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Unesco grant Hurling and Camogie Cultural Heritage status


Cork hurler Seamus Harnedy pictured at the 2018 All-Ireland SHC launch at Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór. 
Cork hurler Seamus Harnedy pictured at the 2018 All-Ireland SHC launch at Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór. 

Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is delighted to announce that Hurling has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

At a meeting of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mauritius yesterday (28 November), Ireland’s nomination of Hurling was approved, thereby achieving international recognition of hurling as a key element of Ireland’s living heritage to be safeguarded for future generations.

Minister Madigan said: “I am delighted that Hurling has achieved international recognition by UNESCO. Hurling is 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. I am grateful to the Camogie Association and the GAA for their work with my Department to achieve this UNESCO recognition.”

Ireland ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2015. The Convention was established to safeguard, appreciate, and raise awareness of cultural heritage locally, nationally, and internationally. Intangible cultural heritage, or living heritage, refers to customs, traditions, crafts, games, and practices that are part of people's lives and identities both individually and as part of wider communities, and that are passed on from generation to generation

Hurling, which is used to denote the entire game, including camogie, as played by men, women and children, is Ireland's second inscription on the Representative List. Ireland's first nomination, Uilleann Piping, 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.

Uachtarán CLG John Horan said: “The decision of UNESCO to award the prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage status to the game of hurling is yet another high point in what has been a quite exceptional 2018 for the game. Coming on the back of what was yet another exceptional summer of Championship hurling, 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. 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. All of us involved in the Association are charged with ensuring that the promotional work we undertake preserves Hurling for future generations.”

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. 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. I wish to thank Minister Madigan and her colleagues within the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as well as our colleagues in the GAA for their hard work and support with this submission.”

In conclusion, Minister Madigan 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.

“Only last month – in support of this campaign for inscription – I attended a celebration of the culture and tradition of hurling at the Irish Embassy in Paris, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of those who contributed to what was a very successful event – Pat Daly (GAA), Louise Conlon (Camogie Association) Aidan O Sullivan, Claire Cave & Paul Rouse (UCD), John Fenton & Daniel McCarthy (Club Representatives).”.

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