BERE Island’s links to Argentina were celebrated in style last weekend after the thrilling win by Messi and his team in the World Cup.
Bere descendant Guillermo Murphy’s superstitious routine for watching his country paid off, as he and his family celebrated the country’s brilliant victory on Sunday.
‘As a family we have a routine – we always watch the game on the same television channel, we wear the same clothes and we always sit in the same places,’ he told The Southern Star.
‘My wife Laura is on the left, our son Leyton is in the centre, with me on the right,’ he said, from their home in City Bell on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Guillermo, a reporter at an Argentine TV news channel, traces his Bere Island links back to his great grand-father Patrick Murphy, one of a large number of islanders who emigrated to Argentina in the late 1800s to work on the railroads.
Many of the West Cork emigrants made their mark on their new home in South America. A Bere Island man founded the Cattleman’s Bank of Argentina, while another became an engineer responsible for setting up the public water system in Buenos Aires.
One island man, John D O’Sullivan, was so determined to get there, that when he was shipwrecked off the coast of Chile, he walked over the Andes to reach Argentina. Fellow Bere Island descendant Maria Teresa Linares, whose ancestor Jeremiah Sullivan was a brother-in-law of Guillermo’s great-grandfather, has visited Bere Island a number of times from her home in Cordoba. Although she says she isn’t a big football fan, she did see all of Argentina’s World Cup matches.
‘I watched all Argentina’s matches at a friend’s house,’ she told The Southern Star. ‘And to make sure we kept the winning streak going, I watched the final at her house with her family. I thought it was a very difficult game – France were not easy to beat,’ she said.
Maria Teresa said the younger members of their group went into the centre of Cordoba to celebrate, while she and her friends enjoyed a celebratory barbecue lunch while dissecting the match.
Guillermo and his family celebrated at their home, but said thousands flocked to the centre of Buenos Aires.
‘Everyone congregates at the Obelisco, a monument located in the centre of Buenos Aires, but the entire country was celebrating – even in the Argentine bases in Antarctica,’ he said.
Although soccer was very much on the agenda in recent weeks, Guillermo said Gaelic sport is a big part of the Irish community in Argentina, explaining how there is an Argentina Hurling Federation there, and in 2015 Argentina was world champion of Gaelic football, in Abu Dhabi.