Hurley presented to Queen made in Offaly

Story by Tom Kelly

Friday, 27th May, 2011 9:29am

Offaly was well represented at British Queen Elizabeth's visit last week. Firstly, Offaly's Brian Cowen attended a dinner in her honour at Dublin Castle while milk from Cleary's farm near Killeigh was used in the meal.

The hurley presented to the Queen in Croke Park was made by Offaly man Albert Nevin, and if that's not enough an Offaly horse led her welcoming guard of honour during her visit to the National Stud in Kildare.

Hurley-maker Albert Nevin this week told the Offaly Independent about his unusual order, explaining that it was commissioned by Croke Park.

The Shannon Harbour man got into the business of making hurleys almost by accident back in the early 80s.

"When I finished school there was no work," he said. "As a hobby my father taught me how to make hurleys." Skill and word-of-mouth led to him becoming a renowned hurley maker, and he's been at it full-time ever since supplying sticks to clubs all over the country.

As secretary of the Guild of Ash Hurley Makers, Albert suspects he may have been a convenient choice to be approached to make the hurley. The hurley he made for her is "the same as any hurley that I'd make any day", according to Albert. He can vouch for its quality however, as said if the Queen fancies using it she can "fire ahead".

In another Offaly twist, a Tullamore-bred horse was the mount of Captain Geoff Curran, who led the Army Equitation School guard of honour when Queen Elizabeth visited the National Stud last week. The horse - Kilmichael - was bred by David O'Brennan from the Clara Road in Tullamore.

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