Hurling is older than the recorded history of Ireland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Ireland with the Celts. It has been a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2000 years. The earliest written references to this sport are in the Brehon law which dates from the fifth century.
The survival of these records and references are testament to the existence of the craft of hurleymaking in Ireland for over 2000 years. In the fifth century, during the time of St. Patrick, hurleys were crafted in Ireland. A hurley was made in Ireland on the day Brian Boru was killed in 1014. During the ‘Flight of the Earls’ in 1607, ash trees were being shaped into hurleys. This craft continued through two world wars right up to the present day.
Through this website, the Guild of Irish Ash Hurleymakers aims to introduce you all to our great history as traditional Irish craftsmen. We see ourselves as custodians of a great living tradition which is one of a very select few crafts that is rooted in over 2000 years of Irish history.
Hurleymaking is a highly skilful creative profession which demands the utmost care and attention to detail. This first step in this process involves the selection of suitable ash trees. The correct felling, milling and seasoning processes of these trees are the next steps in creating the perfect hurley. The final stage is the crafting of the hurley itself. This is an almost spiritual experience as the ‘soul’ of the ash is released through the expert hands of our Guild members and combines with the spirit of our great hurlers to play the fastest and most skilful field game on earth.