Credit: Seaninryan / CC BY-SA 4.0

ON THIS DAY: 3 DECEMBER 1366: Printed Statues of Kilkenny banning the game of hurling

Known as the fastest field game in the world, a sliotar can top 93mph from a good strike. Hurling is also mentioned in the 11th/ 12th century Leabhar na hUidre, while further descriptions are to be found in 13th/14th century romantic tale Cath Mhaigh Tuireadh Chunga. This latter account details a very bloody hurling game between the Tuatha De Danna and the Fir Bolg that was played at Moytura, Co. Mayo. This mythical match supposedly took place in 1072 BC! The GAA’s History and Evolution of hurling says the game as been in existence for over 3,000 years. It is mentioned and sometimes central to many myths and legends.

The Brehon Laws, took account of the existence and popularity of hurling. The Laws provided for compensation for injuries arising out of participation in the game of hurling. It was also a punishable crime under the Brehon Laws to deliberately strike another with a hurley. There are many references to the game of hurling in the centuries before the birth of Christ. There is evidence that hurling was an essential part of life for young men preparing to be warriors.

The game was outlawed after the occupation of the Normans but it continued to be played, with English sources generally disapproving of the game.

Penal times and famine produced a great decline in hurling and in 1884 the Gaelic Athletic Association was formed to promote and revive traditional Irish sports.


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