Largest hurley on planet on display in west Belfast shop
THERE are hopes a giant-sized hurley on display in a shop in west Belfast can make history by being declared the largest on the planet.
Weighing half a tonne and measuring four metres long, the hurl is currently pride of place - and taking up a sizeable chunk of floor space - in ProGAA's store in Beechmount Avenue.
It took the equivalent of a full soccer team, 11 men, to move it inside when it arrived at the start of August.
In their attempts to find an ash tree large enough to make the stick, ProGAA had scoured the globe and eventually discovered a tree in Serbia which matched the requirements.
A staff member told The Irish News: "It was sent to Latvia, where it was cut up into pieces and shipped to Cork.
"It took quite a while to find it - about four months - and about the same time again to cut it up and transport it to Ireland.
"It was finished off by Paddy Barry, who is a great GAA man from Douglas in Co Cork.
"We wanted to attach the hurl to the front of the building but we were scared of pulling down the flats that are above us."
Mr Barry is also working on the world's biggest sliothar for the store, which is expected to measure one metre in height and diameter when completed.
Guinness World Records told The Irish News there is no current record for the largest hurley in the world.
A spokeswoman said: "The claimant would need to submit their evidence to their application which can take up to 12 weeks to be reviewed.
"We don't have a current record holder for that category but the minimum requirement is four metres."
ProGAA said: "We had to get an engineer out to measure it and weigh it. We are waiting for Guinness World Records to verify it."
The store said that the idea was borne from a desire to "have something to attract people in".
In that respect, it has achieved its goal.
"Everyone comes in and hugs it. We have had a few builders who have come in to look at it and said the craftmanship is unbelievable.
"A customer came in and offered £10,000 but I politely declined. Paddy Barry said that you couldn't put a price on it as it is the only one in the world."
ProGAA said its ultimate wish is to keep the hurl in west Belfast by donating it to the new Casement Park.
"If the new Casement Park goes ahead and the powers to be agree then we would like it to be on display there. We think there is no better place in Ireland for it."