By Chris Jastrzembski Liverpool, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – It’s a sport that combines bocce, golf and bowling. And it’s popular here in Central New York.
Irish Road Bowling is an old game originating in Ireland nearly 300 years ago, but has a cult following in the Syracuse area. A tournament was held this weekend at Long Branch Park in Liverpool as a fundraiser for the New York State Recreation And Parks Society.
“Imagine if golf and bowling had a baby, and this is what came up of it,” said Onondaga Lake Park recreation supervisor Eric Sopchak.
The game came to the United States during the Civil War as a way for soldiers in the South to have fun. The object of the game is to roll a 28-ounce cannonball down a paved surface from a starting point to the end. The team with the least number of throws is declared the winner.
It came to Central New York thanks to a West Virginia Irish road bowling group a decade ago, and the game has been an annual event run by the NYSRPS ever since.
For the past nine years, this event was just held in the spring. But this year, the organization decided to have an event in October as well in conjunction with Halloween. It also helps with funding for the NYSRPS’s annual conference held in April at the Downtown Syracuse Marriott.
“I truly feel and i think most people would agree you can’t live without a park,” said NYSRPS executive director Lisa Morahan. “It’s where people come the first time they might learn how to walk and talk and to throw a baseball. And their first connection to life and the community and learning how to live with others and treat others is experienced right here.”
“It’s just amazing, parks keep people young.”
To learn more, visit their website at nysrps.org.