I think I have written before about how surprised I was to come back from 5 years abroad and discover that rugby had become Ireland’s national sport. It suffered from a number of difficulties in the past, namely, the GAA used to frown on “foreign games” and it’s dangerous – particularly for amateurs. On the plus side, it seems to be the only team sport where we do well in international competition. Now the GAA doesn’t care and my sons are coached by Daddies in rugby shirts. It’s still dangerous though.
Regular readers will recall that my children go to an Irish language school. For historical reasons, one might not expect that to be a bastion of rugby. Further, the Princess’s teacher is from Mayo. Insofar as there is national expertise in rugby, its seat is emphatically not in the West of Ireland. This has not deterred this teacher who is an avid rugby fan. During gym, my daughter’s class have been practicising the haka. She has taught her brothers. They look deeply alarming when they do this. We all sat and watched the New Zealand players doing their haka this evening before Ireland proceeded to lose to New Zealand. As I have previously mentioned, the Princess knows all the words to Ireland’s call and sang along with gusto. Where will it all end?