Hurling Outlawed

Flogged In 14th Century Ireland For Playing Hurling

Young Co. Kilkenny men were flogged and imprisoned for breaching the law and many were taken to the town square and sprayed with the contents of chamber pots, rotten fruits and other unpleasant odorous foul excesses by order of Kilkenny Parliamentary Session.

The Ancient Native Game of hurling was an outlaw sport and offenders received very severe punishments.



The Act Of Parliament Passed at Kilkenny Stated.... It is ordained that the commons of the said land of Ireland use not henceforth the game which men call hurling, with great clubs and ball upon the ground, but that they apply and accustom themselves to use and throw lances and play other gentle games.                                   

 A Court Verdict In 14 th Century Ireland At Kilkenny Magistrates Courthouse stated

"You have been found guilty of the ignoble and loathsome crime of striking a ball with a stick in a practice distinctive to Irish natives and on occasions this custom is also exploited by non Irish persons who will similarly be found guilty".


The Irish sport of hurling was a great attraction for many anglo Irish residents of Norman and English birthright and they oft times succumbed to playing hurling with the natives despite the law decreeing such sporting activity to be a serious offence.


An English landowner and ardent hurling man on his travels home came off his horse in a Kilkenny town when he came upon a match just about to commence. One side were short one player to commence the game and into the hurling battle came the popular  landowner.


Great misfortune befell the man when some informers alerted the authorities that he was hurling with some Kilkenny camán players. He was captured, taken prisoner and subjected to gruesome torture in custody. Two days of mental persecution whereby he was placed on a rack, made walk on burning coal fires, punched and kicked all over until he finally confessed.


The gentleman hurler still refused to name the Kilkenny players he had associated with and was sent for trial. In court he admitted his guilt of playing hurling, stating he simply could not ignore the great sporting skills of the men in the fields and meadows around him.


The landowner also undertook to abandon playing hurling but not before the judge demonstrated his repugnance to the illegal game of hurling.


In passing sentence the judge remarked "If the law permitted me, I would, without my hesitation, send you to the gallows forthwith. You shall now be taken from this court and flogged forty times to bring you within an inch of your pathetic life and you shall further be incarcerated for two years with hard labour for playing hurling and defying the law of the land".



This sadistic sentence did not deter many anglo saxons from enjoying and playing hurling and the deranged authorities failed miserably to sustain their ban despite its continuity of several centuries.

Gaelic games was always under persecution from British rulers of Ireland for several hundred years and despite certain tolerance in Northern Ireland, this original Irish sport was observed by numerous politicians as a breeding ground for nationalist idealism.