West Virginia Irish Road Bowling


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West Virginia Irish Road Bowling

reporting on long bullets road bowling in West Virginia and the North American Region


Irish Road Bowling    


An iron and steel small cannonball, called a “bowl” is hurled down a 1.2 mile country lane, fewest throws to the finish line wins, similar to golf. Throws can roll 250 or even 300 yards.

Excitement builds as two evenly skilled players match each other shot for shot for more than a mile. Often these memorable matches, called “scores,” are decided by only a few feet or inches distance past the finish line, both players with the same number of throws. 

The twists and turns of a narrow country lane as well as the tilt of the road surface (the “pitch and camber”) provide a rich playing field for strategy and can spark spirited debate among the thrower, his coach (the “road shower”) and full-throated spectators.

Before football, soccer, and basketball, before baseball and golf, was . . .

  The Old Game, Irish Road Bowling.

Enjoy the pleasure of an afternoon walk on a scenic country road by becoming part of the West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association. This ancient game has been played for more than 300 years on the rural country roads in Ireland, but it is now being brought to you from
the green hills of West Virginia. Also known as Irish Long Bullets, this sport is for men and women of all ages from 9 to 90 and is extremely easy to learn while being highly competitive.

The Old Game was restored to West Virginia in Ireland, West Virginia, in 1995. Ireland, WV,is a picturesque mountain town with small farms that recreate scenery from the Irish countryside. Players during the Irish Spring Festival in 1995, introduced this great pursuit that everyone loves.

                                                Photo Chester Zhivanos.

The Wild and Wonderful West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association (WVIRBA) originated in the tiny village of Ireland, West Virginia. The WVIRBA mission is to provide you with the same great fun those in Ireland experience when participating in this sport. Ready to start bowling?

Support WVIRBA.org - Healthy, outdoor family-fun exercise is happening on country roads all over West Virginia, thanks to the 501(c)3 nonprofit all-volunteer West Virginia Irish Road Bowling Association. The WVIRBA sponsors 20 scores (matches) open to the public at 17 events from March to November, in all regions of West Virginia. To help keep them rolling, the best nation is a do-nation, go to www.wvirba.org.        

About Irish Road Bowling
Irish Road Bowling is primarily played in County Armagh in Northern Ireland and in County Cork in Southern Ireland. It consists of a ball made of iron and steel that is heavy enough to pick up speed, yet small enough for any person to handle. Besides the basic rules and terms, all you do is hurl this 28 oz. sized "bowl" with an underhand motion over a 1 to 2 mile country road and see how far it goes! Scored like golf, the fewest number of shots from the start to the finish line wins. Right now, you can find three (3) organized leagues in the United States, Boston, New York and West Virginia, but this sport is gaining rapid popularity throughout the country. 

An Addicting Game
Irish Road Bowling is similar to fast pitch softball, except with a running start. It's also like bowling if you had enough room to run 10 or 15 yards. Irish Road Bowling is ideal for young athletes or seniors who are looking to enjoy a scenic walk on a country road, combined with an ancient and exciting, but not overly strenuous, sport! While it's very easy to learn, it takes time and skill to become as proficient as some of those who have set


Online Store

To order a "Starter Pack,"
which contains 2 road bowls,
Rules and Strategy booklet,
chalk and score cards,
please place an order
in our
online store



National Finals, Morgantown, WV



If you are interested
in creating an
Irish Road
league or club in your area,
contact us or
e mail

for more information.

Hours of Operation: 

Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. E.S.T.


Jerod Putnam, a founder of WV Irish Road Bowling, throws; WVU Mountaineer
Jay Hatfield guards the line. 2012
North American Region Finals.

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