“Frank Murphy is a hurley stick-maker, as his uncle and his gran-uncle were before him. He has been converting ash timber into the magical wands I’d seen whirling around Croke Park.” – Robert Penn ‘The Man who made things out of Trees’
The Murphy Family have been crafting hurleys in Kilmeaden since 1901. The tradition was first started by Francis ‘Beb’ Murphy and his brother Mick Murphy who made hurleys for their local team Ballyduff. The tools they used – an axe for felling the tree, a handsaw for planking the tree and a hatchet and spokeshave for shaping the hurley. These tools remain today treasured family mementos.
Frank and his wife Bridget expanded and developed the craft from the 1970s onwards. Today Frank, his daughter Mary-Kay and her husband Liam continue to carry the hurley-making tradition forward. The tools we used today may differ from those used by Beb and Mick, but the skill and dedication to the craft of handmade hurley making remains the same.