Ancient Irish games of hurling and camogie receive official recognition

Ireland’s ancient Gaelic games of hurling and camogie have both won official recognition from UNESCO.

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The Irish Examiner reports that both hurling and camogie were officially included on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on November 29.


Hurling has just been inscribed on the #IntangibleHeritage List.
Congratulations #Ireland!  

ℹ️ #LivingHeritage

— UNESCO (@UNESCO) November 29, 2018

As part of the List, hurling and camogie - known as the fastest games on grass - are now both internationally recognized as a key element of Ireland’s living heritage to be safeguarded for future generations.

UNESCO says Intangible Cultural Heritage is something "transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity".

“Hurling is considered as an intrinsic part of Irish culture,” says UNESCO, “and plays a central role in promoting health and wellbeing, inclusiveness and team spirit.”

President Michael D. Higgins “warmly welcomed” UNESCO’s decision.

"UNESCO’s decision highlights yet again that team spirit, respect for skill excellence and creativity are at the heart of Irish society."

President Higgins has welcomed the @UNESCO tribute to #hurling and #camogie:

— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) November 29, 2018

Josepha Madigan, Ireland’s minister for Culture, said the inclusion of hurling and camogie was a “wonderful opportunity.”

“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." - Minister @josephamadigan

— DCHG / RCOG (@DeptAHG) November 29, 2018

John Horan, President of the GAA, said: “this UNESCO award is international recognition for our native game and an acknowledgment 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.”

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.

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Of hurling, Gaelic Games Europe writes “Hurling is played throughout the world, and is popular among members of the Irish diaspora in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and Asia.”

“In many parts of Ireland, however, hurling is almost a way of life. It has featured regularly in art forms such as film, music, and literature.”

Learn more about hurling here:

Learn more about camogie here:

Have you played hurling or camogie? Let us know in the comments!