Hurl price scare as disease wipes out ash trees

THE price of a hurl may be set to rise as Europe’s ash tree population is devastated by a lethal disease, which is making life difficult for Ireland’s indigenous hurl-crafting industry.

THE price of a hurl may be set to rise as Europe’s ash tree population is devastated by a lethal disease, which is making life difficult for Ireland’s indigenous hurl-crafting industry.

Much of the ash timber used for producing hurls in Kilkenny comes from the continent, but now material shortages and movement restrictions are causing problems just weeks before the new hurling season starts. One renowned local crafting business is warning of the consequences if a solution is not found.

Brian Dowling of Star Hurleys says that wood will now likely need to be kiln-dried before it can be imported, increasing the cost of the raw material. Unless domestic forestry bodies such as Coillte can bridge the gap, it is likely this cost will hit the consumer, as few businesses can absorb any price increase.

Each year in Ireland, there is a demand for over 350,000 hurls. Thousand of trees have already been destroyed in Northern Ireland and Leitrim in a bid to prevent the spread of the disease here.