Pied Pipers at the gates of hurling’s dawn

Pied Pipers at the gates of hurling’s dawn
Paul Rouse’s new book, The Hurlers, looks at the origins of the fastest field sport on Earth Pic: Fergal Phillips

In an exclusive extract from his new book The Hurlers, GAA academic Dr Paul Rouse looks at how the sport spread with lightning speed through the Ireland of the mid-1880s

In Christmas Week 1882, an anonymous letter was printed in the Irish Times, advocating the revival of the “true old Irish game” of hurling. At that time, versions of the game were played by small rural communities in areas such as north Tipperary and east Galway, but there was not a single hurling club in Ireland. And yet those letters set in train a sequence of events that led within two years to the establishment of the GAA, and within five years to the staging of the first All-Ireland hurling championship.

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