Monday, 19 August 2019 13:05

HURLEY MAKERS of Ireland Collection

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Hurley Making  is an Irish Heritage  Craft Preserved for 21st Century Club & County Players


Without the SLIOTHAR.. Players cannot play hurling or camogie.

The craft of making sliothars is an inheritance from previous generations of Irsh people and has been recognised as a symbol of Irish Heritage for many decades. The sliothar of bygone eras had a much different feel and weight to the 21st century sliothars and hurlers/camogie players of times past, often lament the immense comparison between the sliothars of their playing days and current sliothars.

Shaping and making modern sliothars is now a manufacturing process, whereby the manufacturer who has played hurling or camogie, will undoubtedly have a greater understanding of the immense role of the sliothar in the art of hurling. The skills of hurling and camogie are unique. Players need a sliothar and a hurley to hone their skills and both are the basic ingredients for one of the fastest ball games in the world and immensely enjoyed by spectators who never tire of watching all players in action. Ireland is now setting up a new research project to meet up with a collection of sliothar makers, reveal the business stories behind their sports associated businesses and discover how these manufacturers decided to become sliothar makers.

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Understanding Hurling & Camogie:

Hurling and Camogie are two Irish field sports unique to Ireland and are predominantly the preserve of Irish sports people. The Hurley and Sliothar Makers of Ireland have a really special bond with hurling and camogie since the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, in November 1884, by Michael Cusack and his co-founders.

Hurley and Sliothar makers of Ireland preserve a unique craft predominantly native to Irish people and the manufacture of hurleys and sliothars is a huge part of our heritage and culture and in 21st century Ireland the art and craft of hurley and sliothar making has expanded greatly and in recent years overseas manufacturers have entered the Irish market competing with Irish manufacturers.

However I contend that hurling and camogie are both such unique games, that it is almost essential to possess an intimate knowledge and awareness of both sports. Many Irish manufactures have played hurling with their local clubs and command huge respect from hurling and camogie players all over Ireland. Modern machinery enables wood crafts people to expedite hurley production much more expediously but hurlers and camogie players at Club & County levels still believe in their own personalisation of their hurleys.


The Sliothar: In times past the weight of the sliothar bears no comparison to the more lightweight sliothar now used in the 21st century, enabling current players to strike a far greater distance than players of times past. Sliothars in times past were hand crafted and in heavy weather conditions sliothars became soggy and very heavy and striking presented several obstacles.

The style of hurling has altered vastly with many old timers bemoning the ugly current scrums now dominating hurling and camogie. The current sliothar does not encourage ground striking with players striving to get ball in hand and execute a long delivery. However regardless of the ciurrent sliothar weight and design, numerous epic games of wonderful sporting entertainment have been witnessed. No other sport delivers such immense skills unique to hurlers and camogie artists. 

Hurley Makers Of Times Past

The photo accompanying this article was given to me many years ago and I was informed that this Cork hurley maker crafted hurleys for many famous hurlers of times past. This was an era when hurleys were entirely hand crafted and the vast majority of county hurlers all had their own personal hurley makers.

The goalposts appear to have altered in the modern century and to compose an Irish Heritage survey amongst a collection of hurley makers around Ireland, I intend to call personally and discover the process of modern hurley making and check out the expanding marketplace for hurleys.

Incorporated in my upcoming editorials will be a unique collection of photos of hurley makers in the process of hurley making. German retailers, realising the importance of hurling to current and future generations of  Irish people, are now stocking off the shelf hurleys and bringing hurling and camogie playing to a whole new audience around Ireland. The marketplace has grown substantially in recent years, especially at under age levels, opening up new opportunities for Ireland’s Hurley Makers.

SportsLink.. Links Hurley & Sliothar Makers to Legends of Times Past: 

Honouring G.A.A. legends of times past with Online Tributes is an ongoing monthly assignment at All Ireland Hall of Fame Online Gallery and all over Ireland, the Golden Memories of Club & County Ex Players are preserved and promoted. Our Online heritage collection of tributes of Ex Players enables sports associated businesses to link their business name to the permanent residency of an Online Ex Player.