Hurling has been our national game for over 3,000 years.
A new exhibition in Mayo sheds light on the earliest artefacts of the game - the oldest surviving hurling balls which are a far cry from the leather covered sliotar.
Liam Geraghty talked to Clodagh Doyle about the exhibition, 'Hair Hurling Balls' exhibition which is now on at the National Museum of Ireland's Country Life building in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
UCD historian, Paul Rouse talked to Myles about where the game of hurling began and how it evolved.
Saturday 16 November 2013: 4pm.
From Setanta to Sheflin: An Illustrated History of Hurling.
Hurling is an ancient game of myth and legend which today is a 21st century commercialised sport. UCD Lecturer Paul Rouse will trace hurling history and examine why it is played uniquely by the Irish.
Venue: National Museum of Ireland's Country Life building in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
"Hair hurling balls: Earliest artefacts of our national game"
"Hair hurling balls: Earliest artefacts of our national game" , is now open in the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
The exhibition features 14 hurling balls made from matted cow hair with a plaited horsehair covering. All the balls have been dated to the late seventeenth century or earlier. The earliest was made in the second half of the twelfth century –800 years ago! The Museum’s oldest-known hurley, from Co. Offaly, is also on display.
Munster features strongly in the exhibition with finds from Clare, north Kerry, west Limerick and Tipperary (with loans of balls from Kerry County Museum and Cork Public Museum). There are also balls from east Sligo and the latest ball into the National Museum of Ireland collection is from north Mayo. All were found through hand cutting turf in bogs over the past 100 years.
These balls are the predecessors of the modern leather-covered sliotar. The exhibition will also include examples of hurleys from our recent past and sliotars from our hurling legends of today.
Cú Chulainn played hurling: we have always known that hurling was part of our ancient past. This exhibition examines these bog finds in relation to where in the country they were discovered, how they were made and how they measure up to the modern ball. New research on these balls revealed radio-carbon dates of the earliest to 800 years ago! The exhibition also centres on the scientific research used to untangle the mysteries of these balls.
The exhibition will run until May 2014. A programme of events accompanies this interactive exhibition.
Forging a Kingdom – The GAA in Kerry 1884–1934 by Richard McElligott (The Collins Press).
County identity is fundamental in the GAA. By 1934 Kerry was one of the bastions of the Association. This book charts the development of the GAA in Kerry and how it became the county’s most popular sporting organisation. It outlines the links with cultural and revolutionary movements, the role of the county’s GAA in the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and Civil War, and the effects of political violence on the Kerry GAA.’
Kerry remained a political hotbed of Republicanism after the Civil War and this continually manifested itself among the GAA hierarchy. Despite this, by 1934 Kerry’s unique tradition within the GAA had been forged.