Hurling gets 500 million new fans as Chinese reality stars sign up for lessons
TOURISM chiefs will hope it's not a Chinese version of 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' as eight stars were in Dublin filming for a reality show that boasts 500m viewers.
The celebrities including singer and actor Wei Zhang, former beauty Xiao Qi Mo, and Taekwondo champion Lan Xin Zhang are in town learning how to play Gaelic games and Irish music for the top-rated show, Exploration of the World.
They took to the grounds at Na Fianna in Glasnevin yesterday hurleys in hand to kick off the Irish episode.
Georgina Caraher from Experience Gaelic Games explained what was involved.
"Experience Gaelic Games is a cultural activity where we teach international visitors how to play Gaelic football, hurling and Gaelic handball," she told the Herald.
"We were contacted last week by Failte Ireland to say the show was coming and they explained to us that it has over 500m viewers and that they wanted to do a piece on Gaelic games.
"We have over 60 crew and eight international Chinese stars who are taking up the challenge of learning Irish sports and also doing some Irish dancing and learning our traditional music," she added.
Over the course of the next few days they will try to master our national activities before a live performance on Saturday afternoon.
"They're going to be in Ireland for more over a week and at the moment we're teaching them how to hurl," she said.
"Last night they learned traditional dance and music and they're going to finish up on Saturday with a live performance where the celebrities will actually come on stage during the show.
"The performance is open to the public, it's on at about 4.30pm in Na Fianna."
Georgina added that it was funny watching them trying to master hurling yesterday afternoon.
"They're learning how to roll lift, jab lift and they've been trying to strike the sliotar with mixed success but at the end of the sessions we'll have them puking it over the bar and scoring no bother," she laughed.
"But it's going to be brilliant exposure for Irish sports as they're not known across the world - it will show Ireland in a positive light," she said.