On Saturday 8th August Vienna Gaels, Slovak Shamrocks, and admirers of Gaelic culture & sports joined for a day of exhibition games and fun. Hosted at the Seyring Sportsplatz, Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie were all ímpressively demonstrated by a large turnout of players. It was the first camogie game for Vienna Gaels, and the intensity on the pitch proves the energy required to build a team is already there.
The event was well organised, including the adherence to current hygiene and safety rules. Not only did spectators get a chance to watch Gaelic sports, but there was also the opportunity to have a go at a long puc. There was also a BBQ and chance to catch up between the games, with live Irish music throughout the day and into the evening.
Vienna has been opened up for the summer, training is back in full swing, and finally we have another player profile! Let’s get to know Laura.
Name: Laura Connally Age: 24 From: Toronto, Canada
Where have you lived? I grew up in Toronto, moved to Bangkok, Thailand for a year in 2018, and then to Vienna in 2019.
How did you end up in Vienna? While in Bangkok, i was offered a position at the International School in Vienna and moved here for the job in August 2019. I teach Special Education/Learning Support.
Do you speak any other languages? Ich bin lerne Deutsch ??? Nein, I only speak English.
Favourite places in Vienna? Am Nordpol 3 in the 2nd for Austrian food, and Lamee Rooftop for drinks.
What Gaelic sport do you play? Football – mid/forward.
What teammate would you pick to be with in quarantine? Zina for many reasons, but also because she gives me cooking inspo everyday and is always up for canal drinks.
What is your secret skill? Please don’t make me regret admitting that I competed in Irish dance for 12 years.
Best thing about being a Vienna Gael? Playing sports with friends!
Worst thing about being a Vienna Gael? The shorts are lime green.
Best thing about living in Vienna? The wine, the food, the architecture….to be honest the price and efficiency of public transit is really what sold me in the job interview.
Worst thing about living in Vienna? Unfair pricing of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Favourite snack? Baked Sweet Potato with hummus
What advice would you give to someone moving to Vienna? Join the Vienna Gaels!! and learn German ASAP.
Thanks to Laura for taking part! She actually told me she would love to be challenged to an Irish dancing dance-off, incase anyone sees her out at a rooftop bar sometime. Stay tuned for more player profiles, and as always, feel free to nominate yourself or others to take part. In other news, we are planning lots of training, local competitions and other events over the summer, so get involved!
Vienna Gaels’ reputation in Ireland is once again strengthened by our feature in this week’s Northern Standard newspaper. The Northern Standard is available as an ePaper @ northernstandard.ie.
Co-chairperson Noel Fitzgerald was interviewed by the paper to highlight Vienna Gaels and our post-lockdown measures. As Austria was one of the countries to go into an early lockdown, it means we are also coming out of lockdown before other countries. Our position means that we can share our successes as well as our challenges with others.
Another article in the same paper focuses on the journey of the Vienna Gaels GAA club, with an interview of one of the club founders, Des Reilly. Des is one of the club’s active members, from helping newer players, becoming one of the most prominent referees within Gaelic Games Europe, as well as representing his native Monaghan.
This follows on from Vienna Gael’s recent feature in the Irish Examiner – again the current Covid-19 situation was the contextual backdrop for the interview.
We are always happy to chat to media, please get in touch with Vienna Gaels if you would like to do a feature or interview.
Thanks to the Northern Standard and the writer of the original articles; Colm Shalvey. Thanks to the Irish Examiner and the interviewer Colm O’ Connor. Thanks to Ray Abery for the photographs.
Vienna Gaels have returned to training, with Monday night’s numbers (38) exceeding those prior to the pandemic. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all. On Monday we decided to use our regular Gaelic football training pitch for a combined hurling/camogie training, aimed at all experience levels. The result was a massive turnout from complete beginners to advanced players. The men’s hurling team have successfully grown over the last few years, and on Monday we saw a huge level of interest in camogie, based on the crowd of women that turned up.
Creating an active and varied training session while still adhering to the current social distancing restrictions has been a challenge that individuals within the club have risen to. Credit is due to the coaches and other people who have helped out, including Fiona Fleming, Kilian Smith, Anne Murray, Noel Fitzgerald, Stephen Walsh, and Darren Gilbert.
Following the regulations is also a whole club effort, and Vienna Gaels members have really come together as a community. The measures in place on Monday were sent out to club members in advance, and included the following: arrive in sports clothes, disinfect hands before playing, do not share equipment, respect 2 metres distance between players, train within your smaller group, respect general hygiene rules, and avoid travelling to or from training in large groups. These measures were put together with the aim of having clear guidance for club members, and will be updated as the situation changes.
Every Sunday there is a casual puc about in Prater open to everyone, hope to see everyone there and at the next hurling/camogie training.
It’s a new week in Vienna – businesses are opening, training is returning, and most importantly – another player profile is here for you to read! Let’s get to know Ray Abery.
Name: Ray Abery Age: 28
Where have you lived? I grew up in Portugal, studied in Glasgow, lived for a few months in the Netherlands and Belgium, and now I’m here in Austria.
What’s your occupation? Naval Architect, one of not so many in Austria.
How did you end up in Vienna? I finished my degree ad followed my love for boats here.
Do you speak any other languages? Teach us a phrase. Aye, I speak German and Portuguese fluently. There is this Portuguese saying; “Nasceste com o rabo virado para a lua” and you’d say it to someone lazy but fortuitous, similar to always landing on one’s feet. It translates to “Born with your bum facing the moon.”
What restaurant do you recommend in Vienna? Is this for Tripadvisor? In my opinion, the Martinigansl at “Carmen und Ich” before Christmas trumps all.
Who brought you to Vienna Gaels? That would have to be Barry Guihen- We met at the pub quiz he used to moderate at the Highlander on Garnisongasse. “You should try hurling, you’ll pick it up in no time,” he said. A few years later and I’m still at the level of a hockey player holding a hurley.
What sports do you play? I’ve enjoyed playing hurling as a defender. And I play and coach field hockey at SV Arminen.
How have you found the lockdown? Did you pick up any new hobbies? It was a necessary evil I guess, but the morning commute was a dream with so little traffic. My girlfriend and I have been discovering the surrounding nature by bike and on foot, which has been so fun. Lobau, Bisamberg, and the Wienerwald are all scenic and readily accessible.
What are you looking forward to most this summer? Seeing as we’re most likely not going to be able to travel far, I’m looking forward to hiking in the Austrian mountains.
What’s your secret skill? I learned to identify all national flags for every country in the world to win a 10p bet. Does that count?
Best thing about being a Vienna Gael? The good atmosphere among my teammates. An 8 hour bus ride to Dresden turns from gruelling journey to 8 hours of card playing fun.
Worst thing about being a Vienna Gael? Trying to explain why hurling is fun with three or four plum-shade bruises after a tournament.
Who is the most underrated Vienna Gael? As a defender I’d say Tom our hurling keeper. As a player he’s a phenomenal shot stopper, and off the pitch he’s an all-round funny guy.
What do you miss from home? I miss swimming in the sea. You can’t quite scratch that itch with lakes and rivers.
Favourite snack? Those Billa jaffa cakes with a cup of tea.
What have you learned about yourself during the last few months of lockdown? I learned that I am quite easily entertained, and that Age of Empires II is bags of fun.
If you started a podcast, what it be? I do love a good podcast, mine would be about nautical trivia and be titled Mythboaters.
What advice would you give to someone moving to Vienna? Apart from joining the Gaels – don’t let the grumpiness of the Viennese fool you, they’ve warmth and humour hidden beneath that outer layer.
Vienna Gaels football training returns to Monday evenings at Rugby Union Donau. The following guidelines are to be followed: Changing rooms are not yet available, come dressed to play Disinfect your hands before training Avoid sharing equipment (such as gloves) with others Respect 2 metres distance from other players Train in groups of max 10 persons Respect general hygiene rules (hand washing, and cough or sneeze into elbow or tissue) Avoid arriving or leaving training in big groups If you’re sick, stay home!