This might be the first time you have ever heard of Hurling but Hurling is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Ireland with the Celts. It has been a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2000 years. In the book by Seamus King “A History of Hurling” there is a reference from Irish verbal history of hurling as far back as the 1200 B.C being played in Tara Co. Meath. Hurling is related to the games of Shinty that is played primarily in Scotland. Hurling was said to be played in ancient times by teams representing neighboring villages. Villages would play games involving hundreds of players, which would last several hours or even days.
In 1884 the Gaelic Athletic Association GAA was founded to organize the game of Hurling and Gaelic football under a common set of written rules. in 1891 the first ever All-Ireland final was played. The GAA is now one of the largest and most successful amateur sports organizations in the world.
Here is a look at the oldest surviving hurling balls which are a far cry from the leather covered sliotar of today.