Pitching up

15 minutes

How Gaelic sports became a cultural binding force in Ireland’s most diverse town

Ballyhaunis is a traditional farming town in County Mayo in the west of Ireland with a population just over 3,000. Due to an immigration influx over the past several decades, it also happens to be the most ethnically diverse town in the country, with the majority of children speaking a language other than English or Gaelic at home. With Irish nationals leaving Ballyhaunis at a record rate following the economic recession, immigration has largely kept the community afloat. Pitching Up is an endearing portrait of the small town, focused on how introducing immigrants and first-generation Irish to traditional Gaelic sports has helped them integrate into the community, while at the same time preserving the region’s distinctive culture. Uplifting without being unduly idealistic, the film offers a more optimistic view of immigration and cultural integration in Europe than is usually seen in the reactive news cycle.

Director: Maurice O’Brien

Website: Morning Top Films

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