Irish Road Bowling

Have you heard of Irish Road Bowling? Irish Road Bowling is a sport played, quite literally in the middle of the road. According to Wikipedia: Road bowling (Irish: Ból an bhóthair) (also bullets or long bullets in Armagh) is an Irish sport in which competitors attempt to take the fewest throws to propel a metal ball along a predetermined course of country roads.[1] The sport originated in Ireland and is mainly played in Counties Armagh and Cork. Spectators often bet on the outcome and proffer advice to their favoured competitor in the course of a match or "score". Road bowling in Ireland is governed by the voluntary Irish Road Bowling Association (Irish: Ból Chumann na hÉireann). The 2016 All-Ireland Series will take place in Madden, County Armagh [caption id="attachment_773" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Irish Road Bowling. Image courtesy of The Telegraph UK Irish Road Bowling. Image courtesy of The Telegraph UK[/caption] The rules of the sport are surprisingly simple and delightfully Irish. -The game is played with an iron and steel cannonball, three inches in diameter, called a bowl or a bullet on a predetermined course, which is usually a country lane, which may or may not be paved, and can be curvy or straight, flat or hilly of more than a mile length. -Competitors can be individuals or teams, but will most likely have a "road shower" giving advice and another person down the road to give the bowler something (I told you it's delightfully Irish) to aim at. -The player who bowls or throws the ball is called the thrower and while there are two styles of throwing, Cork style and Armagh style, both are versions of an underhand, cricket style throw. The thrower runs up to his mark and throws the bullet before stepping over the mark. -A chalk dish called a butt, is placed wherever the bullet lands on the road to mark where the next shot will be bowled from. -On intersections, curves and corners, the bullet may be thrown overhand or lofted, but must land on the road. If the bullet lands off-road, then it counts as one shot and the shot is taken again from the same spot. -The bowler or team with the fewest shots taken wins, but if both bowlers reach the end line with the same amount of shots, the one who's bullet travelled the farthest past the finish line wins. Sounds simple enough, right? It's also so much fun to watch. [embed][/embed] So if you find Irish Road Bowling to be a fascinating sport (how could you not) and would like more information, I will refer you to The Irish Road Bowling Association. If you are in the Kansas City area, you can contact the Kansas Ancient Order of Hibernians for more info. They had a tournament in April, but perhaps if we pester them enough, they will let us have another soon!    

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