It Takes a Village

Egan, far right, at Slattery’s Midtown Pub with members of the Slattery family (from left to right, Michael Ryan, club chairman; Oliver, Rita , John, and Justin) who hosted the Kildangan GAA team at Slattery's pub in February. (Photos: Courtesy Kildangan Hurling Club)

By Irish America Staff
April / May 2017

In February, 110 Irish men and women from Kildangan, County Tipperary converged on the New York midtown pub Slattery’s to help raise money for a new half-million euro community center, complete with a sports hall, gym, meeting rooms, kitchen, and changing rooms. The trip was organized as a joint venture between the Kildangan GAA club and Slattery’s, and led by Puckane-native Darragh Egan.

Born in 1986, Egan is the primary school principal of Puckane’s Kildangan National School and was part of the victorious Tipperary all-Ireland senior hurling team in 2010 and also captained the North Tipperary champion Kildangan senior hurling team. Sightseeing tours, Madison Square Garden tickets, museum passes, good food, a couple of pints, Broadway shows, and a trip to Ellis Island were on offer.

The group from Tipperary.

The group from Tipperary, recently arrived at Newark Airport.

Speaking to Irish America from back in Puckane, Egan says:

“The three-hour trip to Ellis Island opened my eyes to how far we have come as a people. The history, hardship, new beginnings, examinations, tiresome journeys of our ancestors, and here we were, all 110 of us stepping off an extremely comfortable six-hour direct flight from Dublin to Newark to embark on a five-day social trip. I am an unbelievably proud member of Kildangan GAA club. This was our third trip since 2004 to the Big Apple to socialize and explore in the company of our diaspora.

“At present we have 370 pupils between two primary schools in our parish and no community center to serve our needs. (On wet days, for example, there is nowhere for the kids to practice inside.) This center will serve varying sports and activities such as hurling, football, handball, soccer, badminton, music, dance, and drama.

“Over 200 people gathered in Slattery’s Midtown Pub for a wonderful night of craic, chat, and information. Some of our Irish New Yorkers met old classmates and teammates, and parishioners were more than willing to tell the story of modern day Kildangan.

Thankfully, we have turned the sod in Puckane and a new dawn is about to commence. It will be our Ellis island, an isle of hope and dreams!” ♦

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