The seeds of the Gaelic games have been planted in the sands of the Jersey Shore.
They are only saplings now but longing to grow.
The sowing began when a Dubliner married a girl from Belmar and back to Ireland they went. Each year their sons, two hurlers, summered in their mother’s New Jersey beach town.
It being the height of the GAA season, the sons asked why there was no hurling on the Jersey Shore.
That question sparked a friend, Mary Beth Glaccum of Brielle, to ask another question: why not start a Gaelic games team here?
As it worked out, the game and team would be hurling not Gaelic football.
The Jersey Shore GAA was then born.
“We are in year one,” Glaccum, chairwoman of the chapter, said. “We now have enough men to field a full team and about 100 kids of all ages interested in getting involved with the sport.”
“We are aiming that 2015 is really our year one,” said Glaccum, who is also very involved in The Ireland Funds, a philanthropic network that supports worthy causes in Ireland and around the world.
She is getting help from beyond the Jersey Shore.
Enter David Cosgrove of Elizabeth, NJ. He is the chair of New Jersey GAA, the head coach of the brand new hurling team at Kean University in Union and who plays for the Hoboken Guards hurling team.
“We are hoping to get all Irish organizations involved,” Cosgrove said. “We want to bring everyone together in support of the Gaelic games.”
Last weekend at the 16th annual Jersey Shore Irish Festival, the Jersey Shore GAA was full on highlighting Gaelic games.
In the distance the sounds of Round The House and The Lost Tribe of Donegal could be heard playing as the women of the Hoboken/Manhattan Gaels played football.
Donegal native Simon Gillespie, the Development Officer from the New York GAA, was also there, running clinics for young children.
The newly born Jersey Shore GAA finished up their afternoon at the Irish festival in Sea Girt about 200 yards from the Atlantic with an exhibition hurling match between the team from Kean University and the Hoboken Guards.
* Jim Lowney is an Irish American writer and photographer who often shares what comes into his mind's eye.