Waterford awaits - Renault GAA World Games Opening Parade
By Eoghan Tuohey
The ancient city of Waterford is primed and ready to welcome the third - and largest, instalment of the eagerly anticipated 2019 Renault GAA World Games. The city centre will be awash with colour, energy, excitement and a tangibly electric atmosphere will be bubbling when all 85 teams march from Waterside, through the Manor/Parnell street junction, up past the Apple Market and Michael Street, before finishing at the vibrant Arundel Square.
A big screen will be in place in John Robert's square, where members of the public will be able to view the spectacle while still soaking up the atmosphere.
The parade itself will kick-off at 6.30pm, and all members of the public are warmly invited to observe from the streets, to give our visiting athletes, many of whom will be visiting Ireland for the first time, the incredible Waterford welcome they deserve. They will be joined by juvenile members of their "twinning" partners - Waterford GAA, LGFA and Camogie clubs, with whom they will share a special cultural evening on Tuesday, July 30th in almost every club in the county.
4 different bands will accompany the athletes as they proudly make their way through the heart of the city, and ensure that the 2019 Renault GAA World Games opens in emphatic fashion. The people of Waterford are actively encouraged to come out in force to create a vibrant ambiance throughout the city, and to help deliver a memorable and stunning visual spectacle.
Once the entourage arrives in Arundel square, there will be a wide variety of entertainment on offer on stage for the remainder of the evening - combined with important ceremonial activities to officially launch the Games for 2019. The wonderful South African native born team will perform, as will the widely-acclaimed Mount Sion choir. They will also be joined by the Booley House, Dónal Lunny & Máirtín O'Connor, Sibéal Ní Chasaide & Odhrán.
The 2019 Renault GAA World Games will involve some 85 teams across the four codes of Gaelic Football, Ladies' Football, Hurling & Camogie descending on the south east to earn the right to take the field in Croke Park on finals day on August 2nd. Teams are divided into two divisions - Native Born and Irish Born. For the first time ever, the majority (over 60%) of players will not be of Irish birth.
With the vast majority of Waterford clubs involved, everyone in the Déise is encouraged to take part and help make this a truly memorable and historic event, with a community-led feel throughout. It's a unique opportunity to put Waterford on the map, and create an iconic experience for the thousands of visitors from all over the world that they will cherish for a long time to come.
The GAA has moved beyond catering only for the community in Ireland. It has spearheaded the creation of a far-reaching, passionate, diverse affinity that lives within people from radically varying backgrounds. This July in Waterford, we celebrate that growth, that sense of community, and the pride that comes with it. This is the Renault GAA World Games for 2019. Be part of it.