Tourism officials applaud return of Gaelic games

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Four-day tournament in late July likely to generate $1.5 million in revenue

Competitors display their skills during a contest at the 2012 championships in Chicago.

Competitors display their skills during a contest at the 2012 Continental Youth Championships in Chicago.

Hurling is coming back to Chester County in late July, and tourism officials will be throwing down a welcome mat in response.

The Continental Youth Championships (CYC), a four-day Gaelic games tournament that takes place annually in the U.S., attracts over 2,000 competitors from age 6 to 18; it is the largest tournament of Gaelic sports outside of Ireland, said a news release from the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau

“The economic impact of such sporting events is tremendous for the area,” said Blair Mahoney, executive director of the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau. “Overnight visitors spend an average of $300 per person, so an event like this will generate over $1.5 million dollars.”

Mahoney said he met with Ireland’s Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, while on a trip to Philadelphia, as well as the host event organizer, Liam Hegarty.  “It was an honor to meet Prime Minister Kenny, and we are proud to host the Continental Youth Championships for the second time,” said Mahoney. The championships were last held in Chester County in 2008. Since then, San Francisco, New York, Boston and Chicago have served as hosts

The program for July 2013 includes a parade in West Chester on July 24 and games played at the Greater Chester Valley Soccer Complex in Malvern, from July 25-28, the release said.

The Continental Youth Championships (CYC) is an annual weekend tournament of Gaelic football and hurling  organized by the Gaelic Athletic Association. It began in 2004, and its location rotates around various cities from year to year.

The Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau is a not-for-profit, independent agency that serves as the official tourism promotion agency for Chester County. The Visitors Bureau was founded in 1963, and is responsible for marketing Chester County and the Brandywine Valley to travelers, tour operators, event planners, and travel writers.

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