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Hurling, the other Irish sport which doesn't include drinking too much beer
March 16, 2005 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Hurling, the national sport of Ireland is known as the fastest (mpeg) field sport. It is one of many Gaelic games unique to Ireland, collectively they are known as the GAA. The origin of hurling date back at least 2000 years and is prevalent in many Irish legends (rm). Playing hurling (wmv) requires great skill and bravery, it’s described as cross between field hockey and lacrosse, but with the ability to hit the ball like a baseball into the air. Equipment mainly consists of the hurley and the sliothar (ball), while many players wear helmets, many choose not to. Every year, the All-Ireland Championship is played in Croke Park where the top two counties compete. All hurlers are amateur athletes, there are no professionals. Its popularity is on the rise in North America as well as Europe. The women's version of hurling is called camogie.
posted by Meaney (24 comments total)

 
"Hurling, the national sport of Ireland"

I knew they drank a lot, but really, making a sport of vomiting afterward?
posted by orthogonality at 3:20 PM on March 16, 2005


C'mon the banner...............

Really excellent post. Great attempt to show the game but a tough thing to do. I have watched games on TV with American cousins but they found it hard to follow. Seeing the sliothar on the small screen is difficult if you are not familiar with the game. Going to rectify that this summer hopefully and take them to Thurles to see Clare kick some arse this summer..........pity the first comment was about vomiting!
posted by kenaman at 4:04 PM on March 16, 2005



Crazy, crazy game that. And this coming from an Australian Rules football fan.

In Oz, we have been lucky enough to get the final on free-to-air TV a few times. It always seemed to be Cork vs. Kilkenny!


(Anyone know of that game in Ireland where competitors bowl a metal ball between villages along the road? Least amount of throws, wins.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:18 PM on March 16, 2005


Some men take delight in the chariots a rolling
Others take delight in the hurling and the bowling
But I take delight in the juice of the barley
And in courting pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early
   Mush-a-ring-dumma-doo-dumma-da
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:18 PM on March 16, 2005


I've always thought the Hurling proved Irish superiority the rest of the world. But Gaelic Football kind of counterbalances my first thought.
posted by bardic at 4:23 PM on March 16, 2005


The first mention I ever saw of hurling was in the Patrick O'Brian Master and Commander books, where Maturin confuses the game of cricket being played between Aubrey's crew and another ship's with hurling. It was very confusing to read the description of the doctor batting down the ball, flipping it up into the air with his specially carved "bat", and smashing the wicket to bits with a primal scream...
posted by A dead Quaker at 4:59 PM on March 16, 2005


NYC's Hurling Center- Gaelic Park
posted by Shanachie at 5:30 PM on March 16, 2005


Also, The Irish mythological hero Cuchulain was fan of hurling...

Setanta set out on the track of the chariots, shortening the way for himself as he was used to do with his hurling stick and his ball. When he came to the lawn before the smith's house, the hound heard him coming, and began such a fierce yelling that he might have been heard through all Ulster, and he sprang at him as if he had a mind not to stop and tear him up at all, but to swallow him at the one mouthful. The little fellow had no weapon but his stick and his ball, but when he saw the hound coming at him, he struck the ball with such force that it went down his throat, and through his body. Then he seized him by the hind legs and dashed him against a rock until there was no life left in him...
posted by Shanachie at 5:45 PM on March 16, 2005


My Irish friend says:

Since I don't have an account on Metafilter, I can't comment on this front-page post on Irish sports. I would like to point out to the author that the GAA is not the collection of sports, it is the organising body that runs them. As you'd guess if you followed the link, where you'd learn that it stands for Gaelic Athletic Association. It is entirely up to the curious to figure out why it is that an association devoted to Irish sports is better known and indeed registered on the Intarweb under its English acronym, rather than the Gaelic one which belongs to a construction company (physical construction as opposed to "This Website Is Under Construction", although ironically enough that's exactly what's on the CLG site).

Were I to be more pedantic I'd point out that "playing hurling" is redundant, as "hurling" is itself the verb indicating the act of playing the game. But I'm not, so I won't.

posted by zadcat at 6:09 PM on March 16, 2005


My next question is, when and where I can see it on TV in the States? My Dad and I caught a couple of games last time we were in Ireland and loved it -- it'd be great if we could find it broadcast on satellite or cable.
posted by xthlc at 6:35 PM on March 16, 2005


zadcat, you couldn't've just lent your apparently destitute friend five bucks? Sheesh.

Well, GAA or no, it's a great post and a fascinating sport.

I know FPPs shouldn't be judged by this, amd least of all this one, but the distribution of linked words is well done; at the right window size they form quite the elegant pattern.
posted by soyjoy at 6:40 PM on March 16, 2005


The Hayes Hotel in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland is the location of the founding of the GAA.

I took a pilgrimage there last year.

Up Tip!
posted by punkbitch at 6:46 PM on March 16, 2005


i went to the hurling finals in dublin in 98. it was absolutley wild. the losing team sat on the field after the game in protest over a refs call. the fans were going insane in the stands. it was really fun to watch. i think i was told the hurling professionals were volunteers which makes it all the better - that they are out there getting beat to shit for the sport of it.
posted by alfredogarcia at 7:52 PM on March 16, 2005


An ex-boyfriend of mine started a hurling league here in Milwaukee almost 10 years ago. Our relationship didn't last more than a few years and he's no longer involved, but the league is still going strong. I'd never heard of the game, much less seen it, but I became a fan in short order. Sadly, I haven't been fortunate enough to see a pro game while in Ireland yet.

xthlc - I don't have specifics on which network it was on, but I remember being able to catch Irish hurling matches on cable while out visiting a friend in DC a few years back, so it is being broadcast here. Maybe someone in a more-Irish area than here can help you out. (Chicago & NY, I'm lookin' at you.)
posted by aine42 at 10:36 PM on March 16, 2005


Reminds me of an old joke.

A longtime Cork fan is on his death bed. He calls in his son and asks him to sign him up with Kerry club so he can pass away while wearing their colours.

The son, knowing his da to be a life long Corcaigh (Cork) fan, is stunned and asks him why he want to do this.

"Well, wouldn't you rather have on of those bastards die than one of us?"

I type this while wearing my Rebel jersey. Up Cork!

btw, great set of links there, Meany
posted by Dagobert at 10:55 PM on March 16, 2005


aine42 writes "Sadly, I haven't been fortunate enough to see a pro game while in Ireland yet. "

As has already been mentioned, there is no pro game in Ireland. GAA sports are strictly amateur.
posted by salmacis at 1:14 AM on March 17, 2005


I love watching the challenge matches between top hurling and shinty teams. The two sports are very similar. (There should be a shinty team called Strathcarnage, but there isn't...)

A similar thing was done years ago, on (UK) channel 4 when they would have an Aussie Rules team take on a Gaelic Football team.
posted by jackiemcghee at 4:38 AM on March 17, 2005


A similar thing was done years ago, on (UK) channel 4 when they would have an Aussie Rules team take on a Gaelic Football team.

It's an annual event now.
posted by kersplunk at 5:18 AM on March 17, 2005


An ex of mine played (what he and everyone on the team called) Irish football, probably associated with one of the many clubs out of Boston on the North America link above - it took me many a Sunday to figure out just what the hell was going on. You can do pretty much anything you want with the ball; kick it as in soccer or pick it up and carry it - provided that every third step you either pass it to a teammate, toss it into the air and catch it, or (what seemed to be the favorite) kick it off one of your feet back to yourself. If I've gotten any of this wrong, forgive me, it's been about 10 years.

It was the craziest, and probably one of the bloodiest, games I'd ever seen. 45 minute halves, and no subbing out - if you left the game, you were out for the duration, so people would play with all kinds of injuries. Rumor had it that one player, in tackling another, hit the guy in the thigh with his head and broke his leg. Whether or not that's true (I wasn't at that game), that player gained a reputation for (what else?) having a hard head.

My point? None, I guess. Great post! I'd just about forgotten Irish football at whatever that field was in Somerville. Good times, good time.
posted by jennaratrix at 7:22 AM on March 17, 2005


I was going to point out that the GAA is not the collective name of the sports, but Zadcat's irish friend did a far better job than I could.

Instead, let me rant about how, as the proud owners of Croke Park (a fine 80,000 capacity stadium on Dublin's Northside) the GAA continues to refuse to sanction it's use for any "foreign" games. For foreign read English and for English, read Soccer. The Far more popular soccer. The soccer that the world (outside of the US) knows as Football. The most popular sport in the world.

Ostensibly, this is to protect the unique Irishness of the games, but they have no problem booking Michael Jackson and his moonwalk to pack the place out. Not a Riverdancer in sight.

The Republic of Ireland Football team is forced to play at decrepit old Lansdowne Road, which has a capacity in the region of 40,000 and has an excellent playing surface - for Rugby.

Let me go back now to watching those strange people in trenchcoats, black berets and sunglasses walking silently up 5th Avenue....
posted by Sk4n at 8:18 AM on March 17, 2005


I was wondering how long it would take for someone to mention Croke-Park-it's-a-disgrace.
posted by fshgrl at 9:23 AM on March 17, 2005


GAA is the organizing body, switch "known as" to "run by" then the sentence works.

If your interested in watching hurling live and your nowhere close to Ireland, Setanta Sports has a webcast of games. Many of your larger Irish pubs show games via satellite. In the States, many of the larger cities like NY, Boston, Chicago and San Fran have very active hurling organizations where you can go see a game live. Other cities like Milwaukee, Seattle, St Louis, Akron and Portland have active teams that are comprised of mostly Americans, while the play may not be the level of senior hurling, it's still fun to watch.

I have family in Waterford, so that's my team, though some of them live in Cork so I usually end up routing for them since they've won the most championships.
posted by Meaney at 9:32 AM on March 17, 2005


Ahh , hurling , I remember a german friend we brought to an all ireland final. He later described it to his father as 'hockey for barbarians'. Some of the early Gaelic vs Australian rules matches where fun as well. One year after the first match the irish team made some complaints about foul play. The Aussie captains response was 'If they wanted to play a mans game they shouldn't have sent a bunch of ******'. Needless to say come the next match the grass turned red. The fact that a ball was on the field was of no interest to the players in the ensuing brawl. The next interview with the aussie captain began with the statement ' We all says things that we come to regret......'
posted by seanodonnell at 7:17 AM on March 18, 2005


salmacis: "As has already been mentioned, there is no pro game in Ireland. GAA sports are strictly amateur."

Thanks for the reminder, salmacis. I did actually know that. "Pro" was a bad choice of words on my part. I more meant I haven't been able to see any of the senior county teams play while I was in Ireland. Sorry for the confusion.
posted by aine42 at 12:56 PM on March 18, 2005


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