Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Irish Road Bowling

Road bowling an Irish sport in which competitors attempt to take the fewest throws to propel a metal ball along a predetermined course of country roads. The sport has a long history - it apparently started in ancient Ultster at a time when Ireland had kings, at Eamhain Maca near Armagh, in the county of Cork, Ireland. In the early days, stone balls were used, but nowadays cast-iron balls are preferred.

The standard ball size or "bullet" is 58 mm diameter and 0.8 kg (28 ounce), about the size of a tennis ball. The aim of the competition is to cover a prescribed distance with a set number of throws, thus the basic premise is similar to golf. They follow along a country road course, up to 4 km long, and the fewest throws to cover the distance wins the contest.

You may think that such competitions are casual affairs, but there is a controlling body which have set down the rules and international competitions are held, and there is usually betting on the outcome.

See a video of the Road Bowling being played


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