Manx Cammag | North v South on St. Stephen’s Day




Manx Cammag is a version of Hurling (or Caman in Irish) played in the Isle of Man, where Manx Gaelic was traditionally spoken. It is also very similar to the Scottish game of Shinty or Camanachd.

The earliest mention of Hurling or Caman is in the Irish ‘Book of Leinster’ in the 12th Century AD. It played with a small ball and hooked stick.

Kit Gawne, writing in his book, ‘Isle of Man Hockey’ suggests the game may have been introduced by missionaries, although the earliest mention in the Isle of Man records is not until 1760.

It is a Winter Sport, with special matches arranged on St. Stephen’s Day (such as the one between North & South of the Island.

There are few rules, and any number of players can play on either side, with coats or sticks marking goalposts.

The match on St. Stephen’s Day between North & South is played in conjunction with the Festivities associated with the day, such as ‘Hunting the Wren’, although these days no wren is killed, and those making donations to charity are given a coloured ribbon, rather than a wren’s feather, supposed to bring good luck for the following year, thought to be particularly efficacious in the event of a shipwreck or witchcraft.



[1] North American Manx Association (2015) “Rain doesn’t stop play on St. Stephen’s Day” [Internat] Available from: [Accessed 5 March 2017]

[2] (2017) “Work off your Christmas Turkey with a game of Cammag!” [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 13 October 2017]


Thanks to Stephen Fitzpatrick & John Doody

About this document

Researched, Compiled and Written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | GAA World Archive

Last Updated: 16 May 2019

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2019

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Reply