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The Gathering kicked off with a bang in Dublin at Notre Dame game -- Terrible commentary by David Feherty on CBS damaged Ireland’s image

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David Feherty's CBS coverage of Emerald Isle Classic damaged Ireland's image
David Feherty's CBS coverage of Emerald Isle Classic damaged Ireland's image

The Gathering kicked off here last weekend. The name had been passed around on the media for a while, but to be honest I think Irish Americans knew more about it than we did over here.

In simple terms the plans is to get the Irish Diaspora back ‘home’ to visit Ireland in 2013.

The Notre Dame game was the kickoff, especially the Fighting Irish pep rally which was carried live on TV.

We aren’t used to pep rallies in this country, actually I don’t think I’ve ever seen one here and most people would have seen them in movies if at all.

The 02 arena in Dublin was the venue the night before the big Notre Dame-Navy game. This was our chance as well to highlight or showcase the best of our music as the show was on TV here and on the Internet for everybody to see.

The Rally did tick a lot of the boxes, but it was missing a few of the big hitters though. Where were U2? One of the great bands of all time! No sign of The Corr’s or The Cranberry’s either. These people should have been involved, even if it was to remind people of where they come from.

The pep rallies themselves are used to create positive energy and this surely passes on to the team. The team then rides high on this wave of emotion. The Irish equivalent would be somebody singing ‘James Connolly’ in the pub before the match to get the crowd going. I really think we should embrace the high fives and patting on the backs like our American friends do. We should encourage each other more, I think we find it hard to do this and it’s probably easier to have a go at someone’s family to put fire under their backsides than compliment him. Yes juvenile I know, but a proven method all the same!

There was great excitement all around Dublin for the game, to be honest just as much as for the All-Ireland football final in the coming weeks. There was a real carnival atmosphere around the city and seeing all the lads in their naval uniforms added to the occasion. We aren’t used to seeing so many officers walking the streets! I think the ladies really liked this too. (note to self, get a uniform)(hang on it’s too late, I’m married) Of course I left to too late to get tickets. By the time I went looking them were €200 each.

I had to rely on twitter and Facebook for up-dates on the match until one person tweeted and said it was on ESPN America, and there is was so I got to see the game from my couch and for free!

I love American football and the fact that such a big game was coming from Dublin was really cool. To add to all of this Dublin and Ireland was being beamed across the States and the place looked great, even the sun came out to join us for the event. This was really going to get people to come and visit us.

So what could go wrong? What could take the shine of this? If I said a golfer from Co. Down, you’d say Rory has done more for Irish tourism than most and I would agree. The Golfer in question is David Feherty. The In-stadium reporter for the game, who left these shores 37 odd years ago and was happy to do so as he said himself. This is the first time I’ve seen him on TV. His style is sarcastic which I don’t have a problem with. (Some ex-sport stars have to be like this to make a name for them and stay in the limelight) His explanation of hurling on the day to his fellow commentators was just stupid and meaningless. He just fobbed them off with not even remotely answering the question.

For genuine sports fans that would be watching this and have an interest, they were left blank! Also he said that he didn’t hurl as a young fella because ‘in the north’ they didn’t play hurling or football because rugby and cricket were the games of choice! Again for the people watching this is a pile of shite, and incorrect!

 I’d imagine I wasn’t the only person screaming at the TV while this was going on.

This was a great chance for Ireland to promote itself and we all know here how important it is these days to attract as many people here was possible. Companies may come and go, but our people, scenery and good humor will always stay! This is our strongest selling point and that’s in one sense what was on show. This is way people like to visit us.

We love to see Americans coming here; first of all they know how to enjoy themselves and are not afraid to spend money. They certainly are not cheap! They do like value and we must remember this, it’s one thing to attract people here, the trick is to keep them coming back.

Like most thing Irish if the gathering will be good and last a year the scattering will be even better and last a decade!

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