Hurley makers prepare for a Croker date on Ash Dieback
Hurley makers from all over Ireland are to meet in Croke Park on Wednesday, July 17, to address the effect the disease Chalara Fraxinea (Ash Dieback) has had on plantations.
More than 2,200 cubic metres of ash is used every year in Ireland to make 700,000 hurleys, but 80pc of that supply is imported.
Britain and Denmark supply the majority of imported ash to Ireland, although this has been curtailed in recent months by the outbreak of Ash Dieback.
Strict new rules on imported timber mean that all ash must now be de-barked before entering Ireland, adding extra costs to the timber.
A single cubic metre of ash plank is worth around €1,100, according to Teagasc forestry expert Michael Somers.
Irish ash is particularly sought after by hurley makers because its fast growth rate creates big annual growth rings in the butt, making the wood more supple and easier to work.
However, not enough ash has been grown in Ireland in the last 100 years to cater for the huge demand for hurleys, according to Mr Somers, so ash must be imported.