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The ancient sport of hurling – 1914

Butte Independent 6th June, 1914 p.3 (abridged)

"Cuchulainn Slays the Hound of Culain." by Stephen Reid According to legend the young man used his hurley and sliotar to defend himself against the huge beast. Illustration from "The Boys'Cuchulain" by Eleanor Hull (1904)

“Cuchulainn Slays the Hound of Culain.” by Stephen Reid
According to legend the young man used his hurley and sliotar to defend himself against the huge beast.
Illustration from “The Boys’Cuchulain” by Eleanor Hull (1904)

Hurling was played in Ireland from the time of the Celts. It was essentially a military game, designed to keep the warriors in perfect condition and training for battle. No other exercise could equal it in training the eye and the hand. Napoleon,  upon witnessing a hurling match among the men of his Irish brigade, remarked that “the race who invented such a game could whip the world.”
In the ancient schools of Ireland, civil and military, the youth had to be instructed in hurling, commencing at a very tender age. Each youth had to have his own hurley and ball, and practice until he learned the fine points of the game. This formed part of the instructions which an Ollamh imparted. In ancient laws the rights and privileges of a hurler were well-defined and protected.
Injury, while engaged in a game seldom happened, for not only would the hurler who injured an opponent suffer disgrace by being considered unskillful, but furthermore he was compelled by law to support the injured man and all others dependent on him while he was incapacitated.

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