Gaelic handball is a wall-based sport that is exclusively played in Ireland, where the gameplay is very similar to that of squash and racquetball, though players strike the ball with the palm of their hands instead of using a racket. The sport is very popular in Ireland and is one of the four Gaelic games (the others are Gaelic Football, Hurling, and Rounders).
The court used for the sport has two variations, Big alley - a 60 X 30ft court with a 30 ft high front wall, and Small Alley - a 40 X 20 ft court with a 20 ft high front wall. Courts are surrounded by walls on the front and the two sides. The big alley has another variation with just the front wall and no side walls.
All courts have two parallel lines in the middle of the court which forms the service area. Games are usually played with a soft ball, but both softballs and hardballs are used to play on the big alley.
Play starts with a serve from within the service area, followed by a subsequent rally, where balls have to be returned after at the most one bounce. Players receive points if their opponents are not able to fairly return the ball. The player with the most points wins the match.
Several county and province level tournaments are conducted for all codes of Gaelic handball. The annual All-Ireland Championships is the highest level tournament for the sport.
- International Fronton — played by striking a ball onto a wall with bare hands, using rules adapted from many wall ball sports.
- Fives — an English sport in which a ball is propelled against the walls in a specially designed court by using a bare or gloved hand.
- Australian Handball — similar to Squash, though played without a racquet.
- American Handball — players use their hands to hit a small rubber ball against a wall.
- Squash — a racquet sport played by two or four players in a four-walled court with a small hollow rubber ball.
- Racquetball — a squash-type game involving hitting a hollow rubber ball using a stringed racket.
- Gaelic games, the traditional sports played in Ireland organised by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), include Gaelic Football, Hurling, Rounders and Gaelic Handball.
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports
- Sport in the Ireland