ll love these Irish events going on all over Nashville during the month of March. You may also appreciate the advance notice so you can get tickets before they sell out.

Some of these are part of the Music City Irish Fest, and you can keep up with that calendar on the festival website. We’re also running a giveaway for one of the events, so keep your eyes on this page to make sure you don’t miss your chance to win.

March 1 – Altan at the Franklin Theatre

This band from Donegal is considered an icon of traditional Irish music. To enjoy an evening of Irish jigs and reels, visit the website and get your tickets soon!

March 2-4 – Irish Film Festival at Watkins College

See some of the most popular Irish movies, including Leap Year, Brooklyn, Waking Ned Devine, and Jimmy’s Hall. (We might ask where The Wind That Shakes the Barley and The Commitments are in this list, but it’s still a good selection). It’s free to the public!

March 6 – TenX9 Storytelling at Douglas Corner Café

Nine people tell nine stories of ten minutes in length. The theme of the night is “Anything Irish,” so prepare to laugh, cry, and rage, as you’re entertained with real stories of Irish joy, struggle, and triumph. Or maybe just a funny story about a lad in a pub.

March 7 – Scots Irish Genealogy Event

Want to learn more about your heritage? Visit The Hermitage and discover your Irish and Scots Irish roots. Costs vary according to the activities you enjoy during the day. Learn more about it at the Hermitage’s website.

March 7-8 – Sharon Shannon at McNamara’s

Two nights of traditional Irish music from Shannon Sharon of County Clare, Ireland. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased through the McNamara’s website.

March 9-11 – The Chieftains at The Schermerhorn

Perhaps one of the best known traditional music acts in Ireland right now, The Chieftains tickets are known to sell out quickly, even with multiple shows. Get your tickets now at The Schermerhorn website.

March 11 – Introduction to Irish Sports with the NGAC

The NGAC will host a day of Irish sports for anyone who wants to join. Learning hurling and Gaelic football. If you love it, you can even join the club! Open to any and all over the age of 18, regardless of skill level or current athletic ability.

March 11 – Main Street Brewfest in Franklin

The 14th annual brewfest is a big part of Irish fun. Enjoy Celtic performers and Irish cheer as you sip on some of the best local and craft beer available. Tickets are required, and they sell out quickly. Get them here!

March 12-13 – The Final Days of Wolfe Tone at TPAC

This award-winning play tells the story of Ireland’s foremost rebel from the 1798 Irish rebellion. We’ll be giving tickets away to three lucky winners, but if you don’t want to take a chance on missing out, you can get tickets right now at the TPAC website.

March 14 – Traditional Irish Session at McNamara’s

Grab your instrument and join in as locals and guests play traditional music all evening. We gather there’ll be some room for dancing, too.

March 15 – Andrew Jackson’s 250th Birthday

Celebrate the 7th president’s Irish heritage at The Hermitage. The people of The Hermitage have been great friends to us over the past two years as we introduced hurling to the Highland Games. We reckon it’s because Old Hickory was Irish.

March 16 – Whiskey and Golf at the Sounds Stadium

Do you like whiskey? Do you like putt-putt golf? Then this is the evening for you! Just don’t party too hard on the course, because you have to save yourself for the big day!

March 17 – Party at McNamara’s

Enjoy a full day of Irish food, music, dancing, and fun at McNamara’s Irish Pub in Donelson. There’s a cover charge, so come prepared. The party lasts from 10 am to midnight. You’ll probably see a few of us there!

March 18-19 – Celtic Rhythms on Fire with the Nashville Irish Step Dancers

Enjoy beautiful and passionate Irish dance these two days during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. These tickets do sell quickly, so be sure to grab yours as soon as possible.

March 25 – Music City Invitational Tournament

Watch hurling, camogie, and maybe some Gaelic football as friends from clubs all over North America come to compete for the Music City Cup. The fun starts at 9 am and goes all day, including an after party. More info on that soon, so keep an eye on this page!

New events may crop up as plans are finalized. We’ll update with another post if that happens. For now, start marking your calendars so you can make it to everything!

 

**Edit 2/15 – The East Nashville St. Patrick’s Day Festival will not occur this year. It has been removed from the list. I know; we’ll miss it, too.

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NGAC to Host Intro to Hurling Session Aug 20

intro to hurling

After the wildly successful Intro to Gaelic Football session in July, the Nashville GAC decided to hold a similar training/workshop for anyone in Music City who may be interested in learning hurling and camogie. The intro session will take place on August 20 at 4 pm at Heartland Soccer Fields.

Anyone over the age of 18 is encouraged to join the fun. The club is a great way to get active, learn a new sport, and make new friends of all ages and fitness levels. Regardless of your athletic ability, you will get to play. Even the most experienced hurlers and camogs love to see new people come out to learn the sport, so you’ll have a warm reception, excellent instruction, and patient training.

As always, we’ll head over to Homegrown Taproom in Donelson to enjoy fellowship and #frostybevs. Make plans now to join us!

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NGAC Tours Nashville Parks to Introduce Hurling and Gaelic Football

NGAC park tour dates

The Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club (Nashville GAC), a co-ed Irish sports organization, is pleased to announce that the organization will tour four metro area parks during the month of August. The park tour is intended to bring awareness to the Irish sports of hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football.

Hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football are fast-paced, high-scoring field games. These sports, in addition to handball, are considered the national sports of Ireland, where they are predominantly played, but they’re also found in parts of the world where Irish immigrants settled. While many Americans have yet to discover these ancient games, which have been played for thousands of years, most are familiar with derivatives soccer, field hockey, and American football.

Each introductory session will take place on Thursday evenings at 6 pm. The dates and parks are as follows:

The Nashville club was founded in 2013 and has grown to include more than fifty members in a short time. Gaelic football was recently added to the club’s growing athletic offerings. It is the hope of all that anyone interested in Irish culture and unusual sports will discover the club and become a member.

Club membership is open to anyone over the age of eighteen (18), though plans for a youth organization are forthcoming. Any skill and fitness level are welcome; no experience with sports of any kind is required. The club furnishes all equipment for beginners, so interested parties should bring only athletic clothes and shoes, plenty of water, and excitement for a new sport. Express your interest on the Facebook event pages linked above.

 

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10 Nashville Irish Events in March (Plus a Bonus)

With March quickly approaching, thoughts are turning forty shades of green. Maybe you’ve already planned your Irish celebrations. Maybe you’d change those plans if something better came along. Well, here it is: something better. These are all the Irish events going on in Nashville and the surrounding area in March. We’ll probably see you there.

Music City Irish Fest: March 12

This is it—the big show. This is where everyone will be for their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and it’s no wonder. The talent lineup is crazy, featuring Nosey Flynn, Molly Ramone, The Willis Clan, We Banjo 3, Nashville Pipes and Drums, Belfast Songwriters, Fiddle Frenzy, Altan, Beat Root, and Runa.

You’ll also get to visit Celtic jewelers; kilt makers; violin, bodhrán, and Irish whistle craftsmen; and the Irish dance tent. You can even plan your very own Irish vacation with the actual Irish tourism board. No one knows the country better than they do.

And of course, your favorite Irish sports club will be there. The Nashville GAC will man some of the beer tents, and this year we also have our own spot. Stop by to learn about the Irish sports of hurling, camogie, and Gaelic football. We’ll have videos and equipment so you can see what it’s all about.

Irish Step Dancing: March 19 & 20

Where there’s Irish music, there should always be dancing. You’ll see several of the Irish step dancers at the Irish Fest, but what if that’s not enough? Well, the Nashville Irish Step Dancers has their own show Celtic Rhythms on Fire March 19 and 20. You can buy tickets to watch more.

The Nashville Irish Step Dancers aren’t the only Irish dance school in town, either. You can also check out the Southern Academy of Irish Dance or Scott-Ellis School of Irish Dance. If you’re interested in classes for you or the kids, give them a call.

Irish Pubs: Any Time

When it comes to Nashville GAC favorites, we make no secret Kavanagh’s in Mt. Juliet is the spot for real Irish hospitality. Dubliner Tom Kavanagh and his charming wife Ann make everyone welcome with jokes and some of the finest Irish whiskey.

Another club fave, Harp and Fiddle, once called Dan McGuinness, is right in the heart of the Irish Fest celebrations, so you can’t miss it. If you’re planning a trip for another day in March, be sure to check out their Irish fare, including a delicious shepherd’s pie, and look for our photo on the wall under a pair of crossed hurleys!

If you like a quiet pint in a warm Irish environment, McCreary’s in downtown Franklin does the trick. You can also check out McNamara’s in Donelson or Findley’s in the Opryland Hotel.

The Irish Tenors: March 17-19

Let’s get classy now. What better way to celebrate the rich culture and talent of Ireland than an evening with the Irish Tenors? They’re playing three nights at the Schermerhorn with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Get your tickets here for an unforgettable evening.

Celtic Woman: March 4&5

The beginning of March brings on the Irish excitement with a couple of nights with Celtic Woman at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. These remarkable singers and fiddle player will give you chills, bring tears to your eyes, and make you proud to be Irish—even if you’re not Irish at all. Want tickets? Go here.

Dropkick Murphys: March 2

Celtic rock legends Dropkick Murphys will start March off with a bang at Marathon Music Works. These tickets will go quickly, so go buy them now or risk missing out on the big night.

East Nashville St. Paddy’s Day Fest: March 12

Not to be outdone, East Nashville is holding their own Irish Festival at East Park on March 12. The festivities will take place from noon to 8 pm, so that gives hardcore revelers plenty of time to find an Uber or Lyft downtown to finish out the evening before the Willis Clan hits the stage.

Conor McGregor Fight at Harp and Fiddle: March 5

Few things have inspired such pride of country as Conor McGregor, the UFC featherweight champion, will fight for the lightweight belt on March 5. You can watch it at home, sure, but why, when Harp and Fiddle will be filled with Irish pride?

Music City Roots at the Factory St. Patrick’s Day Celebration: March 16

If you don’t get enough of the Belfast Songwriters at the Irish Fest, see many of them again at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Music City Roots at the Factory in Franklin. If you head down early, you can enjoy a family-style dinner before the show begins. Tickets for the dinner and show or just the show can be found here.

Kiernan McMullan at The Basement: March 6

Born to an Irish father, Kiernan spent much of his school years in Northern Ireland. He probably won’t play a jig or sing an old drinking tune, but he will blow your mind with his deep lyrics and clever melodies. Kiernan definitely does Ireland proud. Buy your tickets here.

BONUS: Music City Invitational Tournament on April 2

Yeah, so it’s after March, but who cares? It’s us and it’s Irish. We’ll welcome hurling teams from around the Southeast and Midwest for a full day of Irish sports. Whether you’re a longtime fan of hurling and camogie or you’ve never even heard of them, we’d love to see you there. It’s a whole day of fun for FREE. Families are welcome. If you’re excited about what you see, ask anyone holding a hurley and you can get a quick first lesson.

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Where to Find the Nashville GAC

The Nashville Gac's

Our friends in the Indianapolis GAA wear shirts that read, “We hurl and then we drink!” across the back—a humorous retort to the oft-quipped (and groan-worthy) remark when we tell people about hurling, “Oh, I usually hurl on Friday nights after a long night of drinking.”

Hurling, the game, is why the Nashville GAC exists, but the social aspect of the club is also a big part of who we are. In fact, we have several “social” members, who joined just for the craic (good times). It’s an Irish sport, after all.

You may have even seen us around town. We’re sometimes a little loud, telling stories about glory on the pitch (playing field) during the latest match (game). We’re definitely partaking in a frosty beverage of sorts. And we’re probably hoping to catch your eye so we can tell you all about our sport.

So where do we like to hang out?

The Harp and the Fiddle

Located on Demonbreun Street at the end of Nashville’s famed “Music Row,” The Harp and the Fiddle is an authentic Irish Pub offering Irish and American food paired with Irish beer and craft beers. We like to hang out there after our matches on Sundays to take advantage of their $6.00 shepherd’s pie and half price beers.

If you go, be sure to try fish and chips or shepherd’s pie paired with a nice pint of Guinness. Then find our picture on the wall underneath the crossed hurleys.

Kavanagh’s

Tom and Ann Kavanagh opened their pub right around the same time with started the Nashville Gaelic Athletic Club. Located in Mt. Juliet, the family friendly pub serves a fine shepherd’s pie made with lamb along with many other authentic Irish offerings. It’s a warm and welcoming place with a great dart room and live Irish music every night. Nashville GAC clubman, Caleb Harper, sings once a week.

If you go, be sure to try the “hog wings,” and get Tom to tell you tall tales about growing up in Dublin, Ireland.

The Beer Pale

Open for just over a year in the booming corridor along Charlotte Avenue in West Nashville, the Beer Pale offers a rotating selection of craft beers. Their food menu offers a nice selection of sandwiches, salads, and appetizers, many of which feature meat from Porter Road Butcher, another fine local establishment. Be sure to try to Porter Road Butcher hot dogs, and make your way there on Friday Night for pit master Kent Birdwell of Bight of the Bend BBQ’s unbelievably good smoked ribs, chicken, and brisket. You’ll find us there on Thursday nights after training for our post-practice social.

If you go, be sure to bring an empty beer growler. The Beer Pale is licensed to fill growlers to go, so you can find a brew you like and take some home.

Homegrown

Located in Donelson, very near where we play our matches, Homegrown is a taproom and growler fill spot. Visitors will find a relaxing atmosphere that encourages patrons to get to know one another. Grab a seat at their long high-top table and get to know your neighbors while sipping on a nice frosty beverage from their rotating beer menu.

If you go, be sure to try the Bacon Popcorn, or if you want something more authentically southern, order up some pimento cheese and crackers.

Of course, on odd nights you’ll find us at other spots in Nashville, dropping in on The Hop Stop or Village Pub in East Nashville and Blackstone Brewery on West End, but we’re die-hard fans of the pubs that support us in return. If you see us out and about, say hi. We’d love to tell you about Irish hurling and maybe buy you a pint.

By John Watson

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Nashville GAC Hosts First Gaelic Games Tournament in Music City

tournament banner

On March 21, Nashville will welcome hurling and camogie teams from Knoxville, St. Louis, Charleston, Indianapolis, and Atlanta, as well as individuals from other clubs across the Midwest and Southeast.

Opening ceremonies will take place at 9:30 am at 3135 Heartland Drive in Donelson. The ceremonies will feature the Nashville Pipes and Drums and other special guests. Play is scheduled to begin at 9:45 am. Each team is guaranteed at least three matches, with one final match to determine the winner of the first Music City Cup.

A few quick facts about the tournament can be found below.

  • Games take place at 3135 Heartland Drive, Nashville, 37214
  • Opening ceremonies begin at 9:30 am
  • Games begin at 9:45 am
  • Food and drink will be available for sale on-site
  • Games will end by 5:30 pm
  • After party will take place at Dan McGuinness on Demonbreun St.
  • Trophy ceremony will take place at after party
  • Uber and Lyft codes will be provided for discounted rides

If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to nashvillegac@gmail.com or pr@nashvillegac.com.

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Nashville GAC Joins Nashville Kangaroos at Greer Stadium

Last night was a great one for sports in Nashville. The Nashville Kanagaroos extended an invitation to the Nashville GAC to join them on the Bud Light Deck at Greer Stadium. These two international sports clubs cheered on the Nashville Sounds as they defeated the Iowa Cubs.

Nashville GAC and Nashville Kangaroos at Greer Stadium

Nashville GAC

Nashville GAC

Greer Stadium fireworks

We open our first competitive city league today at Green Hills Park, so plenty of banter filled the night air. While we hope everyone will join and play, we welcome spectators, too.

The league consists of three teams: the Blue Notes, the Leesiders, and the Ports. The season will culminate in a tournament, with one team lifting the cup. The winners will then head into the fall league to defend their title as champions.

The Nashville GAC also thank the Nashville Kangaroos for their generosity and hospitality. We all look forward to a fun-filled summer of Aussie Rules and hurling matches. You can find the Kangaroos schedule by visiting their website. The Nashville GAC will play every Sunday at 4 pm. More information is always available on the Facebook page.

 

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Places You Might Find the Nashville GAC During the Week

The Parks and Pubs We Call Home

by Jameson Hurley

where the nashville gac playsThe Nashville Gaelic Athletic club held their first hurling demonstration on April 20, 2013 in Centennial Park, with the goal of introducing Nashville to the traditional sports of Ireland. Centennial Park is the crown jewel of the Metro Parks system, and it features a life-sized replica of ancient Greece’s Parthenon. Hurlers still gather on Thursdays from March to October, 6:00 to sundown to teach and play our ancient game. Beginners are most certainly welcome to join in and learn this fast paced, high scoring, thrilling field sport.

Have you seen hurling? Do you want to give it a try? Did you come to the Thursday evening puck around and catch the bug? The club holds introductory sessions and practice each weekend at parks around Nashville. Green Hills Park, Richland Park, and West Park are recent stomping grounds, and currently we can be found on Saturdays from 11:00-1:00 at South Inglewood Park in East Nashville. We have spare equipment if you want to give it a go.

The body must be cared for, and what better way to replenish vital nutrients then to head to the pub for a pint of the good stuff after training? “Afters” take place at revolving locations. One of our favorites is Kavanagh’s Irish Pub. Tom and Ann Kavanagh opened their doors in Mt. Juliet right around the same time we started the club. They have authentic Irish food, and Tom is certified by Guinness to pour the “perfect pint.” Live music, darts, and hurleys on the wall top off this authentic Irish experience.

When we want to stay closer to the training grounds, we head to some of our other favorite watering holes. You’ll often find us telling tall tales and licking our wounds at Blackstone Brewery, Boscos, 12 South Tap Room, and M.L. Rose. Wherever we are, though, we’re always eager to talk about the sports we love, so come on down and join us.

South of Nashville, the Middle Tennessee State University Wolfhounds have been hurling since 2011. If you are in Murfeesboro, you should look them up, and after a practice in the ‘Boro, you can head to O’Possum’s pub, their official club sponsor.

For more information about the club, visit our website, like us on Facebook, or contact us at nasvhillegac@gmail.com.