Ireland has again been plunged into a state of toxic acrimony as a topic that divides more people than the Great Wall of China has re-entered the national discourse. What do you call the curled piece of ash stick that you play hurling with?
Writing in today's Irish Times, letterwriter and Corkman Ned Monaghan opines:
Sir, – I was born and reared in Co Cork and when we went out to play, after school and before the tea, we went hurling.And we used our hurleys to do that.
Yet we will all be familiar, I assume, with the words of the song Bould Thady Quill, who as I remember, “Hurled the ball right and left in their faces”.
To do that, he used a hurley, not a hurl. Hurl is a verb, not a noun.
I just read a fine article in this paper about a fine man who, they said, made hurls. He did not. He made hurleys.
This is finally off my chest. I truly hope that I will never again see hurleys called hurls.
If this trend continues donkeys will be soon be called donks.
Ned has made the most persuasive argument yet for calling it a hurley over a hurl. By dint of geography, thousands will protest.
The letter has spawned much debate on Ireland's airwaves and social media streams this morning. It has also revived the biggest blood feud in hurling: Cork people vs Kilkenny people.
— Derrick Lynch (@DLynchSport) August 8, 2019
By coincidence we had that conversation in my house this week. Here’s what we agreed:
‘Hurling’ (n.) is the game
Hurlers (players) ‘hurl’ (vb)
The ‘hurley’ (n.) is the stick#isitp
— aiġne (@aighne_kearney) August 8, 2019
Me: Regional variation is an important aspect of language; attempting to enforce a national standard obscures meaningful local identities.
Also me: IT’S HURLEY, ANYONE WHO CALLS IT ‘HURL’ IS NO TRUE FRIEND OF THE GAEL.
— Marc Scully (@marcdonnchadh) August 8, 2019
— 𝘿𝙖𝙫𝙚 🇺🇦 (@davelike_) August 8, 2019
Twas always a #hurley around #Dungarvan in the mid 60s To *hurl or play hurling you used a hurley* My #Dublin grandsons say hurl despite my best efforts to educate them Their #Dub father is no use, he thinks it's a hurl also; might need to be put to a different use! Bate sense!
— richard walsh #FastTrackCitizenship (@WalshmrG) August 8, 2019
In a highly unscientific poll among @clonlaragaaclub members we can report that yes, a #hurley is in fact also a #hurl - sorry Ned.@DLynchSport @RTEsport @SineadOCarroll @HurlingBanter @buff_egan @MunsterGAA @ExaminerSport @IrishTimesSport pic.twitter.com/9768VI3Qcb
— clonlaragaaclub (@clonlaragaaclub) August 8, 2019
It's called a hurl not a hurley, unless you're a West Brit. Case closed.
— 💯 (@adamprincebilly) August 8, 2019
On this point, we're happy to give our editor Mick McCarthy the final word.
Geographically dependent. In Munster, it's a hurley, in Leinster it's a hurl. The tiebreaker is that is all the other places where said object is as foreign as a cricket bat, they call it a hurl. Therefore, it's unequivocally a hurley.
— Michael McCarthy (@McCarthyMick) August 8, 2019
For what it is worth, we are polling hurl vs hurley on our Instagram stories page and hurl is beating hurley to 57% to 43%.
Our sources in the US embassy tell us Senator George Mitchell is currently on a Concorde jet from his summer haven in rural Vermont to mediate a grand council of esteemed hurling people at Hayes's Hotel in Thurles to resolve this matter once and for all.