The sport of road bowls is popular in Holland and Germany and was once played throughout Ireland, but is now limited mainly to Cork and Armagh, where it’s also known as “road bullets”.

The principle of the game is simple: a pair of rival contestants each propels a 28oz (800g) solid-iron ball along a course of country roads (usually about two-and-a-half miles long), the winner being the player who reaches the finishing line with the fewest number of throws. In practice, it’s a complicated business. The Armagh roads twist and turn, up and down, and bowlers are assisted by a team of camp followers, including managers and road guides who advise on the most advantageous spots to aim for and the force of the throw. Traditionally a male sport, it’s become increasingly popular with women, who’ve held their own championship since 1981.

Roads around Armagh where you’re likely to catch sight of the game – usually on Sunday afternoons – include Cathedral Road, Napper Road, Blackwater Town, Rock, Tassa, Keady, Newtownhamilton and Madden roads. The most reliable information on forthcoming games is probably to be had in local pubs. The Ulster Finals are held in the city over two weekends in late June, with the All-Ireland Road Bowls Final in early August.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Ireland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Spring equinox at Loughcrew: waking up to Ireland’s secret rock art

Spring equinox at Loughcrew: waking up to Ireland’s secret rock art

The Loughcrew hills near the centre of Ireland are little-known – but at the spring equinox they take on a special magic. On this spring bank holiday, Paul C…

01 May 2017 • Paul Clements local_activity Special feature
6 of the best road trips in the UK

6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter …

11 Apr 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook