Gaelic Sports – Once Banned in Quebec City!

Gaelic Sports – Once Banned in Quebec City!

By Samantha Bilodeau

As we all know, many Quebecers find pride in claiming their Irish roots. With great events such as the Saint-Patrick’s Day Parade and the Shannon Irish Show, Quebecers celebrate their Irishness at least once a year!

However, Gaelic sports seem to have been erased over time, when they remain one of Ireland’s most important social events. Gaelic football and hurling represent two of the oldest sports recorded in history, originating approximately 2000 years ago. Some believe that many sports we play today, such as rugby, football or soccer, contain traces of Ireland’s ancient Celtic sports.

“But why haven’t I ever heard of these sports before?” you may ask yourself. How is it that other Irish traditions, such as dancing and music, have existed throughout history, while Gaelic football and hurling have remained unmentioned in Quebec’s history?

Perhaps the fact that Quebec City’s municipal council banned the sport of hurling in 1845 may explain why it has flown under the radar for so long. Luckily, current President and founder, Cillian Breathnach, from Ireland, has managed to revive Gaelic sports in Quebec City by founding Les Patriotes de Quebéc Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in 2006.

Qc Patriots vs Mtl Shamrocks at Celtic Festival - September 2012

Quebec City Patriots and Montreal Shamrocks at the Quebec City Celtic Festival – September 2012

Since then, the club has gradually grown in numbers and gained more exposure. Quebec City’s GAA participates competitively against teams from all over the Eastern coast, such as Montreal Shamrocks, Ottawa Gaels, Kingston Na Fianna, and even Saint-John’s Avalon Harps. Moreover, the team also travels to Utica, New York once every year to participate in an Eastern Championship. In addition, Les Patriotes de Québec have also been involved with Quebec City’s local Irish communities by participating in various activities such as the Saint-Patrick’s Day Parade, the Celtic Festival, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier’s annual Family Day, and Irish Heritage Quebec.

Gaelic football and hurling are great sports for everyone to practice. Beginners, teens, lads and lassies are all welcome to join in on the fun! These sports help develop quick reactive movements and strategic thinking, all in a fun and non-stressful environment. So whether you are looking for a new challenge, an intense workout, or even just a great social gathering, Les Patriotes de Québec GAA welcomes you with arms wide open. For the winter season, we practice at Laval University’s new Telus Stadium, located next to the PEPS, every Friday from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. So feel free to come and join us for a great craic, followed by a pint o’ Guinness at our sponsor Pub Galway! Celebrate your Irishness all year long!  We look forward to seeing you out on the pitch ! Céad míle fáilte!

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