While the GAA can mean different things to different people, its primary role is to ensure that the games serve as a mechanism for the promotion and development of individual and community wellbeing.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of clubs at international level, where people from many diverse backgrounds are committed to the promotion and development of community identity, which is one of the Association’s unique differentiating features.
This is reflective in events such as the Asian GAA Games, the Australasian Games and the Continental Youth Championships in North America, which is now the biggest indigenous sporting event of its type in the world.
In 2009, the GAA’s Games Development & Research Department recommended that the time had come to look at a global event on foot of the sustained growth and development of GAA clubs around the world.
The initial stages of the Renault GAA World Games will be played out at the Sports Campus of Waterford Institute of Technology in Carriganore from July 28 to August 1, with the finals taking place on August 2 at Croke Park.
This is the third-ever staging of what is a major international festival and celebration of Gaelic Games participation all over the globe, and this summer features a record breaking 85+ teams totalling 1,200 players coming to the South-East to take part.
The unique feature of the Renault GAA World Games is that there is competition for Irish-born and native-born (non-Irish born) teams representing more than 10 regions round the world.
With over 400 GAA clubs in existence outside of Ireland, the World Games is a unique opportunity for International Units to represent their country, region or club on a global stage. This year promises to be the biggest and best event yet, with Waterford and the WIT Arena in Carriganore playing host to the third ever GAA World Games, with the finals’ day taking place in Croke Park on August 2nd. Join us on our journey as we build up to this momentous event, celebrating the growth of our games globally, and welcome our friends from all around the world as we unite for a special week in the GAA calendar.
On the back of the original proposal, it was decided to bring 16 hurling teams to Galway to participate in a once-off event. It was agreed to include five "Native Born" teams (Buenos Aires, Milwaukee, Denver/Indianapolis, Barley House Wolves/Allentown & Europe). This decision would prove to be an enlightened one.
The inaugural GAA World Games too place in March 2015 in Abu Dhabi and featured 26 teams participating in Men's and Ladies' football from Canada, the US, Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, Argentina, South America and Continental Europe. The event also included four Native-Born teams from Argentina, South Africa, Galicia and the Middle-East. This event would form a strong base for the staging of the second World Games in 2016 in Dublin, from 7th-14th of August, with University College Dublin as the main venue. This event included, for the first time, four codes - Hurling, Camogie, Ladies' Football and Men's Football, with both a Native Born and Irish Born dimension in each code.
This leads us nicely into July and August 2019 - where Waterford is set to become the 3rd host of the Renault GAA World Games. The magnificent WIT Arena in Carriganore will be the venue for the majority of the action. An opening parade will commence proceedings in stunning fashion on the evening of July 28th, and following this, four action-packed days of Gaelic Games action across 7 pitches, comprising of 85+ teams and 1200 players will ensue.
Waterford City is being primed with flags and banners of welcome for the visit of a festival expected to bring up to 5,000 additional people into the city and county for the week.
There are eight world titles on offer for Irish born and then native-born teams in Men’s Football, Ladies Football, Hurling and Camogie. The prize in Waterford is the right to get to make the trip to play at Croke Park.
Uachtarán CLG John Horan said: “The Renault GAA World Games is a testament to the phenomenal amount of growth which is taking place in World GAA.
“All over the world there are new clubs, new record numbers of participation and new people being introduced to Gaelic Games for the first time, and these Games will be a celebration of that.
“I am delighted that the people of Waterford have got behind this event so publicly and enthusiastically. We know what passionate GAA supporters they are and I’ve no doubt they will extend a cead míle fáilte to the visiting teams who descend on the Deise this summer.”
It's a family friendly, free event all week, and the atmosphere is sure to be electric. There's a fun and social aspect to the tournament, but the bottom line is that each of these teams have been training for months in preparation, with the goal being to secure a final spot, and a chance to take the field in that most famous of GAA stadia, Croke Park, on August 2nd.
More than 55 international teams will be twinned with local clubs from across Waterford GAA on Tuesday evening, July 30th, from 7.30-9.30pm, with the emphasis on social and cultural exchange, and the competing teams and Waterford GAA clubs will take part in a major parade that marks the start of the World Games in Waterford City on Sunday, July 28.
There are now more than 450 GAA Clubs in existence outside of Ireland and this is reflected in the presence of 85+ teams that are confirmed for the Renault GAA World Games and representing clubs from across Europe, New York, USGAA, South Africa, Argentina, Canada, Britain, Australasia, India, Asia and the Middle East.
Be sure to follow us across all our social channels, @GAAWorldGames in the weeks and months to come to stay up to date with the latest news and features and be sure to get involved in what is going to be the biggest and best GAA World Games to date!