ONE of the world’s biggest firms has thrown its weight behind a Loughgiel-based family firm which makes hurls.
Scullion Hurls, has received a loan of £8,000 from Michelin Development, the economic regeneration programme of Michelin Tyre PLC.
The loan will be used to keep a unique local craft alive and allow the firm to develop its niche workshop to accommodate visitors and groups.
The Michelin Development programme aims to contribute to the economic regeneration and long term prosperity of the areas in which Michelin’s sites are located including Ballymena and the loan to Scullion Hurls will allow the firm to take advantage of its entry in to the Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust’s Économusée scheme.
Économusée, or working museum, is a Quebec inspired craft tourism initiative which is gaining in popularity across Northern Europe.
Each Économusée offers a unique experience, inviting visitors to watch artisans at work whilst learning about the history of their craft and the heritage of the traditional skill.
On joining the scheme, Scullion Hurls needed to enhance its premises to showcase the company’s craft and allow space for up to 20 visitors at a time.
Micheál Scullion said: “Without the support that Michelin Development has provided, we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of this unusual opportunity to raise awareness of our craft and ensure its future. Tourism is a whole new facet to our business which gives us the opportunity to welcome potential new customers through our door every day. With our newly enhanced workshop and visitors centre, we now have the opportunity to share our craft with anyone who wishes to see it.
“In our first summer we have welcomed visitors from Canada, New Zealand, the USA, Scotland and Palestine, as well as many from throughout Ireland. We give all our visitors a warm welcome and happily display the craft of hurley making to them in the hope they will return home to share what they’ve seen.” he concludes.
Scullion Hurls was established in 1979 by Micheál’s father Joe Scullion, first as a hobby but more recently as a successful family run business providing hand-crafted hurls to many of the country’s top players. Joe started off by fashioning hurls for himself and other players at the local Loughgiel Shamrocks club team, working from a small workshop at his home.