As Ireland prepares for this year's All Ireland Hurling Final, a new exhibition "Hair hurling balls: Earliest artefacts of our national game" opening at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo will feature hurling balls dating back to the late seventeenth century or one at least to the second half of the eighteenth century, 800 years ago.
There will be 14 hurling balls on display at the exhibition. Made from matted cow hair with a plaited horsehair covering, these are the predecessors to the modern leather covered sliotar.
The exhibition will also feature the oldest known hurley from Co. Offaly. Many of these finds were discovered through turf cuttings in bogs over the past 100 years.
Hurleys and sliotars of recent past and current hurling legends will also be featured. The exhibition promises to firmly establish the antiquity of the national game of hurling beyond the stories of Cú Chulainn playing the game showing the scientific research and carbon dating used to reveal the stories behind the hurling balls.
The exhibition "Hair hurling balls: Earliest artefacts of our national game" will run from 06 September until May 2014.