An outdoor team game field sport of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin and has been played for over 2,000 years. In fact, Hurling is older than the recorded history of Ireland and is thought to predate Christianity and is referenced in the Brehon Laws (1272BC). Hurling was said to have been played in ancient times by teams representing neighboring villages. Villages would play games involving hundreds of players, which would last several hours or even days. The eighteenth century is frequently referred to as “The Golden Age of Hurling”. This was when members of the Anglo-Irish landed gentry kept teams of players on their estates and challenged each other’s teams to matches for the amusement of their tenants. Under the Act of Union, 1798, which made Ireland part of England, the British were afraid of large gatherings of men and banned hurling. Coupled with the great famine, hurling was all but dead for that time. In 1883, Michael Cusack revived the sport by founding the Cusack’s Academy Hurling Club, but since several times teams were playing with different rules, standardization needed to occur. The founding of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in 1884 began to formalize the game around a common set of written rules and in 1891 the first All-Ireland hurling final was played with Kerry winning the championship.
Hurling is now the proud “official sport” of Ireland and has begun to develop a ground swell following throughout the world, including North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, and South Korea. Outside of the traditional North American GAA cities of New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, clubs are springing up all of the country, (over 120) and they consist of predominantly American-born players who bring a new dimension to the game and actively seek to promote it as a mainstream sport.
The All-Ireland Hurling Final has been rated #2 by CNN as the must see live sporting event in the world behind the Olympics and in front of the World Cup of Soccer.
Hurling in Colorado has roots dating back to 1996 with the formation of the Denver Gaels. The Gaels have a current membership of approximately 150 male and female members and is considered to be one of the primer clubs in the fastest growing hurling regions in the US, the southwest. This past year also saw the formation of a Hurling Club at CU, and the Boulder campus will be the host for the NC/GAA National Colligate Hurling Championships in May of 2016.