Looking Back

On Tuesday I was recalling the work of Ada Lovelace a pioneer in the world of Technology.  Today I recall other ladies who in days gone by were forging ahead to break other boundaries.

Last night I was reading about the Playing Rules for the game of Camogie.  As far as I could see they were all about the referee, umpires and the uniform.  There was little or no mention of the players.  It was a far cry from the original game that took place in 1904. I wrote a post back in March 2007 about that first game here.

Camogie may come under the banner of the GAA – the Gaelic Athletic Association, but it is still listed under ‘Other Activities’ on their website.  Mind you when the game is in full flow it is difficult to know whether it is a game of Men’s hurling or a game of Camogie.  The uniforms are similar and the players all wear headgear nowadays.

Modern day uniform

Compare it with the original

On Sunday 17 July 1904 at the Showgrounds at An Umaimh

In the picture above, the player 1st left in the front row in my Maternal grandmother and she seems to have a bloody nose.  Tut! Tut! Rough game. 🙄

Granny aged 20

23 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. steph


    Thanks! I knew nuttin’ about camogie until I read this.

    As Father Jack would have said…

    “Drink” “Feck” “Girls” 🙄

  2. Annb

    I was just mad about camogie when I was in school, my mother had quite the glittering career when she was a lass. A local GP, an amazing woman with fire in her belly, put together a junior team and I was bitten by the bug. Enthused with thoughts of a camogie dynasty, I tried to introduce my 8 year old daughter to it last year. She’s very much a pink lady into dresses and drama. After two sessions, she turned to me and said ‘it’s just not me’. So much for the dynasty!

  3. Nick

    It must have been difficult playing a proper game when you had to wear cumbersome clothing like that. It must have been more like hoovering than playing camogie.

  4. Grannymar Post author

    @Steph – You’re welcome.

    @Annb – Playing sport is a personal thing. The camogie bug has skipped three generations so far in our family and the fourth are a bit young yet, but who knows.

    @Nick – The rules were worked out as the game was played on that first day, since some of the moves were thought to be unsuitable and indeed impossible. Running or showing an ankle by young ladies, was frowned upon back then.

  5. Nancy


    I think the game you described as camogie is called field hockey here and is played at almost every high school in America by girls. Boys mostly play LaCrosse .

    Field hockey IS rough. Lots of running and swinging of sticks and balls flying through the air on their way to a SCORE! That’s probably why your Granny had a bloody nose…

    Lacrosse was being played by American Indians before the first settlers got here. It is a very fast and rough. The players have long handled sticks with a small basket on the end in which they catch the ball and pass it off to the other players while running toward the goal….

    Great exercise and so much healthier than playing with a PlayStation or X Box all day. At least with the game WII the players are moving around and get a little bit of a workout..

  6. Keith Gaughan

    @Nancy: Believe me, Nancy, camogie is *nothing* like field hockey, except superficially. Camogie’s essentially the same game as hurling, except with the ability to handpass, which is prohibited in hurling. The Wikipedia page on hurling is excellent, so compare and contrast: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurling

    One of the biggest differences between hockey and hurling/camogie is that the former is a non-contact sport whereas the latter is full contact.

  7. Nancy


    Hello, Keith, Nice to meet you. Thanks for setting me straight on the Camogie/Field Hockey topic.

    I really thought Camogie sounded like our hockey and that is very reasonable because we played hockey very early in the history of North America and I don’t think we invented it. Almost all the things we have in this part of the United States originated in Ireland or the UK or Western Europe. So, I thought prhaps we took a game like camogie and called it hockey.

    I read the Wikipedia entry that you linked me to and it did explain all about what you had already told me.


  8. Alice

    This is my first inkling of camogie too. I enlarged the photo of your grandmother so I could verify the bloody nose–and did! And if the photographs I’ve seen of you are accurate, I’d say you resemble her quite a bit albeit your hairstyle is updated. Live and learn I say.

  9. Grannymar Post author

    @Judy – Granny was a very special lady. I can still her her laughter and miss her although she died in 1986. Humour and fun were her legecy to me.

    @Nancy – We can always depend on one of my toyboys to come up with answers! 😀

    @Keith – Long time no hear. How are you? Thanks for supplying the answers to Nancy’s questions.

    @Alice – I have always been told that my mother and I were like a sister of Granny’s.

  10. wisewebwoman

    As a former player of said sport I can attest to its fierceness. It is no game for sissies. I suffered a broken foot and a broken finger and kept playing on both occasions only going to the hospital later.
    We would sneer at the hockey players at the neighbouring school (softies!!) and think rugby was for the limp wristed compared with hurling.
    Your granny looks amazing, GM, blood nose ‘n’ all. We never had protective gear either.
    God be with the days, yeah?

  11. Grannymar Post author


    Woo Hoo! A real camogie player at last.

    The game in 1904 would not have been as fast as you remember it. The long skirts and stays would not allow it.

  12. Magpie11

    Who was it said something about the female of the species?

    Over here Lacrosse was played at Girls’ Schools….. At my school the girls played Hockey and the boys Rugby Union Football… from whence American Football developed I’m told. I was also told that Hockey was invented by a Cricket Club who wanted a game to play in the winter…their balls were not in use during the winter.

    These games with sticks all seem to be fast and furious.

  13. Grannymar Post author


    Nancy mentioned Lacrosse being played by the boys on her side of the pond.

    One of my brothers played hurling and it was fast and dangerous. I kept well away when they were swinging those hurley sticks.

  14. Brighid

    Interesting to learn the differences between field hockey (which I loved) and camogie. Magpie, sounds like the lack of balls in use in winter by the cricket club could explain a few things.

  15. Nancy

    ” Their balls were not in use during the Winter”

    @ Magpie,

    So Grannymar can look forward to absolutely no romancing from November to April, is that it?

    I wonder if all of her toyboys suffer from this condition in Winter?

    Did you ever hear the old expression “When the frost is on the punkin, that’s the time for dickie dunkin?”

  16. Ciara

    ‘Camogie may come under the banner of the GAA – the Gaelic Athletic Association, but it is still listed under ‘Other Activities’ on their website. ‘

    Just to clarify that this is so because the Camogie Association have remained autonomous by choice, seperate to the main GAA family, but still recognised as a GAA game as such.

  17. Magpie11

    Nancy…Nooo…I thought it was bicky dunkin…but there are dyslexic tendencies in the family.

    I tink you might have got the (right) wrong end of the stick there.

  18. Grannymar Post author

    Deviatrix – Hello and welcome. As you can see the game certainly changed since 1904. How would you like to play in the long skirts? It would certainly slow things down.

  19. eileen o leary

    If you all want to see a real game of camogie try to get hold of a dvd of the All IIreland Senior final Wexford versus Cork 2012. You will see what a good game of camogie is all about and believe me you will like it Here in Castlebridge we are about to launch the history of our club St. Ibar’s Shelmalier, 52 years later.


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