Columbia Red Branch is an Irish athletic club in Portland, Oregon devoted to preserving and promoting Gaelic games and culture in the Pacific Northwest.


Columbia Red Branch is an Irish athletic club in Portland, Oregon devoted to preserving and promoting Gaelic games and culture in the Pacific Northwest.

Storied Beginnings

Now based out of Portland, Oregon, Columbia Red Branch was originally founded in 2001 in Vancouver, Washington—but the story didn’t begin there.

In 1990, founding member Todd Brothers was working on his master’s thesis on medieval Irish history and kept coming across mentions of a game called Hurling in ancient Irish law. He was fascinated by it and knew he wanted to someday play the game. Fast forward eleven years, and Todd attended a class on the game at Pennsic War, a medieval reenactment in Pennsylvania.

When he got home he called up his buddies, and they set out to make their own equipment and play the game as best they could from Todd’s memory and research. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Club Today

Today, the club is more than just a small group of hurlers. We have competitive and recreational hurling, Gaelic football, and camogie teams, with dozens of men and women from the area who have fallen in love with these incredible sports. We are a registered US Gaelic Athletics Association (USGAA) club, host an annual tournament (the Gorge Cup), hold fundraisers, and have social events throughout the year, and in 2017, our competitive hurling team brought home the Junior C National Championship win in San Francisco.

Get Involved

There are many ways to support the club both on and off the field. For more info on opportunities to play, volunteer, or sponsor the club, send an email to columbiaredbranch01@gmail.com.


 The Ancient Warriors of the Red Branch

 The Red Branch, in ancient Irish mythology, referred to two of the three royal houses of the King of Ulster—Conchobar mac Nessa.

In the service of the king was a mighty band of warriors called the Red Branch Knights. These men were among the most celebrated fighters in Irish mythology, and among them the most revered was Cu Chulainn.

Cu Chulainn was once a young boy named Setanta, who dreamed of being a Red Branch Knight. Time and time again Setanta was told he was too young, but one night he snuck away with his hurley and sliotar and headed to the castle of King Conor.

The king invited Setanta to join him on a visit to the home of Culain. Setanta said he would return to meet King Conor for the trip as soon as his upcoming hurling match was over. Upon arriving back at the castle, he was unexpectedly set upon by the king’s guard dog, who was known and feared as one of the most terrible and ferocious in all of Ireland. Setanta reacted swiftly and swung out to strike the beast with his hurley, killing it with one blow.

After, Culain told Setanta that the dog has been his very best guard and that he was upset to have to replace him. Setanta declared that he would be Culain’s guard until the dog was replaced, and would be known henceforth as “The Hound of Culain” or “Cu Chulainn.”

Cu Chulainn grew up to be the leader of the Red Branch Knights, and won many battles before being struck down by his own spear in a battle against the forces of Queen Meve. Realizing he was mortally wounded, Cu Chulainn tied himself to a standing stone, as he did not wish to die laying on the ground, but on his feet like a true Gaelic hero.

And even though he was motionless for a very long time his enemies were afraid to approach him and it was only when a raven landed on his shoulder they knew he had finally been defeated.