All 84 teams marched from the Waterside car park, through the Apple Market and into Arundel Square, cheered on the entire way by hundreds of spectators, adorned in a colourful sea of flags, bunting and posters.
Four marching bands, the Celtic Drummers, the Thomas Francis Meagher Fife and Drum Band, City of Waterford Brass Band, and the Barrack Street Band were intermittently positioned throughout the ocean of energy and excitement as the cohort of some 1,300 players and members of management made their way through the spine of Ireland’s oldest city.
All players and team officials were met in Arundel square by the Taiko Drummers for the official opening ceremony of the Renault GAA World Games 2019. There were a few short words from Mayor of Waterford Cllr John Pratt and World GAA Committee chairperson Niall Erskine. An array of entertainment followed featuring the South African Teams, Dónal Lunny and Mairtin O’Connor, and the Mount Sion Choir.
Many teams were joined by juvenile members of their Waterford twinning partners, which strengthened the links between visiting and local clubs ahead of their social and cultural evening, of which 45 Waterford clubs are involved, on Tuesday evening.
The scene which greeted teams as they approached the final stretch into Arundel Square was a magnificent spectacle, complimented by the glorious sunshine which blanketed the city centre.
The games started on Monday at 10am and will run from 9am to 6pm from Tuesday to Thursday, before the teams and officials are bussed to Dublin for the finals on Friday in Croke Park.