A Picture Is Worth Ten Thousand Words

The game of hurling; considered to be the world’s fastest field sport, is a well known outdoor team sport of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin, today administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association (G.A.A.). The game has prehistoric origins and has been played for over 3,000 years.


Gaile National School Hurling Team (Circa 1927-1930).   Back Row: (L. to R.) John O’Meara, John Flanagan, (Galbertstown), Jim Sause, (Gaile), Teacher Mr. Matthew Kennedy, (Ballytarsna), Timmy Maher, (Killough), Willie Keogh, (Glenbane), Bill Dunne, (Gaile). Middle Row: Paddy Dunne, (Galbertstown), Jack Dunne, (Gaile), Pat O’Meara, (Killough), Dick Murphy, (Regaile), Mick Volkes, (Galbertstown). Front Row: Tommy Ryan, (Gaile) and Philly Ryan, (Peake).

The Hurling team, (picture shown above), was taken at Gaile National School, situated close to the village of Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary and possibly dates back to the end of the 1920’s. In or around this same time period the Victorian English illustrator, Fred R. Barnard was quoting the idiom “A picture is worth ten thousand words.”  Barnard of course was referring to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still photographic image, or that a photograph / sketched / painted image of any subject can often convey its meaning much more effectively than any description written in the form of text.

Look at the picture above. Back then these children wore no protective padding, after all the plastic protective helmet, complete with facial safeguard; today mandatory, did not come in to being for all age groups, until 2010. Note and compare the assortment of Hurley sticks and their evolutionary process compared to what players use today. Note also the bare footed then pupil, seen on right of the back row.

Had this picture been used by outgoing Labour Party candidates in recent Irish General Election posters; it would have conveyed effectively, that Rural Ireland in 2016 is most definitely experiencing “Recovery.”


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