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A medieval hurling stick found preserved in a bog in the townland of Derries near Edenderry, Co. Offaly in April 1981 is said to be over 200 years old. The stick was radiocarbon dated to AD 1467-1531 which dates the stick late 15th to early 16th century, made with alder it is 95cm in length with a bas width of 6.5cm. A modern-day copy of the stick was made for us by David Dowling, The Star Hurley CO, Kilkenny to demonstrate the look, shape and feel of the stick with the process used to make it.
Modern wide hurling sticks only became standard in the late 19th century, when the rules of the modern game were first codified by the GAA. Prior to this there were actually two hurling traditions in Ireland. In the north of the country a winter game, very similar to modern day shinty, was played mainly on the ground with a narrow stick and a hard ball. The second form of the game, or Leinster hurling, was played with a broader hurley and a softer ball and was much more like modern day hurling. Players could pick up the ball, catch and strike it as well as soloing down the field. Although the GAA used both forms as an inspiration for the game it organised in the late nineteenth century, Leinster hurling had more of an influence in the evolution of the game.
Above is a modern wide hurling stick made by The Star Hurley CO
Below the replicated stick beside a modern day shinty caman for reference.
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