08/05/2024 Joeys Alumni

A Riveting Chronicle of Ireland's Beloved Sport: "The Epic Origins of Hurling" Book Launch

This project was conceived by St Joseph's, Fairview alumnus Brendan McGrath as a fundraiser to support ongoing educational and community projects at St Joseph’s. All profits from the book sales will be directed towards Joey’s Alumni and St Joseph’s School projects.





Click here to help propell this project with a donation and receive a FREE copy of "The Epic Origins of Hurling" 



Last night, Tuesday 7th May, St. Joseph’s Past Pupils Union (Joey's Alumni) proudly launched the "The Epic Origins of Hurling," a fascinating journey through the history of one of Ireland’s most ancient and cherished sports. This event, a significant milestone in the understanding and celebration of Ireland's national sport, hurling, took place in Croke Park to a packed audience of sports fans, historians and media personalities eager to get their hands on this epic publication to explore the rich tapestry of hurling's history.



The Guest of Honour, GAA President Jarlath Burns, introduced the book with profound words: "In order to know where we are going, we need to know where we came from." He praised the book for enhancing his understanding and appreciation of hurling, which continues to shape his efforts in increasing awareness and participation in our national sport.


The evening was expertly compared by RTE’s Darragh Maloney, who facilitated insightful discussions with the translators, editors and abridgers, Stephen and Michael McGrath and scholars Liam Mac Mathúna Professor Emeritus of Irish at UCD (all Joeys past pupils) and Pádraigín Riggs, former professor of Irish at UCC, all of whom contributed to this groundbreaking project.




Originally authored in Irish by Brother Liam Ó Caithnia, a revered former teacher at St. Joseph's CBS, Fairview, the book offers a deep dive into the storied past of hurling from its mythological origins to the structured gameplay we see today. This newly translated, abridged and edited edition sheds light on hurling's vibrant history, enriched by the game’s unique terminology and folklore, and underscored by a foreword from the legendary Brian Cody who describes the book as a treasure that "throws much of what we have ever known about the origins of our game on its head."

Drawing from chapters of "The Epic Origins of Hurling", it is clear that historical hurling was not just a sport but a vibrant cultural spectacle deeply intertwined with the everyday lives and social fabric of the Irish people. The game was characterised by features that would surprise modern spectators: matches of considerable length, often spanning several days, where teams from opposing parishes heroically clashed in fierce competition. Wrestling, a significant aspect of these encounters, was not merely tolerated but celebrated as a crucial skill for players, further accentuating the game's physicality and the valour of its participants.


Moreover, the presence of scrums, akin to those in rugby, highlights the rough, unbridled nature of early hurling. The strategic element of avoiding offside, a rule developed to maintain fairness and competition integrity, indicates the evolving complexity of the game even in its nascent forms. These intense, physically demanding features made hurling not only a test of skill and endurance but also a profound communal experience that forged lasting bonds among players and spectators alike. Such historical insights enrich our understanding of hurling's enduring appeal and its foundational role in Irish cultural identity.


Click here to help propell this project with a donation and receive a FREE copy of "The Epic Origins of Hurling" 


For more information, visit www.epichurling.com.





Additional Material


Liam Cody Forward
Book synopsis 

Book Extracts Presentation PDF


Click here to help propell this project with a donation and receive a FREE copy of "The Epic Origins of Hurling" 



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