Two groups from Canada were in Nenagh in the past week to sample the skills of hurling and to learn the craft of hurley-making.
The groups were part of the Premier Hurling Experience set up by Cllr Seamus Morris and aimed at bringing sports tourism to the county.
Alberni High School and St Marys Bruce Grey High School brought 90 people in total and were each given an introduction to hurling as part of the Premier Hurling Experience.
“The experience isn’t just about the physical sport. We include the craft of hurley-making as well, with a visit to Phil Bourke, where the young people can see how the hurley is made. It both fascinates them and gives them a greater appreciation of the depth of the cultural importance of hurling to us,” said Cllr Morris.
Parents, coaches and children all take part in the experience, even trying the puc fada. “The results vary, but they love it”, he said.
The constant flow of visitors is making a steady contribution to the local economy and Cllr Morris is delighted that the new Nenagh Municipal District Council has taken on his Sports Tourism Grants idea. Everything from sailing to snooker is expected to benefit from grants of up to €750 to act as ambassadors to sports tourists.
To support his initiatives he has called on the new Association of Irish Local Government to hold at least one conference in Nenagh in 2016, pointing out that the town is a short distance from Cloughjordan where one of the signatories of the 1916 proclamation, Tomás MacDonagh, was born. He was confident that Tipperary County Council will raise the matter with AILG.
Next week will see a visit from Strathcona Druids RFC, with Winnipeg RFC due in April.