Wednesday 2 November 2016: Visit to Garvaghey GAA Centre
On arrival members were treated to coffee and scones in the bright spacious reception area where displays provide an insight into the aims and objectives of the Centre. These show a commitment to encourage, develop and celebrate Gaelic culture as expressed in music, dance, literature and language and the team games of football, hurley, rounders, and camogie. Having made their way into the the centre’s comfortable, well appointed lecture theatre, guests were welcomed by Mr Mark Conway, a member of the centre’s management team, well known to those in Probus who follow GAA. However Mr Conway chose to address his remarks to those who admitted that they knew little about GAA or the role of the centre in the wider community. Using a power point presentation he addressed the issues of What, When, Where, Why, Who and How to trace the development of Gaelic Games from 1884 to present with the focus on football.
Today there are some 2500 clubs in Ireland with 55 in Tyrone – one in each parish in the County, each with its own ground. He emphasised the amateur of the sport and the role of volunteers in keeping the game alive at all levels. His talk was followed by a tour of the facilities which include 6 full-size pitches, 10 changing rooms, a Physiotherapy suite and an impressive fitness studio. The floor plan of the 33.000 square ft. building is configured in the shape of an Irish “T” [for Tyrone]. This embraces an outdoor performance area modelled on Tullyhogue Fort where the Clan O’Neill held coronation ceremonies. Thanks for a memorable visit were expressed on behalf of the Club and its members by Probus Vice-President, John McCandless