All About Hurling

All About Hurling

Katie Rhodes |

Humans love to compete with one another. It gives them a chance to show off their skills and prove that they are the best. To allow an individual or a team to show off their athletic prowess, games and sports have been developed - and some of them have been around for an incredibly long time.

One of the oldest field games in the world is hurling, and it has been around (and popular) for about 3,000 years. If you find yourself wondering, what is Irish hurling, we have the answers to that and more.

What is Hurling?

The term "hurl" may give you an idea of the object or action behind this sport. When asking what is a hurling game, it is an outdoor competition played by two teams, both of which move a ball or "sliotar" down the field using short sticks with an oval end, in an effort to score goals. Hurling is played by males. The female version of the sport is called camogie.

Where Did Hurling Originate?

In addition to asking what is the game hurling, you might be wondering how long it has been around. Hurling is one of Ireland's oldest native games. It is said that its roots trace back to Gaelic times.

Today, hurling is Ireland's national game. The administrative body over hurling is the Gaelic Athletic Association or GAA, which is headquartered in Dublin. They are also the governing body for Gaelic football.

What is Required for Play?

If you are wanting to play hurling, you'll need start with two teams of 15 people. Each player on the team has a position assigned to him. Next, you'll need a playing field. According to the GAA, "hurling is played on a pitch up to 145m long and 90m wide."

Each end of the field has an H-shaped goal. Players have sticks, known as hurleys, that feature a wide curve at one end - similar to a field hockey stick but shorter. You'll also need a ball, which is called a sliotar, as noted above.

How Do You Play?

If you are wondering how to play hurling, simply put, players use their hurleys to hit the sliotar through their opponent's goalpost. To do this, they may catch the ball while it is in play and carry it for up to four steps. However, a player can only hold a ball twice during one possession. You can also use your hands and feet to move the ball. A player can also bounce or balance the sliotar on the end of their playing stick.

How Do You Score?

Hitting the ball over the H-shaped crossbar equals one point for your team; hitting it under the bar and past the soccer-style goalkeeper will score you three points.

Where Can I See a Hurling Match?

If you are in Ireland, check the GAA's site ( for times and tickets. Hurling is also popular in other areas around the globe. Check with local organizations in your area for more information on matches and how to see them live.

Being able to watch a live game can be incredibly thrilling, but you want to make sure you're dressed properly and can show off your team spirit. When it comes to the items that can help with either of those endeavors, check out what Creative Irish Gifts has to offer.

 Information for this story was sourced from