UNESCO recognition for hurling and camogie

November 29, 2018

Josepha Madigan T.D., Minister for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Sean Finn, Limerick and Aoife Murray, Cork ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Hurling and camogie have been officially recognised by UNESCO as protected cultural activities.

Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was delighted to announce that hurling has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Yesterday’s meeting of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mauritius saw Ireland’s nomination of hurling approved, which thereby sees international recognition for the sport as a key element of Ireland’s living heritage to be safeguarded for future generations.

UNESCO described hurling as "a field game played by two teams which dates back 2,000 years and features strongly in Irish mythology, most notably in the epic saga of Cú Chulainn."

Minister Madigan said: “I am delighted that Hurling has achieved international recognition by UNESCO. Hurling is a key element of Irish culture. For centuries, hurling has been an important part of the Irish identity, with men and women passing on this living tradition to each rising generation. I am grateful to the Camogie Association and the GAA for their work with my Department to achieve this UNESCO recognition.”

Uachtarán CLG John Horan said: “The decision of UNESCO to award the prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage status to the game of hurling is yet another high point in what has been a quite exceptional 2018 for the game. Coming on the back of what was yet another exceptional summer of Championship hurling, this UNESCO award is international recognition for our native game and an acknowledgement of its cultural, social and sporting importance to the People of Ireland. It reaffirms the fact that Hurling is more than just a sport. It is a national treasure; an ancient tradition that connects us to our Celtic past and a part of our DNA. At a time of unprecedented popularity for the Game here, we owe a debt of gratitude to the generations of people who preserved, protected and promoted the game at school, club and county levels so that it would survive and thrive for our benefit. All of us involved in the Association are charged with ensuring that the promotional work we undertake preserves Hurling for future generations.”

Kathleen Woods, President of the Camogie Association said: “It is a great honour for Camogie to receive this prestigious international recognition which illustrates the integral role which Hurling and Camogie play in Irish life and the great history associated with our games. I am delighted for all of our wonderful volunteers and players that our unique games have been recognised as they are the lifeblood of our games. I wish to thank Minister Madigan and her colleagues within the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as well as our colleagues in the GAA for their hard work and support with this submission.”

Minister Madigan concluded: “The UNESCO Representative List is intended to promote visibility, awareness and diversity in cultural heritage internationally. The inscription of Hurling is a wonderful opportunity to share a cherished aspect of Irish culture with others."

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