Two days of Irish fun are set to take over Sydney Showground in Sydney Olympic Park and it's going to be an extravaganza like no other. Brought to you by Magners, makers of Irish cider, this event combines sport and a number of festival activities.
One of the most popular sports in Ireland, which has grown into the country's national game, is that of hurling. For those not in the know, imagine footballers armed with hockey sticks swinging for the bleachers to net the sliotar, a hard leather-covered ball that's the size of a baseball. Now imagine that ball pinging around the field at 160kms per hour with players not wearing pads. Dating back to the 7th century, it's the fastest sport in the world and one where a lapse of eye contact with the ball could easily result in injury. Now, come this festival, you can learn how to play this historic game in a free hurling clinic.
Risk your body parts or not, there's a hurling match you can watch in Spotless Stadium. It's the jewel in the festival's crown on Sunday afternoon when the Galway Tribesmen (2017 All Ireland Senior Champions) playoff against Kilkenny (2018 Allianz League Champions) in a fully sanctioned game, with the winner earning the Wild Geese trophy and direct entry into the 2020 incarnation of the tournament. A pre-game welcome parade of the teams and player signing sessions will also take place. To witness a sporting event like this is a once in a lifetime experience.
Other traditional entertainment comes in the form of Irish dancing and music from groups that include Sydney Irish band Blackwater. A concert on Saturday evening from sunset includes headlining musical acts, such as folk singer Mary Black, singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey, Irish band Lunasa, and Saint Sister, a musical group drawing their music from early Celtic harp traditions. For the children, there's non-traditional entertainment with Bananas in Pyjamas, as well as the team from PAW Patrol and Nick Jnr's. Roaming performers and comedy acts will further amuse the crowd.
For the hungry and thirsty, there's an array of bars and food outlets bringing you Irish cuisine. On the Saturday, a Guinness World Record attempt will be made for the world's largest Irish stew, whilst on Sunday a Big Irish Brunch will fill you up.
Market stalls, carnival rides, kids lawn games and family-friendly activities across the weekend round out the event.
Tickets for this event are bookable online via Ticketmaster and are split into 4 events – Day 1 only passes (full day or afternoon), Day 2 only with festival and match, Day 2 Match only (VIP) and a 2 day pass (incl. the match). Prices range from $12 up to $300.