Public Relations and the GAA – The Relationship

Public Relations and the GAA – The Relationship

Although I may not be a fitness fanatic nor play any sports (I once did, trust me), I am a huge follower of the GAA, both in my local club and county. In most recent years it has come to my attention the tremendous effects and benefits Public Relations has had on GAA and it is of course something I feel is worth mentioning. For those who do not know, GAA is an Irish Sporting Association consisting of Gaelic Football, Hurling and Handball, all at amateur level. That’s right, it is not a professional paid sport. Why you ask? Because of the strong Irish heritage that dates back hundreds of years and simply doing it for the love of it.

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From social media to traditional advertising to brand marketing, it has undoubtedly opened up so many doors for both young talented players and organisations. With many sporting social media sites such as Joe.ie, Ulster GAA and Humans of the GAA, not only do they acknowledge young affluent GAA players, but it also creates brand awareness and revenue for that particular site as they put up analysis of games as well as stats and top scorers – it is of course the best of both worlds. Popular, renowned players are seen as god-like figures in this part of the world and someone most sporting nuts aspire to be, which is why many businesses seize the opportunity to liaise with such players to help promote their merchandises whether it may on Facebook, Instagram or good old fashioned advertising. This can be anything from Puma football boots to Murphy’s gloves. We all want the next best thing our sporting heroes have so it is certainly a great way of promoting the company as well as boosting sales. Moreover, seeing TV adverts such as Lidl sponsoring ladies football to Electric Ireland constructing their TV advert on the GAA Minor Championships, it highlights that the our beloved GAA is in the heart of every home in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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With GAA becoming not only huge in Ireland itself, it has broken into the US as well as many other prosperous countries including Australia and Dubai which is of course pumping not only extortionate money into the organisation but letting other cultures become aware of the sport! Not to mention, with many people getting sponsorships from across the water in places such as Canada, it goes without saying, that with GAA enthusiasm on the rise, it sure does open up a whole new window of opportunities for eager young people with Public Relations playing a huge part in this expansion.

Irish people take pride in their own people especially when it comes to playing the sport and it is fair to say we do all we can to ensure their talents and commitments do not go unnoticed! With many extravagant and formal awards nights including the Teamtalk Awards and the Irish News All Star Awards, Public Relations is at the centre of every function, big or small. It is enough to inflate anyone’s ego but is of course a fundamental way of highlighting the important place GAA holds in our community and that hard work really does play off. With special guests including sporting legend AP McCoy at this year’s Irish News All Star Awards, it is enough to get any typical PR agent jumping out of their boots!

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Public Relations and its close knit relationship with the GAA has had many positive successes in the past when it comes to raising money for campaigns or charities making it a go-to when looking for a strategy that is simple yet effective! One that stands out from the rest in my opinion is the most recent charity match hosted in Galway in September. The Galway team of 2017 (winners of the Hurling All-Ireland Championship) competed against the Galway team of 1988. The charity match was put together in an attempt to raise funds for the family of the recently deceased Tony Keady, who was named hurler of the year as Galway claimed the 1988 All Ireland Title. Not only is GAA a fun loving amateur sport, it is about helping a fellow comrade when you can and exploiting your skills to do so. This of course gained the attention from the media with many news reporters and journalists making their way to the scene as well as many press releases and social media sites giving it some attention!

What I love most about the GAA is that the amateur sport has been imbedded in us since toddlers and helps bring each and every community closer together. It is not played for money or fame, but for the love of it. It is your local plumber, primary school teacher, your uncle or dad, and that’s what makes it all the more special!

Shannon Grogan is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn on https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-grogan-09712510b/ 

Amsterdam Top City Break Destination…as voted by me!

Amsterdam Top City Break Destination…as voted by me!

Although many people view Amsterdam as the ideal place for a mad weekend away, it is also suitable for a fun city break with friends or your other half! For my boyfriend’s 21st, I was getting fed up of looking up places to go and with the loan almost being non-existent at that stage, I decided to book a city break deal for Amsterdam! At first I was quite sceptical from all the crazy stories I heard, but how wrong was I! It was hands down the best city break I’ve ever been on, fact! Although we went in the winter season we were still not limited to what we could get up to! Here’s a little insight into the top things to do when visiting the ‘dam!

If you’re searching for top tips on visiting ‘coffee shops’ this is not for you! That’s not how I roll…

Shop ‘til you drop

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If you’re hoping to go on a massive shopping spree when on a city break, Amsterdam will certainly not disappoint! There is everything a girl could possibly dream of, from Ted Baker to Tommy Hilfiger, Urban Outfitters to Zara! Not to mention, the super amazing cosmetics stores offering everything under the one roof!  Brisking through the narrow cobble streets, walking in and out of the row of stores that lay in front of me, my heart was complete. It was of course my favourite way to spend my first day in the city! On a further note, if you’re all about those candid Instagram foodie pics, there are endless bakeries and pastries shops offering the most picturesque cupcakes, donuts and macaroons!

Visiting the ‘I Amsterdam’ Sign

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If you didn’t get a picture in front of the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign, did you really go? It is one of the top attractions to visit when in Amsterdam, but be aware, getting a pic of just yourself in front of the sign is rather hard with at least 20 other people trying to do the same thing, but it is manageable!

We were fortunate enough to have been going in the Christmas season, so that meant beside the sign was the Christmas markets, and wait for it… an ice rink! On a downside, I can’t skate but I made the most of the wooden chairs in the rink to hold onto!

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Amsterdam Ice Bar

When visiting the city, it would be rude not to visit the renowned ice bar! Unlike me, be sure to wrap up warm because although you get a thermal coat, the rest of your body is literally -10 degrees! Everything and I mean everything is made of ice, the tables, the seats and even the glass for your drink! I think we must have lasted about 15 minutes in the ice bar with it being so cold, but I would still go back (with more layers next time!).

Visiting Madame Tussauds

If truth be told, I wasn’t fussed on heading to Madame Tussauds, but Mark was dying to go so I thought why not! Much to my surprise, it turned out to be a second to none experience, and of course we were both mind blown as to how alike the wax figures were to our favourite celebs! To top off our Madame Tussauds experience I got a pic beside Justin Bieber, because why not, it’s Justin Bieber! *love struck emoji*

I would definitely recommend Madame Tussauds if you really want to be in total awe as well as getting endless cringey photos beside celebs including Adele, Taylor Swift, Bob Marley and even Barack Obama!

I’m all about them wining and dining evenings

When opting for a city break in Amsterdam, probably your biggest dilemma of the whole trip is deciding where to eat! With rows upon rows of restaurants, we were totally spoilt for choice! There are of course popular American diners such as Hard Rock and Frankie and Benny’s which I’m a huge fan of! Not to mention, the city is full of contemporary bars to spend the evening sipping away on cocktails or perhaps, if you are hoping for something more lively like I did, the place was packed with buzzing Irish bars offering top class live music! But we aware, if you’re like me and look about 16, Amsterdam is not like any Spanish holiday resort, you will need to bring ID everywhere you go, even if you are just going for an evening bite!

Hands down, Amsterdam was most definitely the best city break I have ever been on and wouldn’t think twice about going back! If I were to go back here are a few of the places I would visit next time:

  • Anne Frank House
  • Heineken Experience
  • Body World
  • A’dam Lookout

Shannon Grogan is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn on https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-grogan-09712510b/ 

Top Tips on How to Have a Very Merry Christmas

Top Tips on How to Have a Very Merry Christmas

Let’s all just admit it, the festive season is undoubtedly the best time of the year! From mouth-watering hot toddies to crazy work parties, it sure is the most perfect time to really let your hair down! With Christmas only coming once a year, it is important to make the most of every minute and what better way than with these fabulous top tips? Have a look!

Go on a fun Winter City Break

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A great way to kickstart the Christmas season is of course jetting off and enjoying a wonderful winter city break. Europe is renowned for its fun festive cities with bright lights, state of the art outdoor ice shrinks and cosy pubs offering every cocktail you could possibly think of. There are of course plenty of popular cities to choose from including Krakow, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague to name but just a few! Or perhaps, you may decide to keep it rather local by visiting Irelands very own capital city which is Dublin where you are sure to enjoy a tasty mulled wine or two in no other than the amazing Temple Bar! Wherever you decide to go, it is sure to be a magical and fairylike experience before heading home for Christmas day!

Christmas Movie Night with your Besties

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There are guaranteed to be plenty mad nights out where you and your friends will be celebrating the festive season a little too much, but be sure to also enjoy a fun night in consisting of a Christmas movie marathon! Yes, this means everything from Elf to Home Alone, Love Actually to Christmas with the Kranks! No movie night is complete without chilled bubbly, hot chocolate, pretzels and popcorn so be sure to stock up! It is a great way to enjoy a stress-free night with your nearest and dearest as well as a long overdue catch up!

Visit the Christmas Continental Markets

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It goes without saying that visiting the Christmas markets is on basically everyone’s to do list! Whether it may be with your friends, other half or family, it can be a fun and spiritual experience brisking through the various stalls offering everything from scented candles to handcrafted decorations. Or perhaps, if you happen to have a sweet tooth, there are plenty of candy and pastry stalls that will really hit the spot including Nutella smothered crepes, cinnamon covered waffles, sugar coated churros and more! Or maybe, if you’re feeling a little spontaneous and hoping to try something a little bit different this festive season, the Christmas markets won’t disappoint whether you are looking to try out a kangaroo burger or a flammkuchen (flat German pizza). Now the best part, the beer tent! The beer tent is the most perfect place to enjoy a strawberry beer or four whilst also belting your heart out to old but gold tunes, what’s not to love?

Host a Wine and Cheese Tasting Night

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If you’re trying to keep the Christmas celebrations super candid, hosting a wine and cheese tasting night is always a good idea! Here you will need a selection of both red and white wine as well as a fine platter of cheese and crackers! You may decide to go the extra mile and play some Christmas games to make the celebrations all the more enjoyable including charades or ‘Name that Christmas Carol!’ The tasting night will be a second to none experience for all who take part!

Make the Most of Family

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Lastly, but most importantly, enjoy valuable time with family! This does not mean buying expensive extravagant presents but instead helping with the Christmas decorations, assisting to make the Christmas dinner, getting drunk on baileys and watching the Eastenders Christmas Special together! It’s not what’s under the tree that matters, but who’s gathered around it!

Wherever you go or whatever you decide to do this Christmas, be sure to enjoy every single minute of the season that keeps on giving! It is the one time you can fully let loose and make a complete shambles of yourself before the struggles of working life again! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!

Shannon Grogan is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn on https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-grogan-09712510b/