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The Art of Hurley Making - ‘From Ash to Clash’

A new DVD called The Art of Hurley Making - ‘From Ash to Clash’ has been produced by the GAA, Teagasc and the Irish Guild of Ash Hurley Makers. The DVD, which was launched in Croke Park today, Friday, 16 December, tells the story of Irish hurley making, from the planting of the ash tree, through the crafting of the hurley, to being used on the field of play in Croke Park.

Present to launch the 24 minute video today, were Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD; Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Criostóir Ó Cuana; Director of Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle; and the President of the Irish guild of Ash Hurley makers, Willie McAuliffe.

The video was directed and produced by Pat Comer (previous productions include the Naked Election and In the Name of the Fada, etc.) and celebrates the story of the Irish Ash Hurley and its place in Irish sporting culture. The craft of Hurley making is an indigenous, rural industry resulting in the sustainable and renewable manufacture of hurley sticks.

The DVD will play in the GAA Museum at Croke Park and will be available to view on the three organisations’ websites.

Speaking at the launch, the GAA President said: “It’s hard to think of anything more symbolically Irish than our hurleys and these carefully crafted pieces of ash represent far more than just a sporting accessory. I laud this project which aims to highlight the tradition and expertise that goes hand in hand with what is a highly respected craft and I acknowledge the coming together of the three organisations and the support of Minister of State Shane McEntee TD.”

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, said: “Our forests are an important national asset, contributing not just to the economic activity in the country and to a sustainable environment, but in the case of our ash plantations, to our important sporting culture. Teagasc are delighted to have worked with the Irish Guild of Ash Hurley Makers and the GAA on this DVD.”

Minister McEntee added: “Forestry and the GAA are a winning combination. By growing the necessary ash for making hurleys our forest owners and farmers – many of them GAA members – are providing a sustainable and renewable supply of raw material for another indigenous, rural industry – hurley making.” “The production of this DVD is timely because it goes back to basics – from the careful management of ash plantations to provide the raw material, to the unique skills required to create the eventual hurley. I have delivered on my commitment to maintain strong funding for forestry next year, including the planting of ash trees. Because of the investment that was put in place in earlier years, I am glad to say that some home grown ash is already coming on stream for hurley making and I expect a significant volume of ash for making hurleys to become available from 2014 onwards.” The story of hurling starts by applying best practice in relation to woodland establishment and management. The video underlines the importance of good quality ash trees if you want to produce good quality hurleys and therefore play hurling. It traces that piece of ash wood, through the skilled hands of hurley makers as it’s crafted into a finely balanced piece of sporting equipment, for use on sporting fields in GAA clubs right around the country.