to bring our native game back to the wild places

bí ag sugradh

Iomándraoícht Fionn Trá

My sense is that we are becoming more disconnected from the parts of the game that are essential to the overall health of our society. We are gradually slipping in to the use and benefit mindset, leaving part of us under-nourished. We are slowly disconnecting us from the essence of play.

I often wonder; why finish playing at 32 or even 40? Why don't we play games of modified hurling in public places?

And why is it either total competition or everyone gets a medal, is there nothing in between?

Can the genders mix, can the generations mix, and if they could, would it have a healing effect on our community that is becoming increasing insular and disconnected?

In West Kerry we have over a year of Sundays put down playing hurling on the beach, a mix of backgrounds, capabilities and ages all coming together to share in the simple but essential pleasure of play.

It is a practice I would like to initiate in more parts of the country and if anyone is interested I would like to assist them in initiating it.

One evening, while walking on Derada Hill, a hare sprung from under my feet. I found myself, all of a sudden, on the ground burying my head in the warm form left in the grass, and I asked that primordial form to act as a poultice, to draw out my expensive European education from my head, because in my western way of thinking I was damaging the earth. It had set me up in opposition to what is natural and native to us.
John Moriarty, Nostos, (Lilliput Press, Dublin, 1994).

I can’t say when I first played hurling. It was with me on all of the great moments of self-discovery I can think of. Once I had a decent footing in the world I became aware of a stick being close by.

It defined my youth; this game, this skill, this way of spending time. It was frustrating and it was ordinary and it was miserable at times, but a current ran through me, a note that intensified as I played. It got more serious as I grew up, the stakes got higher, my identity hardened, a community of people formed and goals were unconsciously set, if not assumed.

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