Rugby and the West of Ireland

Rugby and the West of Ireland

The first week of the newest Kylemore Book Club will provide an introduction to rugby, as well as the historical context for the phrase “To Hell or to Connacht.” The sport of rugby and the history of the West of Ireland will serve as the basis for the following weeks of the book club, where ideas of resilience and determination will be built upon with the music, sport, politics, and history of the West of Ireland and abroad.

Meet the Faculty

Presented by Eamonn Molloy and Justin Hickey

Eamonn Molloy has been at the forefront of Education and Learning with Connacht Rugby and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) for more than 15 years.

Having played and coached the sport, and traversed the amateur to professional transition of the game, he now educates the next generation of coaches. Eamonn became the youngest coach in the All Ireland league when he took up his first role at 25, and went on to coach Connacht age grade teams and the Irish Colleges XV. Since moving into education he has mentored countless coaches, forged a worldwide network of rugby knowledge, and educated people internationally for World Rugby.

He holds a Commerce degree from NUIG and is currently completing a Masters in Leadership Development as well as being an Notre Dame alumnus from the programme of Inspirational Leadership at Kylemore.

A fluent Irish speaker, he has been a mainstay of TG4’s rugby coverage for more than 10 years and regularly contributes to news programmes for both national channels.

Justin Hickey joined the Notre Dame rugby program in May of 2016 as Program Director, Men’s & Women’s Rugby Club/Men’s Rugby Head Coach. Prior to joining the University of Notre Dame, Coach Hickey served five years as head coach of the Clemson University Rugby Program. 

Hickey has also served as an assistant coach for the USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans since 2015, and most recently toured Australia with the team in the summer of 2016. Previously, he worked for two years as manager for the USA Rugby U20 Junior All American Team that competed in the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in T’Bilisi, Georgia, in 2011, and won the world championship in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2012, earning the USA promotion to the IRB Junior World Championship competition in 2013.

Introduction to Rugby

Presented by Justin Hickey

Notre Dame rugby coach Justin Hickey provides the basics of rugby, and discusses the global, supportive, and inclusive community it provides.

Connacht Historical Context, Part I

Presented by Rory Rapple

Professor Rory Rapple provides the historical context surrounding the phrase “to Hell or to Connacht” which came out of the Cromwellian era in Ireland. 

Connacht Historical Context, Part II

Presented by Rory Rapple

Professor Rory Rapple provides additional historical context surrounding the phrase “to Hell or to Connacht.”

Why the hell not to Connacht? Western rugby’s revenge on history.

Presented by Ruadhán Cooke

Ruadhán Cooke (NUI, Galway) expands on his article “Connacht’s Fight for Survival and the Foundation Myth of a Rugby Identity” and centres Connacht Rugby within the history of the West of Ireland and the sport of rugby.

Grassroots to Green Shirts: Connacht Rugby

Presented by Eamonn Molloy

This video provides an introduction to Connacht Rugby throughout the years, including their work as athletes and ambassadors, as well as ongoing development projects by the club and the country.

View the Event

Presented by Lisa Caulfield

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 1:00 pm

The first week of the newest Kylemore Book Club provided an introduction to rugby, as well as the historical context for the phrase “To Hell or to Connacht.” The sport of rugby and the history of the West of Ireland serve as the basis for the following weeks of the book club, where ideas of resilience and determination are built upon with the music, sport, politics, and history of the West of Ireland and abroad.

View the discussion recorded on Wednesday, August 4 with Lisa Caulfield, Director of the Global Centre at Kylemore, Eamonn Molloy of Connacht Rugby, and Justin Hickey of Notre Dame Rugby with special guest Notre Dame Professor Rory Rapple.

View Event

Additional Resources

Presented by Eamonn Molloy and Lisa Caulfield

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