Even today none of us takes the decision lightly to leave our family and friends and go and try our hand in another country. But if we do … thanks to those who have gone before us, there is often a community ready and waiting to help us out on our arrival. All over Europe, Irish ex-pats are playing Gaelic football, sometimes along with locals or with other ex-pats from Australia and America. A whole network of GAA clubs has sprung up across the continent and they even have their own administrative structure, the European County Board, affiliated to the GAA. Philip O’Connor’s marvellous book is an account of one year in the life of one player and one club in one country. You wouldn’t normally associate the GAA with Sweden or with continental Europe generally but it’s there, wherever there are Irish exiles to nurture it — in parishes far from home.
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