Have you ever been to Ireland? I have. That was on holiday, several years ago when I was still a student. Up to now I keep many memories of this country, and the most vivid ones are the landscapes of unique green, the unforgettable beauty of the Kylemore Abbey and my being very intrigued at the sight of local men engaged in hurling, a traditional Irish sport not known to me at that time.
The memory of hurling men came back to me last year after our Call 9 on access to cultural resources. It was then that I became the Project Officer of RePlay. The project sets out to digitalise a very special form of cultural resources: It seeks to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the sports! The idea behind the project is to have the very accurate skills involved in playing Gaelic football and hurling, and the traditional Basque game of pelota, captured with special technology and taught to future generations in fine detail. So sports too are part of our cultural heritage? When we hear "cultural heritage", our most immediate association is that with castles, monuments and ruins. How about sports? Yes, very much so, we should keep in mind that traditional sports are also part of our cultural heritage!
The acronym "RePlay" stands for" Reusable low-cost platform for digitizing and preserving traditional participative sports". The project receives the EC funding of ca. €2m and brings together 8 participants from 5 countries across Europe (Ireland, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, and the UK). For more information on the project you can see Cordis or the project's own website with the news.
I was sorry I was not able to accept the invitation to the kick-off meeting, but unfortunately it was scheduled at the time when my agenda was very tight. The kick-off meeting of the project had a very special atmosphere: it was organised parallel to the finals of the All Ireland Senior Club Hurling and All Ireland Club Football Championships in Dublin around St Patrick's Day. Dr O'Connor (the scientific coordinator of RePlay) and his team were also involved in the championships. Against this special back-drop, the project meeting attracted many journalists and received wide media coverage, including:
IRISHTIMES: "Suit up and test yourself against GAA greats"
SILICONREPUBLIC: "Re-Play motion capture project seeks to preserve skills from Gaelic and Basque sports"
MORNING IRELAND: "Capturing the great hurlers in 3D"