The biggest difficulty in hurl making is sourcing the best ash to use. Irish ash is scarce, and more than 90% of ash used in today’s hurl making is foreign. The IGAHM was established in the mid 1990’s when it became very apparent that the supply of Irish ash was not adequate to supply the hurl making industry. Following discussions with several government departments Croke Park, the hurl makers Guild and Coillte (Ireland’s largest forestry company) decided to tackle the problem. An agency was set up in England in 1998 with the view to importing timber in the round and this continues today. Coillte also import ash from Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Romania. Coillte have been anxious that the planking and Hurl making business would stay based in Ireland and always strive to distribute the timber to Guild members.
It is now acknowledged that it is a waste of time to turn out middle of the road hurls – no self respecting hurler uses them any more. There is a direct link between playing the game to the best of one’s ability and possessing a number of individually crafted hurls which are produced by someone who is personally known and trusted.