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Just What is Irish Road Bowling?

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Looking for some fun on St. Patrick’s weekend? Consider joining the hundreds of people expected to visit St. Patrick, Missouri, on Saturday, March 14, 2015.  In addition to the special cancellation stamp and the Shrine of Saint Patrick, visitors will find the 3rd Annual Irish Road Bowling event.

Irish Road Bowling is an ancient game, played for more than 300 years in County Armagh in Northern Ireland and in County Cork in Southern Ireland. The best description of game is that it is like golfing with a cannonball and a good sense of humor. Irish Road Bowling consists of a ball, called a “bowl.” It is made out of steel and weighs 28 ounces, heavy enough to pick up speed yet small enough for any person to handle.

Teams of four compete, taking turns throwing the bowl as far as they can to get it across the finish line. Scored like golf, the fewest number of shots from the start to the finish line wins. Teammates not throwing at the time go 20-30 yards down the road to mark the desired path of the bowl. They stand like human croquet wickets, feet apart, straddling the perfect path to be taken to achieve maximum distance. The game will take place on Highway 81 South, south of the St. Patrick city limits.

All participants must be 21 years of age or older and participants and spectators are encouraged to dress in spring regalia and Irish green. Teams will be provided with all essential equipment which includes the bowl, scorecard, and chalk.

Check-in at St. Patrick’s Old Irish Gift Shoppe begins at 8:30 am on March 14.  Road Bowling begins at 10am.  Participants are welcome to bring their own rolling coolers and beverages. The contest runs rain or shine.  A maximum of 40 teams can participate. There will be prizes for the first place team, the biggest loser’s team, and best costume. Throughout the day, the public can also enjoy Irish food provided by the Knights of Columbus and live music, as well as activities at the Post Office and gift shoppe. For more information, call 217-242-5593.

The best route into St. Patrick, Missouri for the Irish Road Bowling event is Highway 61 North to State Highway Z.  Drive 3.9 miles, and then turn left on Missouri Highway 81 South.

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