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Hurling and camogie on Unesco list of protected cultural activities

Kilkenny' s DJ Carey on his way to scoring a goal against Offaly. Picture by Ann McManus

THE ancient games of hurling and camogie have received prestigious international recognition for their significant contribution to Irish life.

Among the oldest and fastest field sports in the world, the games have been added by heritage agency Unesco to its list of protected cultural activities around the world.

The list includes traditions or living expressions, inherited from ancestors and passed on.

Unesco praised hurling as an example of intangible cultural heritage. Camogie, considered by Unesco as "a form of hurling played by women", is also protected.

The status means the games have achieved international recognition as a key element of Ireland's living heritage to be safeguarded for future generations.

It is Ireland's second inscription on the `representative list' following Uilleann Piping, which was officially inscribed last year.

The submission for this inscription was led by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in partnership with the GAA and the Camogie Association.

GAA President John Horan said the award was another high point in a quite exceptional 2018.

"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," he said.

"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."

Kathleen Woods, President of the Camogie Association said it was a great honour for camogie to receive 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," she said.

Josepha Madigan, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said hurling was 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," she said.

"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."

Read more: John 'Curly' McIlwaine is a cherished resource of Antrim and the GAA

Hurling is among the oldest and fastest field sports in the world

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