Irish Road Bowling takes place on a country road, but beware the road is not usually blocked off to traffic.
Speculator, NY and Indian Lake are just two places that enjoy this St. Patrick's Day tradition!
Irish road bowling has been played in the Irish countryside since the 1600s.
Using a 28-oz iron or steel ball, called a bowl, or bullet is chucked down a country road to the finish.
The player or team with the fewest shots at the finish line wins. The "course" can up to two miles long.
1. Irish Road Bowling is played with either team of two, four or singles with one bowl per team. With teams of more than one the players rotate turns.
2) The goal is to complete the course with the fewest number of throws.
3) Members and spectators not in play move ahead of the play to mark the path of the upcoming bowler.
4) A bowler can back up anywhere from two steps to 15 yards from the throwing line.
5) The thrower runs to the throwing line and snaps his/her arm forward releasing the bowl underhanded
6) If thrown correctly, the bowl should flip through the air a few yards before striking the road.
7) It is the responsibility of the thrower to make sure spectators and team members are paying attention
8) The next team's bowl is made after the previous team's bowl stops, not when it first hits the road.
9) Throwing over a bend is okay as long as it lands in the road or beyond.
10) If teams tie the winner is decided by which team bowled the farthest distance past the finish line.
Split the Sop: A sop is a tuft of grass that a teammate will place on the road to mark a spot for the bowler to aim to first strike the road. "Split the Sop" is when an expert bowler can hit the mark and actually divid the sop.
The Butt: The Throwing Line
Rolling: The term shouted before throwing the bullet
Faugh a Ballagh (FAWG un BAA-lakh) is often shouted by team mates. It means "clear the way." It was also the battle cry for the the 69th New York State Volunteer Regiment, known as The Fighting Irish, during the Civil War.
© Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time™, which is available online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores. Diane is currently working on the third guidebook in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities™.