Irish road bowling, popular in Ireland for over 300 years, is returning to Central New York!

Onondaga County Parks is hosting the 10th Annual Irish Road Bowling Tournament on Sunday, March 10, 2019 subject to change.

Click here for 2018 winners and team scores.

Each year teams are encouraged to decorate their bowls to add to the days festivities and enter the annual Best Decorated Bowl Contest. Click here to view the 2018 submissions. The 2018 Winner was Ballbarians and Runner Up was House Bowlton.

What is Irish Road Bowling?

Part golf, part bocce, part bowling. . . The rules are simple - hurl a small 28 oz. cannonball along a two mile "country road." Players must throw underhanded. Scoring is similar to golf - the least amount of throws needed to complete the course wins. Teams of four will compete against other teams to see who can cross the finish line in the fewest number of throws.

Here's a few bowling terms to get you started...

Rules of Play Click to View »Hide »

The Start: The thrower marks his or her start point with a chalk line and stands behind this line. The thrower's team mates (called the "showers") stand 20-30 yards down the road to mark the desired path of the bowl and alert spectators and other players that the bowl is coming.

The Grip: Players should grip the bowl with the thumb and index and/or middle finger. The bowl should be thrown from the fingers, not from the palm.

The Throw: Experienced bowlers will take a running start and release the bowl at the start line. Novice players find that taking two or three steps is sufficient. The bowl should fly through the air for a few yards before striking the road surface. Don"t cross your chalk line and "break the butt."

The Shot: From wherever the bowl stops "not where it leaves the road surface" where it is taken directly to the nearest point on the road. Mark the ‚ "butt‚" so the next player can throw from that point.

The Finish: After your team's last shot, turn in your score card and clear the way for incoming bullets.

Play Safe and Play Smart: It is your responsibility as a player to make sure that everyone ahead of you on the road is facing you. NEVER throw your bullet to a person's back. Do not be shy about yelling ‚ "Rolling!‚" or "Clear the way!‚" or "Faugh a ballach!" Never stop the bullet with your foot or hand. Those really are cannonballs and they were designed for mortal combat.

Download Rules (pdf) »

Irish Road Bowlers

When & Where

Sunday, March 10, 2019 - subject to change
10:00 am
Shoreline Walking Trail
Onondaga Lake Park, Liverpool NY

Teams will "tee off" from 10:00am-1:30pm and the outdoor fun will continue along the scenic two mile route.

Registration & Start will be at the Saw Mill Creek Shelter. Located in the Willow Bay section of the park.


Prizes will be awarded to the Top Finisher, the team with the lowest score, as well as for Best Decorated Cannonball and Honorable Mention for cannonball decoration.

Awards Celebration

Everyone is invited, following the tournament. In addition to announcing the award winners, participants will be treated to a complimentary buffet.


Opens February 1, 2019
$120 per four person team, 21 & over only.

Download Registration (pdf) »

Day of the Event

Onondaga County Parks places a top priority on the safe and legal use of alcoholic beverages. No person under 21 may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in the park. Coolers are not allowed along the course. Alcohol may be brought in and consumed only in designated areas at the beginning and end of the course. Quantity is limited to one six pack of beer (12 oz. cans) per person in cans or plastic. Please drink responsibly.


Sponsorship opportunities available, contact Joe Ostuni, Friends of Historic Onondaga Lake at

For More Info

Charlie Bisnett
Onondaga Lake Park

Volunteers Wanted

For Registration Table and Trail Marshalls.
Contact Friends of Historic Onondaga Lake

Onondaga County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability in employment or the provision of services. Links: Onondaga County's policy, complaint process, and language assistance or disability access issues.

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