Road Bowlers will be a familiar sight to those who use rural roads on a Sunday afternoon. We have often turned a corner to be confronted by a group of over 30 men playing road bowls. We are getting good at spotting the signs though – tufts of hay, which are used as markers, are usually a good indication that if you take that route, you are going to meet up with a match-in-progress.
|Road Bowling on a random Sunday Afternoon in the Caheragh Parish, West Cork|
Road Bowls has been played for centuries in Ireland but is particularly popular in Cork and Armagh. It is played with a 28oz solid iron bowl, or ball, with a circumference of about 18 centimetres. Two contestants match their individual skills in throwing the bowl with optimum speed, controlled delivery, and accuracy along a carefully considered and tactically selected play-path over a predefined course distance of normal national roadway. The winner is the player to reach the finish line in the least number of throws or shots. The nature of the particular contest will determine the distance of the play, although they are usually around four kilometres in length. A score, or match, between two players may be watched by up to hundreds of spectators depending on the importance of the event.