7 things that will definitely happen when you carry your hurl around the city
They'll look at you as if it's some sort of foreign object.
But in reality, nothing could possibly be any more Irish. What is wrong with all of these people?
Only hurlers will understand because they're the only ones who have experienced it. Where gaelic footballers slot in after a bus from the country up to the big smoke, hurlers stick out.
They are out on their own. Their 30 something inch moneymaker instantly gives them an identity, it either sets them apart there and then or brings them closer immediately to every single sinner in the vicinity.
You stride through the city streets with your chest out and your hurl swinging. All you want is an O'Neill's sliotar to ping, the targets are everywhere to be aimed at, they're teasing you.
The pride of your parish rests in the grain of your hurley. You're far away from home but home is never too far away and you'd puck a ball from here to home anyway. No bother to you.
Every ounce of blood, every drip of sweat and every single tear you've dedicated to your game is brought to life by the Karakal grip, the curved handle and the unique nose of the hurl.
This hurley says so much about you, about the tribe you belong to. Your tribe are a minority but you've plenty of pride. The city slickers will be surprised when they see you.
Here's what will happen when you pull your gun and flash your blades in front of them.
1 You run this town
With a hurl in hand, nothing can faze you. You are the boss now and you can do whatever the hell you want. You know nobody would even dream of messing with you because of that 30 something inch extension of ash dangling off your right hand.
Keep whipping it and swinging it around to remind them what you're capable of. It offers you protection, it makes you intimidating - often, in the mean streets of the city, that's exactly what you want to be.
You are the captain now, and it's good to know that.
2 Raised eyebrows
There is such an ethnic mix in Ireland nowadays that many of the country's inhabitants (in the cities) actually don't know what a hurley is. They see you coming and then they immediately gaze intently at your camán.
With a look of mystified bewilderment decorating their faces, everything becomes uneasy.
They're uneasy but that's only because they don't understand. Maybe they're afraid you're going to pull a stroke on them.
They try to make you feel the same way with a gentle frown, a squint of the eyes and a look that says 'what are you doing carrying a piece of wood around?'
Maybe we are a bunch of lunatics.
3 Be braced for the questions
While many of them are wondering, few will actually open their mouths. But there will always be one.
Every born and bred Irish citizen will know what a hurley is so it's usually the foreign nationalists who are curious.
"Why you carry stick around?"
And then you tell them you're going home for training and that you play a game call hurling with a small ball and a helmet on your head.
And then you tell him about Diarmuid 'the Rock' O'Sullivan, Henry Shefflin and Lar Corbett... and then before you know it they've disappeared.
But at least you're thinking about hurling. Could be doing worse.
4 The brave mouthpiece
Some lads just can't keep their mouths shut.
"What are you doing carrying a stick around the place for?"
"You wouldn't hurl snow off a rope, so you wouldn't"
"I'd puck the ball further than you."
5 The nod of approval
You're not alone.
You're striding up O'Connell Street, struggling with your heavy gear bag, slogging through the wind and the rain of a cold Tuesday night in Dublin.
And then you come across one of your own.
You don't know them but they carry a hurley and also wear a pair of skinny O'Neill's tracksuits.
That's enough for anybody.
They see you and you see them. The nod mightn't even happen, but it's not needed. That's respect, that's what it's all about.
6 Strange looks off security guards in shops
They think you're going to cause wreck in there. They're worried about you and to be quite honest about it, you wouldn't even blame them.
It can actually be quite annoying because you just know they're weary of you, and they're going to be watching your every move.
Those are the struggles.
7 The old person dying for a chat
You'll meet them on the Luas, they might even stop you in the middle of the street. Once they see that hurley in the hand they just know you're one they can chat to.
And then it starts off.
"Jesus, you must play a bit of hurling do you? About 30 years ago I used to play with a small club down in Fermanagh. The year we won the championship was the best of our lives! What club do you play for yourself?"
And then you realise just how beautiful this whole thing is.
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