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. 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[/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]https://youtu.be/i5_GNAWNwSs[/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!
Scotch is one of the most desired libations in the world. Its smooth, peaty taste is bold and stimulating to the palate, full of complex flavors and rich variety. What differentiates Scotch from most whiskies is that the entire process from mashing, malting, fermentation and maturation must take place in Scotland. It's made with malted barley, and if other grains are used, they must be whole and not malted. The barley and water are malted using smoldering peat from the Scottish moors, which gives it a distinctive rich smoky taste. Also, in order to be considered Scotch it must be produced by a large man named Angus who wears a kilt and plays bagpipes. April 16 3PM Scotch Whisky Tasting-12 Year Single Malts[/caption] Japanese and German scientists have tried to reproduce Scotch but have failed, despite using the same processes, as neither country has the same climate as Scotland. (reference: 9 million in unmarked bills) Also they didn't have a large man named Angus on hand. Additionally, Scotch is highly regulated. The Scotch Whisky Act of 1988 primarily regulated the production of Scotch, in 2009 it was repealed and replaced with the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 which includes labeling as well as production laws. There's no mention of Angus or bagpipes, but that is kind of an unspoken law. So what makes it such a big deal? Scotch isn't just a beverage, it's the "water of life" , an oral (see what I did there?) history of Scotland, a tribute to a rugged land and a rugged people. It is an ancient and beloved drink, revered by poets and philosophers. Robert Burns wrote: "Let other poets raise a fracas Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus, An' crabbit names an'stories wrack us, An' grate our lug: I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us, In glass or jug." Modern philosopher W.C. Fields said: “Set up another case bartender! The best thing for a case of nerves is a case of Scotch.” Finally, we'll hear from our bagpipe playing, kilt wearing, Scotch making friend Angus: "Scotch, it's good for what ails you, and better for what doesn't". Interested in learning about Scotch? Attend our Scotch tastings. You'll be glad you did!