Wexford hurl maker Paul gives it a lash of Discovery Channel

By David Tucker

Published 30/06/2015 | 00:00

Paul sanding a hurl in his workshop in Oylegate.
Paul sanding a hurl in his workshop in Oylegate.
Paul, wearing the pink shirt, with members of his family and the film crew.

WEXFORD GAA hurl maker Paul Maher is to introduce the craft of making hurls by hand to a global audience in the television programme 'How it's Made' which will be screened in Ireland on the Discovery Channel at 8.30 p.m. on Friday, July 10.

Broadcast in more than 35 languages and 180 countries, the series is seen by more than 180 million people every week.

'How it's Made' is an educational programme often used in schools and colleges, which documents for future generations the manufacturing processes of everyday objects.

Francois Senecal-Tremblay, director of 'How It's Made' explained why introducing hurling to a global audience was important to him, a game he describes for the uninitiated as 'a hybrid of ice hockey, lacrosse and rugby.. just quicker and better'.

'My parents lived in Limerick for about four years in the mid-80s and I travelled to Ireland a lot during that time. During one trip, I was introduced to hurling - I never got over that experience - what a dynamic game! A mad-man (or real man) sport that is unique to Ireland,' he said.

In June 2013, Francois contacted Paul via his website (www.maherhandmadehurls.com) enquiring if he would be interested in being part of a feature on hurl making. Delighted to have the opportunity to create an international historical record of the Irish hurl crafting process, Paul agreed. Travelling from Quebec in Canada, the Discovery Channel's crew of four arrived at Paul Maher's small family-owned business near Oylegate and filmed Paul inside his workshop which had been used since 1983 by his hurl maker father before him and in the adjoining yard.

'They filmed the entire process of hurl making, beginning with sawing the hurl planks from the ash tree right through to sanding, banding and stamping, all of which they captured beautifully.

'So many Irish people play or have an interest in hurling and camogie, yet few have seen how a hurl is made. This will be a great opportunity for them to learn about that process and it will hopefully inspire some of the younger Irish generation to take up this Irish craft and save the process from moving overseas,' said Paul.

On the day family and neighbours came to look on and we finished up with a game of hurling with the kids in the garden - to show the film crew how it was done! The crew couldn't have been nicer. It was a great experience and a memorable day for all of us.' Paul has been hand making and selling quality hurls for more than 30 years a craft he learned from his father. He supplies GAA and Camogie clubs throughout Ireland and abroad. He also caters for individual players seeking a hurl made to their own specific model, size, shape and weight.

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